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What temperature do you want for a steak? It varies.

When the waiter asks, “How do you like your steak?”, STOP. DON’T ANSWER. ASK QUESTIONS!

You may like your steak cooked a certain way, and you may be used to how your order steak at other restaurants or how you cook at home. However, it is never exactly the same. So it’s important to take a few extra seconds to get some clarity before ordering.

Have a conversation with your waiter. Understand how the restaurant or chef defines doneness. Some restaurants serve on piping hot plates, and might under cook a little bit to compensate, so when it is served it is not over cooked.

Just make sure your on the same page in terms of expectations.

Standard Minimum Temperature Guides:

  • Rare – 125 degrees – red – cool red center
  • Medium Rare – 135 degrees – bright red – warm red center
  • Medium – 145 degrees – pink – warm pink center
  • Medium Well – 155 degrees – slight pink – hot pink center
  • Well – 165 degrees – tan, little to no pink

Here are some other important notes about these temperatures:

They are the minimum temperatures, and most of us have preferences that are within a particular range. If you didn’t know already, most chefs cook to “feel” rather than actual temperature reading which then really becomes about their own definitions. If your plate is waiting longer to get out of the kitchen, your steak is continuing to cook.

Personally, I prefer medium over medium rare. I like when the fat has a chance to render out a bit, but I don’t want the cap or point to be overcooked, which can happen on the high end of medium. Therefore, I have to have a conversation with my waiter to understand the chefs interpretation of medium rare vs. medium.

Some restaurants tend to overcook, some tend to under cook. Knowledge is king and don’t be afraid to ask.