When a food truck serves steak they have entered a business that sells meat products that are produced for each customer they way the customer wants it. The doneness of a steak that customers ask for varies from order to order. While there are those who prefer their steak served medium-rare…there are those that prefer their steak to be cooked well done.
So how do you prepare these orders as quickly as possible but at the same time in a way that will please the customer and keep them from returning the product because it was either under or over cooked? How do you test a steak without cutting into the meat?
The are three common ways for a food truck chef/cook to do this…
Steak Doneness Test by Temperature
This is the scientific and most accurate approach. Poke an instant-read digital thermometer into the center of the steak (or the thickest part) and take a reading. Based on the internal temperature, you can tell when the steak is done to your customer’s liking:
- Blue rare – 120°F
- Rare – 125°F
- Medium-rare – 130°F to 135°F
- Medium – 140°F to 145°F
- Medium-well – 150°F to 155°F
- Well-done – 160°F
Carryover cooking must be considered when using this method. Keep in mind that just because you take a steak off the grill doesn’t mean it’s through cooking. The heat built up in the steak will continue to cook the meat until it begins to cool off, adding up to an additional 5° or 10°F of doneness.
Steak Doneness Test by Touch
Use the following list as a guide, but experience is the best teacher. As you test the temperature with your thermometer, give the steak a poke and note its firmness. This will help you develop a feel for doneness and you can eventually put the thermometer away.
- Blue rare – feels soft and squishy.
- Rare – feels soft to the touch.
- Medium-rare – yields gently to the touch.
- Medium – yields only slightly to the touch, beginning to firm up.
- Medium-well – firm to the touch.
- Well-done – hard to the touch.
Finger and Hand Steak Doneness Test
- Rare – Take your thumb and touch your index finger. Then feel the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb.
- Medium-rare – Take your thumb and touch your middle finger. Then feel the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb
- Medium – Take your thumb and touch your ring finger. Then feel the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb.
- Well done – Take your thumb and touch your pinky. Then feel the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb.