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How to Test Doneness of Steak (a trick)....

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to Test Doneness of Steak (a trick)....

I worked as a line cook in a really fantastic restaurant in college for a semester and then for a period of time after I graduated too.  The best things I learned there have stuck with me over time...things like how to cut an onion, some great information about using spices, how to make homemade chicken stock, and more.  This particular trick is one I've shared with lots of friends.  Summer is a great time for throwing steaks on the grill, but nothing is worse looking than serving up a steak with multiple slices in the middle testing for doneness.  The chef I worked under (all I remember was that we all called him Red) taught me this trick and now I'm going to teach it to you.

Hold out your hand with your fingers facing you.  You're going to touch your thumb and each different finger together... and each time, you are going to press on your thumb muscle with your other hand (where I'll show "Press Here.") With each finger change, it'll feel different.  It's easier to show you than to try to just explain.

So check this out...

When you press on your muscle here it'll feel kinda mushy and depress easily.  If you touch your steak on the grill and it feels like this, your steak will be rare when you take it off and cut it.

Ok, so for this one you touch your pointer finger to your thumb and press the muscle where I've circled.  Notice I'm not super mashing my fingers just touch them and it'll work out great.  For a Medium Rare steak it'll feel like this...depress a little but definitely more firmness and less give than the rare steak.

This is how I like my steak (or somewhere between this and medium rare, but that's getting a bit advanced for the hand trick.)  Touch your thumb to your middle finger and then press on the thumb muscle.  It's definitely firmer now, but still some you have a Medium cooked steak!

Thumb to ring finger and you'll have Medium Well!  Firm now, but it will still look like steak and taste like steak.

Honestly, I don't even think the hand trick matters at this point.  If you like your meat well done, I hope you don't buy really good meat or you're totally ruining it when you cook every last germ and drop of blood out of it.  My vegetarian if you like steak this way.

But, if you insist on eating overcooked and tough meat, this trick is the one for you....thumb to pinky finger and you have Well Done.  And if you're still unsure, cook it some're not going to really overdo it already committed this far....go for the char and "Git 'Er Done!"

 So that's it.  I think it's a pretty great trick, and unless you have a massively over-developed or atrophied thumb muscle, this should work for you.

Sorry I didn't hire a hand model for this one.  And yes, these are my very own overworked, underpaid, never manicured paws.    Many thanks to Louis Lunsford from high school who told me that I have "man hands."  So there you have it folks...manly woman hands teaching you how to cook a steak!

Now get grilling!

I'm linking up at The Stories of A to Z Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!

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At May 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM , Blogger Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

This is a brilliant tip! Thanks! (And yeah... if you're going to ruin a perfectly beautiful piece of beef... why bother!) :)

At May 5, 2011 at 8:41 PM , Blogger Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Stumbled this and shared it on fb & twitter. :)

At May 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM , Blogger AARice said...

and now i'm reminded of when you joked about becoming a hand model...for the leatherman tool hahaha

At May 6, 2011 at 11:11 PM , Blogger Logan @LifeforDessert said...

AARice...I COMPLETELY forgot ever saying that til you reminded me. That's pretty hilarious.

At May 17, 2011 at 3:49 AM , Blogger Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

I need to show this to my husband, self-proclaimed grilling master who's always asking me if the steak is medium, medium well, rare... Great post!

Pinning you for my summer folder!

{saw you over at Beth's A to Z party}


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