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Rare, Medium, Done: Grilling the Perfect Steak

How do you know when a steak is perfectly done? The perfect degree of doneness for your steak is a question of taste and experience. But no matter whether you like it rare, medium, or well-done, Otto's got a couple of tricks to make grilling the perfect steak easy-- with or without a thermometer.

Grilling the perfect steak: core temperatures for degree of doneness
In order to reach your desired degree of doneness, or cooking temperature, we always recommend using a meat thermometer. That way you are sure to cook the steak just as you like it. When using a meat thermometer, you should make sure that you remove your steak from the grill when the core temperature is a few degrees below the desired temperature because the steak will keep cooking while it rests after grilling.

Cooking level Core temperature in ˚C | ˚F


45-52˚C | 113-126˚F

Medium rare

53-56˚C | 127-133˚F


57-59˚C | 134-138˚F

Well done

60-63˚C | 140-145˚F


How to grill your desired degree of doneness with the Otto Grill

Grill your steak at full temperature on both sides, based on the chart above, using Meat-O-Meter Level 1. Remember to undercook it, as it will continue cooking while it rests.

Reduce the temperature and put the grill grate to the lowest level using the lever.

Let your steak rest in the lower part of the grill at the lowest temperature until it has reached your desired degree of doneness.

Take the grill grate out of the Otto Grill and insert the meat thermometer into the meat from the side.

Put the grill grate back into the grill along with the meat and thermometer. Make sure that the meat thermometer does not touch fat or bones since this might affect the reading. This is a more important rule for certain types of cuts with more fat or bones, so know your steak cuts with this chart.

    Tip: When you are grilling a particularly thick cut, you can cover the steak with a bit of aluminum foil while resting it so that it does not burn. Rest the steak until the core temperature is a few degrees below your desired level of doneness. Take it out of the grill and let it rest for another couple of minutes. This guarantees that the tasty juices are distributed evenly throughout the steak, and that you won't lose as much of that juice when you cut into it. Otto has you covered with more tips in his guide on grilling the perfect steak.

    Degree of doneness without a thermometer: ball-of-thumb test
    If you don’t have a meat thermometer, this simple hand trick will help you reach the right level almost exactly, if not perfectly. Of course, it's not as accurate as a thermometer, but it can help a basic guide. All you need is your hand!

    Degrees of doneness for steak

    Rare core temperature
    Place the tips of your thumb and pointer finger lightly against each other without pressure. Use your other hand to pinch the ball of the hand below your thumb. When your steak feels similarly soft, it is rare.

    Rare steak

    Medium rare – pink meat
    Place the tips of your thumb and middle finger slightly against each other. Use your other hand to press the muscle below your thumb. When your steak feels similarly elastic, it is medium rare.

    Medium rare steak

    Medium — slightly pink
    Place the tips of your thumb and ring finger softly against each other. The ball of the thumb now feels a bit stiffer and requires more pressure to push. When your steak feels like this, it’s cooked to medium.

    Medium steak

    Well done — cooked through, not overdone
    Place the tips of your thumb and your pinky softly against each other. Use your other hand to press the ball of your thumb. The muscle feels quite hard now. This is how your steak will feel when it is cooked well-done.

    Well-done steak

    Now you are ready to grill your perfect steak! Looking for tips on how to salt steak properly?


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