This content contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link on this page, we might receive a commission at no cost to you.
When it comes to finding the perfect way to eat your steak, or other forms of meat, many people tend to prefer medium-rare or rare levels of doneness.
Of course, everyone likes different foods and different tastes, but rare and medium-rare are seen around the world as somewhat of a household favorite.
With regard to the other levels of how much these meats should be cooked, many meat-eaters believe that well-done is too chewy and blue is too undercooked.
At the end of the day, we all want to enjoy our food in the ways that we think it tastes best. Making sure that our meat is cooked to perfection is a lot of the process, with the flavors and textures improving because of the doneness.
Follow our guide to find out the differences between medium rare and rare, with the benefits of cooking your meat in these ways.
Six Main Levels Of Doneness In Steaks
There are lots of different ways to cook steaks, with lots of different techniques. However, one thing that stays the same is the levels of doneness that people will use as a guideline when cooking their meat.
This way, people know how raw or cooked they want their food to be. This is always determined by the internal temperatures and has a direct effect on the taste and the texture of the food.
The lowest level of doneness for steaks, blue implies what the steak looks like.
With a purple-blue color and a colder temperature, compared to the other levels of doneness, this is what people will ask for when they want to have their food basically raw.
However, as long as the steak doesn’t have any chemicals present when packaged, the meat is safe to eat.
This level of doneness is achieved by quickly searing the beef on a hot grill, making sure the outside is seared but the inside remains uncooked and raw. The internal temperature of the steak should be a temperature of around 115 F.
As opposed to blue, which is considered raw, this level of doneness refers to what the meat looks like. A red-pink color, more similar to pink than purple, is what you’ll see when looking at a rare steak.
The internal temperature of this type of steak should be 125 F. Many people think that the juiciness and the redness of this doneness are down to blood in the steak, however, this is just proteins and myoglobin in the meat.
The texture of rare meat compared to blue is still soft to the touch, but not raw and squishy.
The edges of the steak are mainly seared and charred slightly to ensure that the eater enjoys a more-cooked version of the steak, compared to the other level of doneness we mentioned.
If you’re not into having your meat very rare, then this may be the level of doneness that you’d like to achieve.
As opposed to a medium-rare steak, which is where the steak starts to look slightly pinkish red, medium-rare means that the meat is starting to turn a bit browner.
An internal temperature of 130 F is the goal here, and will have a lot less juice and redness when eating.
This is usually the level of doneness that people aim for when they want a fairly middle-of-the-range finish to their meat.
Medium-rare is still tender and soft to the touch, however, the outside of the steak will be more seared and firm. This is always a great level to choose from.
When cooking your meat, there’s no such thing as too much. For some people, a medium steak would be perfect. It can vary from person to person, however, if you prefer your meat to be more well done, then a medium steak isn’t going to do it for you.
This steak isn’t as juicy compared to the other doneness levels and is often used in steak burgers because of the firm texture.
A more golden-brown color and an internal temperature of 140 F are what you’ll get when you go for a medium steak.
The texture of the steak will be firm throughout, and the outside will also be slightly more seared to give the steak a different flavor from the other levels.
For those who enjoy their meat cooked longer, then medium-well is probably the level of doneness for you. Once again, there is no such thing as having too much with steak, so take your time and enjoy your meal!
If you’re aiming for a medium-well steak, then make sure to cook it for about 7 or 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cut.
For the most accurate finish, an internal temperature of around 155 F will be the target here. The steak will appear darker and firmer overall.
Again, the texture of the steak will remain firm throughout. and will be more cooked than the previous options, forming a bridge between medium and well-done steak.
If you really love your meat cooked until it’s almost burnt, then this might be the one for you. Well-done steaks are cooked past 160 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
To get to this stage, you need to cook them for around 10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat. Because of this being cooked thoroughly, this is the toughest and driest out of all the steak types.
As you can imagine, these steaks are extremely dark and will be quite dry. They will also have a crusty exterior and won’t be as moist as the others.
However, if this is the level of doneness you’re after, then you’ll find that the steak tastes incredibly rich and delicious.
What’s The Difference Between Medium And Medium-Rare Steak?
The difference between medium and medium-rare steak is pretty simple: the former has been cooked through but is not yet fully cooked, while the latter has been cooked beyond medium.
There’s also a slight difference in taste, as medium-rare is slightly sweeter and juicier than medium.
If you’re looking for a good balance of flavors, then you should consider choosing medium-rare over medium.
While both have a similar taste profile, the former is a little better at balancing the beefiness of the meat.
And if you like spicy food, then medium-rare will be the way to go. Medium has fewer juices compared to medium-rare and will have a slightly drier taste.
While they may look similar, medium and medium-raze steaks are actually very different in terms of texture. The former has a firm texture, which means that it’s not as soft as medium-rare.
On top of that, medium-rare is softer and juicier compared to medium. So if you want a tender and juicy steak, then medium-rare is probably the way to go. However, medium tends to have a more neutral finish, which many steak novices love.
Differences In Temperature
As mentioned earlier, medium steak has been cooked past medium-rare, meaning that its internal temperature is higher than what we normally call medium-rare.
This makes it the perfect option for people who prefer their steaks cooked hotter. The internal temperature of medium steak ranges from 135F to 155F.
On the other hand, medium-rare steaks are still below medium levels. As a result, they cook faster and end up having a lower internal temperature.
These steaks range from 130F to 135F and will taste fairly similar, despite their different names and the amount that they’re cooked.
Which One Should You Choose?
There are several factors that play into how you choose your steak. First off, knowing the difference between medium and medium-rare steaks is essential to making the best choice.
Next, you should know what kind of flavor profile you’re going for. If you’d rather enjoy something with a lot of boldness, then medium is the way to go. But if you’re more about subtlety, then medium-rare is the way to go instead.
In addition, you should think about the texture that you want. If you want something that’s tender and juicy, then medium-rare is ideal.
However, if you just want something that’s flavorful with more firmness, then the medium option is the best bet.
Both taste great, and many people don’t mind too much about which they have because of how similar they are. However, it usually falls down to the texture and the searing when people look for the main differences.
As we’ve mentioned, the amount of juices present in the meat is usually a deciding factor for some people because of the kind of experience they’re looking to have.
Many people love to have fries or larger forms of potato food because they soak up the juices and add extra flavors to their meal. Wonderful!
Since most of us can never get enough of our favorite foods, it becomes difficult to find out which level of doneness is ultimately best.
Most of the time, it falls down to personal preference. But once you do decide which one you want to eat, you’ll have to make sure that you prepare it correctly.
Medium and medium-rare are two of the most popular ways to cook steak, with many people often going for these levels.
Steak preparation requires a few things, such as a sharp knife and a sharp pan. It also needs to be properly seasoned. A steak needs salt and pepper so that it tastes delicious.
So, as long as you can do this, and find the perfect level of doneness that suits your needs, then you’re bound to have a great meal.