Grilling a steak in the backyard is a summertime family favorite. However, not everyone in your family may enjoy steak cooked the same way. The cooking temperature of the grill, thickness of the steak and time spent on the grill all combine to create a steak grilling temperature that results in a rare, medium or well-done steak.
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There are several factors to consider when grilling steaks to different temperature levels. The main factors include the temperature of the grill, thickness of the steak and the time spent on the grill. The most important factor, however, is the internal temperature of the meat. You can accurately test the internal temperature of the meat by using a digital meat thermometer.
For a rare steak on the grill, cook the steak to an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperatures for rare steaks are below USDA recommendations and are not considered safe. A rare steak will feel spongy with very little resistance when you push it with the base of your thumb and will have red in the center. You can decrease the temperature to 125 degrees for an extra rare steak or increase the temperature to 145 degrees for a medium rare steak. As a general rule, cook a 1-inch steak for about 1 minute per side.
To prepare a medium steak on the grill, cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When you press the steak, it should feel slightly firm with a pink center and a grayish burn on the outside. As a general rule, cook a 1-inch steak to medium by leaving it on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Increase the cooking time to 6 to 7 minutes per side for a 1 3/4-inch steak.
A well-done steak needs an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. To reach this internal temperature, you need to leave the steak on the grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for a 1-inch steak or 8 to 9 minutes for a steak measuring 1 3/4 inches. Leave the steak on the grill for an extended period of time, only flipping the steak once after 5 minutes of grilling. Avoid using a fork to turn the steak. The steak will feel firm with no give and will have a gray center.