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how to tell meat temperature

October 19, 2009

There are many ways to tell the doneness of meat. I am told that an instant read internal meat thermometer is the most accurate, but I have never owned one so I prefer a more rustic system. This is a trick my brother taught me that has served me pretty well for gauging the doneness of meat. The more a piece of meat is cooked the harder it gets. It is kind of like a muscle slowly flexing as it cooks. To get a sense for how this feels, Gently touch your thumb and forefinger together on one hand, then use the other hand to feel the muscle right under your thumb. The muscle gets a little firmer with each finger you move down. Check the diagram below.

Note: there will be a bit of trial and error in this and if you are really worried, it is ok to make a small incision in the meat to check how it has cooked.
– also, this does not apply to meats that are meant to be cooked for long periods of time such as pot roast, pork shoulder, lamb shank, etc.

RARE forefinger gently touches thumb. muscle is still soft.
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MEDIUM RARE middle finger gently touches thumb.
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MEDIUM ring finger gently touches thumb.
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MEDIUM WELL pinky finger gently touches thumb.
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WELL DONE There are many people who eat well done steak. I don’t know why.
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HER IS A LINK TO A CHART OF WORK YOUR MEAT WILL LOOK.

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