One of the most common food handling mistakes is to judge how well a steak is done only by its color. The temperatures and times for cooking steak vary with your method of preparation, the size (thickness) of the steak, its type, and the shape of the cut.
This guide on the best temperature to cook steak will help you to get the perfect steak every time so you don’t end up with undercooked or burned steaks on the grill.
Investing in an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer can help you accurately determine the cooking temperature you need.
The ideal temperature to cook steaks per cut depends on the thickness or size of the cut of meat. However, contrary to what you may expect, thicker cuts of meat require lower temperatures while thinner cuts of meat require higher temperatures .
Here is the best temperature to cook steak per cut:
The best temperature (surface temperature) to cook steaks of 1/2 inch thickness is around 425°F to 450°F.
If you’re cooking with a charcoal grill, ensure that the coals are medium-hot and not covered with ash although barely-covered coal is fine. The ash would lower the temperature level, which is not good for the steak.
The ideal temperature to cook steaks of 3/4 inch thickness is around 360°F to 400°F based on the type of meat. For charcoal grills, medium-hot coals are fine with a light layer of ash.
The best temperature to cook your steaks of 1-inch thickness is around 325°F to 350°F. This is also the best temperature for medium-rare to rare-cooked steaks.
Use medium-low coals in your charcoal grill and ensure there is a dense layer of grey ash on them. The dense layer of grey ash will maintain the temperature within the required temperature.
For rare filet mignon steaks of 1.5 Inches thickness, the best cooking temperature is around 110°F to 120°F and they should be cooked for 3 minutes per side.
However, ribeye or sirloin steaks should be cooked at a temperature of about 130°F to 140°F for six minutes per side.
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The steak type is another determinant of the ideal grilling time. You should note that internal cooking temperatures are similar for all steak types and only cooking times vary. This section will explain the perfect grilling time for different steak types.
To grill filet mignon of a 1-inch thickness, we recommend cooking the steak to an internal temperature of 140°F for four minutes per side for medium-rare, and 155°F for seven minutes per side for a medium-cooked steak.
Ribeye is a thicker cut of meat and is usually about 1¼ inch thick or more. Hence, ribeye takes a longer time to cook. We recommend cooking this steak to an internal temperature of 140°F for eight minutes per side for medium-rare, and 155°F for 10 minutes per side for a medium-cooked steak.
If you’re grilling a 1 inch thick New York Strip, grill the steak to an internal temperature of 140°F for seven minutes per side for medium-rare. If you’re grilling a medium-cooked steak, 10 minutes per side at an internal temperature of 155°F is fine.
Just like ribeye, sirloin is also a thicker cut of meat with an average thickness of about 1¼ inch. To grill, ensure an internal temperature of 140°F for eight minutes per side for a medium-rare and 155°F for 10 minutes per side for a medium-cooked steak.
To grill T-bone or other steak types like flank steak, you can get an idea of the perfect grilling time from the information above based on how well done you want your meat to be and the thickness of the cut of meat.
For medium steaks, grill for 6 to 7 minutes on each side to an internal temperature of 150°F. Medium-rare steaks can be grilled for 5 minutes per side until 135°F and medium-well steams need 8 minutes each side for an internal temperature of 165°F.
For most gas grills, you first need to preheat your grill to a temperature of about 450°F to 500°F. This high temperature gives your steak a perfect crust.
Place your steak at room temperature in the preheated gas grill and cook to an internal temperature of 125°F for a rare steak, 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare and 155°F for a well-done steak.
Similar to the gas grill, you have to preheat your oven to a temperature of 450°F. For a rare steak, cook in the oven until the temperature is around 125°F and the color is red.
Cook a medium-rare steak in an oven to a temperature of about 135°F when the color of the steak is deep pink. For a medium steak, cook it in the oven at a temperature of about 145°F and ensure that its color is light pink.
Medium-well steak should be cooked until its temperature is about 150°F and color should be slightly pink at the center. A well-done steak should be cooked in the oven until the temperature is about 160°F and there should be a little or no pink color seen.
Whether you’re using a gas grill or oven, the internal temperatures must be measured in the thickest part of the steak using a probe meat thermometer. You should remove the meat from the gas grill or oven 5°F before it reaches the desired temperature. This is because the temperature will continue to rise while the meat is resting.
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With our guide on the best temperature to cook steak, you can get the perfect steak every time you cook.
Note that irrespective of the type of grill you use, you need to always marinate your steak properly before you start cooking it. This will enable the juices and flavor to seal properly within the outer crust while grilling.
Also, don't forget to always use long tongs and a probe thermometer when you cook your steak to avoid burning yourself. Flip your steak once while cooking and always remember that the second side of the steak cooks much faster than the first side.
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