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Steak Doneness Hand Test: Does it Work? How to Do it.

When you cook steaks to the exact level of doneness that you choose, steak hand test they are excellent. We have all the information you require regarding touch tests, temperature charts and guides.

steak hand test

One preferred beef cut is steak. In fact, many people consider it to be one of the most desirable cuts of meat.

It is nutrient-rich and contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

It’s a popular option for backyard barbecues because it’s simple to grill on a whim during the week.

If you’ve ever ordered a steak at a restaurant, whether you wanted it rare, medium, or well done was probably put to you.

The hand test, the importance of checking your steak before you eat it, and more methods for determining when a steak is done are all covered in this article.

How to Use Steak Hand Test Examination

The hand test includes poking a steak with your finger, hence the name. Then you contrast how stiff it feels with the other hand’s.

To use the hand test on a piece of steak, follow these simple steps

  • Use your pointer or index finger to gently press down on the meat of a piece of steak when you’re ready to test it. To get a basic notion of how soft or stiff it is, poke around in a few places.
  • While extending all of your fingers with your other hand, let them all rest.
  • The texture of the steak can be compared to the flesh at the base of your thumb on the palm of your hand. The flesh of your open hand feels soft, and if you press it, you might feel an indentation. This is comparable to the sensation of a rare or raw steak.
  • As though you were giving the “ok” sign with your hand, gently press your index or pointer finger on your thumb. Observe how your thumb’s flesh is no longer as soft as it was when your hand was fully extended. This is consistent with how a medium-rare steak ought to feel.
  • As you gently push various fingers on your thumb, the firmness of the skin on your hand varies. The flesh becomes less supple and harder as you move from your index to your pinky finger, exactly like a steak does while it cooks.
  • Use the table below to assess the level of doneness the steak has been cooked to after comparing its texture to the sensation in your hand.

How You Tell When the Steak is Done

steak hand test
Thumb and finger in contactmeat donenessA hand’s feeling of fleshThe temperature of a steakMeat’s color
Ringmoderately wellfirmer150°F (66°C)light pink middle
Middlemediumsoft145°F (63°C)throughout pale pink
A point or indexmildly raresofter135°F (57°C)reddish-orange center
open palmraresoftest125°F (52°C)Throughout, brilliant red
Pinkywell donefirmest160°F (71°C)brown throughout

What to Know

Compare the cooked meat’s texture to the flesh on your hand when applying the hand test to a piece of steak.

A rare steak will have tender, hand-like meat. When you press your pinky finger against your thumb, the flesh feels hard, just like a well-done steak.

Is the Hand Test Actually Effective?

We can check meats like beefsteak and pork chops for doneness using the hand test, which is widely used.

For years, many home cooks and even chefs in restaurants have adopted the technique.

However, the procedure has received little formal scientific scrutiny. It’s unknown how accurate it is at the moment.

We recently examined the hand test for judging the doneness of a steak in a short research with 26 Australians.

It discovered that the method’s accuracy was just 36%, which was quite poor (3Trusted Source).

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The hand test depends on your subjective assessment of the steaks and your hand’s firmness. It should be more error-prone than alternative approaches, like employing a precise meat thermometer.

The hand test is still widely regarded as a quick, easy, and accurate method of determining if a steak is cooked through.

If you choose to do the hand test on your own, keep in mind that it takes time to become comfortable and confident in the outcomes.

It might be advisable to use a different method to confirm the meat’s doneness in the interim.

What to Know

Many chefs and amateur cooks revered the hand test for steaks. However, there has been little research done on the hand test, so it might not be as reliable as some people think.

Additional Indicators that a Steak is Done

There are a few alternative methods you can use to gauge the doneness of a steak if you don’t feel comfortable using the hand test or if you simply want to check yourself the first few times you try it.

Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature, as shown in the table above, as this is the safest, fastest, and most accurate way to determine whether a steak is done.

Someone can also slice the steak in to check the color.

A rare steak has a pink or red core, a well-done steak is brown all around, and a medium steak falls somewhere in the middle.

What to Know

Besides the hand test, a steak can be measured by cutting it open and examining the color. When a steak is rare, pink when it’s medium-rare, and brown when it’s well-done.

The most accurate method for determining when a steak is done is to use a meat thermometer.

Why Doneness of a Steak Matters

Because we enjoy the flavor and texture of a particular doneness, many of us are concerned with how cooked our steak is.

However, avoiding a food-borne illness is the key reason to pay strict attention to the level of doneness of a steak — or of any meat.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), medium-doneness steak should be cooked to a core temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) (4).

For some people, eating a steak that has been cooked to a lower temperature—as with a rare or medium-rare steak—can be harmful.

If meat isn’t cooked properly after being contaminated with a pathogen like Escherichia coli, it can make people sick, especially the elderly, pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune systems (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

However, most people who prefer rare steaks won’t have any problems.

What to Know

Knowing when to remove a steak from the heat reduces the chance of becoming ill if the meat has been tainted with a virus like E. coli. It is also crucial for taste and texture.


The cattle cut known as steak is full of vitamins and minerals. They frequently sold this red meat in steakhouse restaurants and served it at outdoor barbecues.

Most people have a preferred method for cooking their steak. Many people prefer their meat cooked somewhere in between the two extremes of rare or well-done.

The hand or touch test is one way to determine when a steak is done and cooked to your preferences while cooking it at home.

If you choose to employ the hand test, keep in mind that it requires practice to become familiar with and relies on your own subjective assessment of the meat’s texture. Using a meat thermometer will be safer and more accurate.

Frequently Asked Questions

The texture of the various degrees of doneness of meat corresponds closely to the feel of the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb: The more the meat is cooked, the less malleable it becomes. Try this finger test the next time you cook a steak and see how accurate your equipment is!

If you want a medium steak, touch your chin: The steak should still be tender, but with some resistance. For a medium-well steak, it should feel like your forehead: fleshy but with a good deal of resistance.

  1. How to Cook.
  2. Meat.
  3. Steak.
  4. Grill/Barbecue.

Touch your thumb to your middle finger. Notice how that section of your palm tenses up a little more? This is what a medium-rare steak feels like.

With just a touch, a skilled cook can judge if a piece of meat is done or if it needs more cooking. They’re feeling for a degree of softness or firmness in the meat. The softer, the rarer it is.

The best way to tell if a steak is undercooked is by using a thermometer. Insert the point of the thermometer into the center of the beef and take a reading. Any less than 125°-130°F and the meat is undercooked.

No. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends not eating or tasting raw or undercooked meat. Meat may contain harmful bacteria. Thorough cooking is important to kill any bacteria and viruses that may be present in the food.

Medium-rare steak is the most popular level of doneness. Steaks served at this temperature are slightly warm and have the best juiciness and texture. Medium-rare steaks are seared on the outside and the center has a dark pink-red color.

The timing. As a rule of thumb (for a steak 22mm thick) – cook 2 minutes on each side for rare, 3-4 mins for each side for medium-rare,, and 4-6 mins for each side for medium. For well done, cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, then turn the heat down and cook for another 4-6 minutes.

Touch: Press the meat firmly with your finger. If it’s fresh, it will spring back. If it’s older, it may have lost some of that firmness. It should never feel slimy or sticky.

Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is medium-rare. Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below the thumb should give quite a bit.

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