Grades of Steak
There are three grades of steak that you will find in a US supermarket: Select, Choice, and Prime. Select is generally the grade of sale-priced, or advertised meat. If it is choice grade, it will be advertised as such. Select grade is just above what the USDA deems edible. So if you buy Select grade meat, don’t be surprised when it isn’t that great. It will always be worth it to pay the extra money per pound for the Choice grade. If your supermarket carries Prime grade, lucky you!
PRO TIP: Only buy Choice or Prime Grade steaks.
Levels of Doneness
Whether you like your steak bleeding on the plate, or dry as a bone, this steak doneness guide should help you out. The chef’s standard level of doneness is medium-rare. At this point it won’t be bleeding, but will be tender, juicy, and if you do it just right the steak will melt in your mouth. With practice you can tell how cooked a steak is just by feel alone. Every steak has a different cooking time due to varying thicknesses of the cuts. Be wary following anything that tells you a cooking time rather than a temperature.
Is it necessary to cook the steaks more after searing them?
The most important part of reaching the level of doneness you like is the internal temperature. Searing is largely for flavor. If your steak is thicker, it probably won’t reach the desired doneness as fast as a thinner one. One thing that helps ensure you don’t overcook your steak, is to leave it out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. If raising the internal temperature needs to take longer because the steak was too cold, it will cause the steak to get overcooked.
Are these instructions the same for cooking other meats?
No. Other meats require different cooking times and temperatures. Every kind of meat has its own density and thickness. Also, whole cuts are not required to reach as high of temperatures as ground meats and poultry.
Is it important to let the steaks rest?
Yes. The steak actually continues to cook during those few minutes. This continuation of cooking is great because it doesn’t dry out the steak, as it would by simply leaving it on the grill longer. Cutting into the steak interrupts that last little period of cooking by releasing the heat inside the steak. Trust me, let it rest a few minutes and your steak will turn out perfect.
If you like this recipe, you may also be interested in these other delicious grilling recipes:
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