The Ultimate Guide to Steak Levels: A Traveler’s Perspective

  • There are 6 different types of steak cooked you should know of. Time and internal temperature are crucial factors when determining the steak level.
  • Before making an order, you should know what each type tastes like. The steak rare levels are not recommended for everyone.
  • Always consult with the waiter if you don’t know what steak to choose because they can suggest the best options.
  • Don’t forget to get a glass of red wine when eating your steak. It is the best finish that completes the meal.
  • There are different ways to prepare a steak. Try it grilled, broiled, or sous vide, and for a more authentic taste, chefs use a mixture of flavors.

Steak is certainly among the most favored dishes in any restaurant. While visiting any restaurant, you can ask for a steak and the possibility to be done according to your preference. There are four different steak levels. Rare, medium, well-done, and very well-done steaks are cooked in almost every kitchen.

Those who love steaks know the different steak doneness levels. If you take culinary classes, you will have a chance to learn what these levels are and how to distinguish between them. We will use this article to fill you in on everything you need to know about the steak levels and some of the best travel destinations for steaks. Keep reading to find out.

Understanding Steak Levels

Despite the well-familiar levels of cooked steak, the list below introduces you to the following steak cooking levels.

Blue Steak

blue rare steak

Blue Steak originally comes from French cuisine and is distinguishable because of its raw appearance. Usually, it is recommended for those who prefer to eat it raw. This steak is cooked for 1 minute on each side, which results in a bluish or purplish color. Also, it kills the bacteria present in raw meat. The taste is similar to eating it raw, as it is juicy and cold inside.

Raw Steak

This is the second of the steak levels, and it differs from the blue steak only in the longevity of cooking. To prepare a raw steak, chefs cook it for one and a half minutes on each side. The steak’s inside should be 75% red and juicy. However, unlike the blue steak, the raw is slightly warm inside as it takes longer to prepare. The color on the outside should be brownish but not crusty.

Medium-rare Steak

This is one of the most opted, but also one of the most difficult to recreate. The steak takes about 4 minutes to cook, until the internal temperature reaches 130°F or 140°F. The outside of this type of steak should be brownish and have grill imprints visible.

Medium Steak

The medium is the safer side on the levels of steak cooking. The preparation of this steak takes 5 minutes per side until it begins to look pinkish on the inside. It is recommended for all foodies, but also those who want to eat a quality dish but remain on the safe side.

Medium-Well Steak

The medium-well steak gravitates toward chewier, brownish, and less juicy levels of steak doneness. Each side takes more than 5 minutes to cook this type of steak until there is only a hint of pink in the middle, a crusty surface, and a less beefy taste.

Well-Done Steak

well-done steak

Of all types of steak cooking levels, we can say that the well-done is one of the most favorite for all fans of chewy steaks. On the outside, it looks brown, super crusty, or caramelized, while the inside turns gray or white. Mind that this type of steak is difficult to chew as the juices are all gone.

The Science of Steak Levels

The secret of cooking a perfect steak is in the timing. The time it takes for you to put the steak to cook at a given temperature, flip it, and take it out, is the main determinant of the different levels of cooked steak.

Speaking of temperature, let us just clarify that the internal temperature differs from the external one. The taste of the steak changes accordingly depending on the temperature, which is why it’s important to learn how to use the meat thermometer.

The meat thermometer is super easy to use, but you should always be sure to put it in the correct place. Simply insert the thermometer in the middle of the steak where it is the thickest and leave it in the steak for 10 seconds until it picks up temperature information.

Other things to consider in a stake are the breed, the cut, the feed, and the fat. Marbling or fat presence is an important factor of the meat quality because it provides flavor, juiciness, and tenderness to the meat. Flatiron steaks, ribeye, strip, and short rib are some of the well-known cuts that come with a high presence of marbling.

Ordering the Perfect Steak at Any Level

To pick the best steak, you have to know which steak levels of cooking best suit your taste. If you’re not a foodie, you can ask the waiter to suggest the best types of cooked steak.

Despite the types of steak cooking levels, it’s advisable that you learn the cuts. Filet mignon is by far the most preferred. But those who prefer a little more fat and flavor should go for the rib eye or sirloin. Ultimately, choosing your side dish is also important. Usually, restaurants worldwide serve different side dishes depending on the levels of steak, but the majority serve potatoes.

You may be asked if you want a sauce with your beef steak, but many connoisseurs would suggest going with the sauce it produces. Otherwise, there are some popular trends with different levels of cooked steak to enjoy them. For example, the rare steak levels go for tartare, while the well-done one goes for fajitas.

Last but not least, to complete the dish, ask for a glass of red wine. Red wine goes perfectly with steak and gives it the finishing touch.

Cooking the Perfect Steak at Home

How to cook Beef Steak at home, you ask? – Let’s start with the basics.

There are different types of cooking your steak at home, including grilling, broiling, and sous vide. However, they all approach beef differently.


steak being grilled

The first approach to grilling a steak is preparing the grill. Preheat it to about 500°F. Once it reaches the temperature, you can place the prepared steak on the grill. Now comes the important part where you need to measure the time when you will flip the steaks. If you’re going for grilled:

  • Medium-rare steak: take 3-4 minutes to grill the steak on each side. The steak’s internal temperature will be 135°F, which is fairly warm and still juicy. Not as in the rare juicy, but you will notice it is watery. The beef calories are still underdeveloped.
  • Medium Steak: 5-7 minutes for each side will make your steak brownish, and it will reach an internal temperature of 145°F. On the inside, the steak will be cooked and will have pinkish hints.
  • Medium-well steak: 8-10 minutes is the average time used for cooking the steak on each side. However, it is important to keep it within the given time frame to prevent overcooking the steak because it will result in a super chewy texture – not even close to tasty.


Broiling is one of the methods of preparing the steak that is often overlooked. Broiled steaks are soft, juicy, and tender. However, depending on what type of steak you want, you’ll need to mind the time and temperature. Let’s go over the steak cook levels details for cooking a steak in the oven:

  • Medium-rare: put the pan on the upper-middle oven rack until the steaks broil effectively, but you will still have to flip the meat every 2-4 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 125-130°F. Mind that broiling is one of the fastest ways to cook your steak. So, don’t leave them too long if you’re going for rare or medium-rare levels of steak cooking.
  • Medium to medium-well: the average time for broiling a steak to a medium level is 6-10 minutes. Also, flip the meat, and take it out when you consider it will satisfy your preference.

Broiling is the perfect way of cooking for a family dinner as it saves you time, yet it tastes heavenly. However, keep in mind that you cannot fully control the situation as you have no direct access to the meat. But, if you keep an eye on the time, you will not regret the choice. Don’t forget to add your favorite beef ingredients and seasoning to the pan for a richer flavor.

Sous Vide

Sous vide is one of the traditional ways to cook a steak at home, and the best thing about this method is that it leaves little to no room for error. However, to achieve the desired taste, you need to mind the recommended time for sous vide different levels of cooked steak.

Sous vide takes 1-3 hours to cook, depending on the types of steak cooking levels. It is important to reach the recommended internal temperature that goes as follows:

  • Rare steak: The internal temperature should reach 120°F. You will notice the water that comes out is pale. If it begins to turn brownish, it means that your steak progresses to the other levels of steak doneness.
  • Medium-rare: To reach medium rare, the steak’s internal temperature should come up to 129°F. You will notice more juice production in the pan as the muscle proteins begin to tighten.
  • Medium sous vide: The sous vide medium levels of steak cooking need to achieve 135°F on the inside. The meat remains rosy, and it will begin to lose 4x more juice than the rare.
  • Medium-well sous vide: The internal temperature reaches 145°F. At this point, the meat begins to tighten too much and lose 6x more juice than the steak rare levels.
  • Well-done Sous vide steak: This is the final steak cooking scale for sous vide, where the internal temperature of the steak should reach 156°F. The meat is the tightest at this point.

The perfect beef steak recipe is often a mixture of different experiences. If you want to reach that level, it is important to explore the world and visit more places.

Seasoning and Resting the Steak

Once you’ve cooked the steak, you can add some flaky sea salt as a final touch at the end of the cooking process. To get that restaurant quality, baste it in herbs and butter, or simply add some rosemary, sage, or thyme to add that special flavor.

To rest the steak after cooking, you need to cover it so it doesn’t get cold. The resting time is disputable as some say the resting time should be the same as the cooking time. There are also those who say to let the steak rest for 10 minutes for each pound of steak. Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you’ll allow the steak to rest.

Traveling for Steak

Steak lovers are everywhere in the world, and so are different types of steak cooked. Each town or country has a different approach to preparing steak, and we selected the top 3 destinations you have to visit if you are a steak lover.

  • The Butcher’s Table – Seattle, Washington: If you’re from the US or if you plan on visiting, you must not skip the Butcher’s place from your list. Each steak is prepared by a professional steak enthusiast.
  • Peter Luger Steak House – Brooklyn, New York: If you want to taste the tradition and excellence in steak delicatessen, go to Peters’. The steakhouse has been known to be one of the district’s best since 1887.
  • Al Biernat’s – Dallas, Texas: If you want to experience various meat cooking levels, then this is the place where you go. The taste and touch of the steaks at Al Biernat are one of a kind.

Despite these dishes, we highly recommend trying the traditional Filipino dish Bistek. It’s a taste and flavor for every foodie.

The Latest Food Trends

The above-mentioned types of steak cooking methods are the ones we can find in restaurants that have been passed down to generations. Since they have survived, it’s safe to say that they’re provenly delicious.

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