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Why does steak not have to be fully cooked? (Explained)

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The one thing many people don’t realize about meat is how easy it is to dry out. And I’m not talking about overcooking it, either. I’m talking about cooking a steak past medium.

Steak is more about texture and flavor than it is about temperature. When a steak is cooked, it should be firm to the touch but still a little bit pink in the middle.

Steak doesn’t need to be cooked entirely because it will continue to cook as it rests. This ensures that the steak stays tender and juicy while allowing you to avoid overcooking or undercooking it by using an instant-read thermometer.

The best way to ensure your steak comes out perfect every time is by using a meat thermometer. For medium-rare steaks (120 degrees F), insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the steak and wait two minutes before removing it.

If you prefer your steaks well done (160 degrees F), insert the thermometer into the thickest part and wait seven minutes before removing.

When you cook a steak, the most important thing to consider is the temperature of your grill. It will be dry and tough if you cook a steak past medium.

Here are reasons why you should never cook a steak past medium:

1. It’s not worth the risk. If you’re cooking your steak well-done, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be cooked all the way through. The outside will be cooked, but if you cut into it and there’s still blood running through it, you risk food poisoning or salmonella exposure.

2. It doesn’t taste good! Steaks cooked well-done have a very different flavor than ones cooked at lower temperatures because they’ve been overcooked and dried out.

3. They’re not as tender! When steaks are cooked past medium, they become tough and chewy instead of being soft and tender like they should be at that point in their cooking process.

4. You don’t get as much flavor from them! Steaks cooked past medium don’t have much flavor, which is another reason they shouldn’t be served well-done unless you want something bland on your plate instead of something delicious.

5. It’s an expensive waste of money. If you cook too much beyond medium, you’ll have to throw away that expensive piece of meat. When cooked past medium, the connective tissues in the muscle tissue begin to break down and make the meat tough and dry. That can ruin your meal’s flavor profile and make it difficult to enjoy. If your goal is to save money while eating out, don’t choose an expensive cut like ribeye or strip loin if you’re not going to cook it right!

Final Thoughts

Steak is delicious; for many Americans (myself included), it’s an old favorite. But whether you’re a steak enthusiast or like to change things up occasionally, there are many reasons why you should avoid cooking your steaks past medium.

Rather than wait for your meat to go bad before you can enjoy it, check out the reasons listed above and make your next steak meal a great one.