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Can you recook undercooked steak? (Explained)

Can You Recook Undercooked Steak?

An undercooked steak can be unappealing to some people. You take it off the grill, slice into it, and find that it’s way too red in the middle for your taste, and you’re left wondering what to do. 

The good news is that you can recook an undercooked steak. Though the best method to do so might depend on just how long it’s been off the heat, and just how much more cooking it needs to do. 

Of course, you don’t want to repeat your mistake, so you need to understand the temperature ranges of steak doneness. It also helps to have an accurate instant-read probe thermometer to test the temperature of the steak as you recook it. 

If the grill or the frying pan is still hot, the easiest thing to do is simply put the steak back on the heat. Then flip it after a minute or two to cook it evenly to your preferred degree of doneness. 

If you need to reheat a cold steak the next day, the microwave might be the fastest option, but your best option is to roast the steak in a 250-degree oven. You can then test the internal temperature of the steak by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the side at least 2 inches into the thickest part of the meat. 

If you want the recooked steak medium it needs to read an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Medium-well is closer to 155 degrees, and well done is 165 degrees or hotter. 

Why You Would Need to Recook Undercooked Steak

Taking a steak off the grill or removing it from a frying pan a little too early is an easy mistake that a lot of people make. This is even more likely to be an issue if you let someone else cook your steak, and they don’t have a probe thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meat

It might also be the case that someone grilled a steak for themselves the night before, and they wanted it extremely rare. Then their eyes were too big for their stomach, and they left the rest in the fridge as leftovers. Only you prefer your steak closer to medium well

Temperature Ranges You Should Consider Cooking It To

The USDA recognizes five different degrees of doneness for steak based on the internal temperature range. The higher the degree of doneness, the higher the internal temperature and the less “Pink” you see in the middle. 

A rare steak has an internal temperature of 120 to 125 degrees. 

A medium rare steak has an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees.

A medium steak has an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees. 

A medium-well steak has an internal temperature of 150 to 155 degrees. 

A well-done steak has an internal temperature of 165 degrees or more. 

The few degrees in between each degree of doneness are often referred to as “Push.”

A lot of steak enthusiasts believe that the 135-degree medium-rare is the ideal temperature for steak. If this is a little too red in the middle for you, you’re not alone. 

Retesting Internal Temperature with a Probe Thermometer

When it comes to retesting the internal temperature of a steak you need an “Instant Read Probe Thermometer” which is also known as a thermistor. Preferably one with a digital display, which gives you a more immediate response than an analog dial. 

Ideally, you want to insert the probe thermometer one time, into the thickest part of the meat. If you need to retest the internal temperature multiple times, you should try to insert the tip of the thermistor into the same exact spot to minimize the number of holes for steak juice to escape. 

Placement of the Probe to Measure the Temperature

When inserting an instant-read probe thermometer, you want to push the tip through the side of the steak into the thickest part of the meat. In some probes the sensing area can be as long as two inches, so make sure to go at least that far into the meat. 

If the steak has a bone in it, you want to stay at least one inch or more away from the bone. The meat closest to the bone can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the steak. 

Can You Recook Undercooked Steak the Next Day?

There are a few ways to recook undercooked steak the next day. While the microwave is tempting the best methods are either to lightly roast it in a warm oven or make your own improvised sous vide

You can recook an undercooked steak in an oven using the following steps. 

Step One: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

Step Two: Take the steak out of the refrigerator and let it rest, wrapped on the counter while the oven preheats.  

Step Three: Lightly salt the exterior of the meat, and lightly glaze it with a high smoke point, neutral-flavored cooking oil like canola or vegetable oil. 

Step Four: Place the steak on a baking sheet and slide it into the oven. 

Step Five: Flip the steak after 3 to 7 minutes depending on how much more cooking you think it needs. 

Step Six: Test the internal temperature of the steak by inserting an instant-read probe thermometer into the side near the thickest part of the meat.  

Step Seven: When the internal temperature of the steak is within 5 degrees of your preferred level of doneness, take it out of the oven. 

Step Eight: Wrap the steak in heavy-duty aluminum foil, then cover it with a clean tea towel to rest for 5 minutes. 

Can I Recook an Undercooked Steak in the Microwave?

If you’re short on time, you can recook an undercooked steak the next day in a microwave. The trick is to set the microwave to the medium heat setting, which will reduce the overheating effect on the edges of the meat. 

Then microwave it for 30 to 45 seconds at a time. Then flip the steak at each interval for even doneness. 

Final Thoughts

If you cut into your steak hot off the grill and find it’s undercooked, you can simply bring it right back out to the flame to finish cooking it. I’ve found that even if your grill has cooled down a little, you’ve still got a good 15-minute window to reheat the steak without affecting the flavor, juiciness, and texture of the meat. 

There are different types of probe thermometers, but the best one for retesting the internal temperature of a steak is a Thermistor or instant-read probe thermometer. 

You then need to insert it through the side of the steak for at least two inches into the thickest part of the meat. Just make sure to stay at least an inch or so from any bone, which could throw off the temperature. 

If you’re looking at a leftover steak in the refrigerator that’s undercooked to your taste, you can still reheat it in the microwave. Though your best option is to place it in a 250-degree oven on a baking sheet, flipping it occasionally until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. 

When reheating a steak, the higher the internal temperature is the greater the degree of doneness, and the less pink you will see when you cut into the meat. 

A medium rare steak will have an internal temperature of around 135 degrees.

A medium steak will have an internal temperature of around 145 degrees. 

A medium-well steak will have an internal temperature of around 155 degrees. 

A well-done steak will have an internal temperature of over 165 degrees. 

Once you take it off the heat, you should wrap the steak in heavy-duty aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes. This will let the internal juices inside the reheated steak redistribute back into the meat fibers, rather than pouring them out onto the plate when you cut into it.