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How To Use the 'Touch Test' to Determine Meat Doneness

My Recipes logo My Recipes 9/12/2017 Briana Riddock

Determining the doneness of meat can be a little nerve-wrecking if you don’t have a meat thermometer handy. 

© Briana Riddock

Open and relax your hand with all fingers extended. Use the index finger of your next hand to feel and add pressure to the your palm directly under your thumb. You notice there is lots of give and very little resistance. This is how the surface of meat feels when it is raw on the inside.

Well-Done

© Briana Riddock

Next, connect your thumb with the pinky of your open hand. Touching the same fleshy part under your thumb, you feel that this area becomes very resistant. This is how your meat feels when it is fully cooked on the inside, with no pink parts.

Medium

© Briana Riddock

Connect your thumb with the tip of your ring finger to determine a medium doneness. At this point your meat has a warm pink inside.

Medium-Rare

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At medium rare your meat has a warm red inside and can still be a little bloody. Connect your thumb with your middle finger; the area of your palm directly under your thumb now reflects how medium-rare should feel.

Rare

© Briana Riddock

Lastly, touch your thumb to your index finger for a rare doneness. As you can feel, this firmness is very close to the original open palm position with a very slight resistance.

WATCH: Using the "Touch Test" for Grilled Steaks

Please note that according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the only completely accurate way to measure doneness of meat is with a thermometer. The USDA recommends that you use a digital or dial thermometer to accurately determine if your meat is properly cooked. Ground beef, pork, and egg dishes should have an internal temperature of 160°F; beef, veal, and lamb at 145°F; and poultry at 165°F. Keeping a food thermometer around the kitchen is not only helpful when cooking meat, but also good to have when frying food and boiling sugar for caramel or candy.

Video: Back to Basics: Mario Batali Shows You How to Make The Perfect Steak (Provided by ABC)

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