What is the difference between a rare, medium, and well-done cooked steak?
In short….TASTE. There are many rumors out there that say it is healthier to eat a steak cooked medium, but this is just not true. The main differences between rare, medium, and well-done steaks are flavor and juiciness. In general, the determination of “doneness” is based on the color, juiciness, and internal temperature.
A rare steak is cooked for a very short period of time. The center of the steak will be cool and red in color. A rare steak’s core temperature is 125 degrees Fahrenheit and features a seared, dark outer layer and a soft, bright red inner layer. They are often hot on the outside and warm to cool on the inside. It will often still carry some blood. The steak is not raw meat but cooked gently on the outside.
Medium Rare to Medium to Medium Well
There are three categories of medium steaks – Medium Rare, Medium and Medium Well. Medium rare steaks have a seared, brown outside and a reddish pink inside. The core temperature is 130 degrees. It is soft and juicy on the inside and firm on the outside. A medium cooked steak is more of a gray-brown color and a pink band in the center. They rarely have any blood and have a core temperature around 145 degrees. A medium well steak has only a hit of a pale pink left in the inside with a gray-brown throughout. You can expect a medium well steak to have a 155 degree core temperature. This is perfect for people that want a slightly juicy steak without any blood.
Well-done steaks are cooked thoroughly and can even have a charred on the outside. They have a grayish-brown color throughout with no sign of pink. They are cooked on a slow heat to keep the steak from becoming tough. Meat that is well done is cooked to 165 degrees.
What is the best?
The temperature of your steak is simply a matter of preference. There is no right or wrong and there is no nutritional difference between the cooking temperatures regarding protein and iron content. For taste and texture, rare and medium steaks are juicier and retain seasoning better. But, in the end, it is up to the customer.