Beef Cooking Guide

Beef Cooking Introduction | Grilling Beef | Barbecuing Beef | Beef Rotisserie Cooking | Broiling Beef | Roasting Beef | Sauteing Beef | Pan-Frying Beef | Deep-Frying Beef | Stir-Frying Beef | Poaching Beef | Braising Beef | Stewing Beef | Steaming Beef | Microwaving Beef | Beef Doneness | Carving Beef

Beef Cooking Introduction

In order to cook beef properly, the appropriate cooking method should be selected for each type of beef cut. For example, if you plan on using grilling as a cooking method, a tough beef cut from the round or plate should not be used, unless the intention is to tenderize the meat before cooking it. Even if the meat is tenderized, it will still not be as tender as a cut from the loin or rib, which do not require tenderizing. On the other hand, if you plan on using braising as the cooking method, there is no point in using a tender (and expensive) cut such as the tenderloin.

Cooking methods are classified as either dry heat methods or moist heat methods:

* Dry Heat Cooking Methods: Tender cuts of beef from the loin and rib are best suited for dry heat cooking methods, such as grilling, broiling, roasting, and sautéing.
* Moist Heat Cooking Methods: Tougher cuts of beef from the round, brisket, flank, plate, shank, and chuck are best suited for moist heat cooking methods, such as braising, pot-roasting, and stewing. (Some of tougher cuts may also be cooked with dry heat methods, but they are often tenderized first).

Grilling Beef

The grilling process cooks foods over a high heat source, either directly, indirectly, or a combination of both. Grilling temperatures typically reach as high as 650ºF, but any temperature above 300°F is suitable as a grilling temperature. The high heat of grilling sears the surface of beef, creating tender meat with a flavorful crust. The required cooking temperature and the method of grilling (direct, indirect, or a combination) depends on the cut of beef and the quality of the meat. As with any cooking method, beef that is grilled should not be overcooked in order to produce the best results.

Types of Grills| Outdoor Grill Setup | Preparation of Beef Cuts
Direct Heat Grilling | Indirect Heat Grilling | Doneness of Steaks

Types of Grills

Beef can be grilled on several types of grilling units. Some grills are designed for outdoor use, while others are used indoors.

Indoor Grills

Indoor grills provide convenience for consumers
who are unable to grill outdoors due to location or climate.

Portable Countertop Models: The most popular indoor grills are electric countertop units. The portable grills come in a range of sizes and provide a grilled or broiled flavor to beefsteaks and small roasts. A grill rack, onto which the meat is placed, is positioned above an electric heating unit and a drip pan is positioned on the bottom of the unit to catch the extra fat and grease that drips from the meat as it cooks, helping to reduce the fat content of some meat cuts. Portable indoor electric grills are convenient to use and are easy to clean and most models are inexpensively priced.

Built-in Models: Many of the manufacturers of kitchen stoves offer models with built-in grills. Like portable indoor grills, the built-in models are convenient to use and are a good substitute when grilling cannot be performed outdoors.

Outdoor Grills

There are several popular methods for grilling beef outdoors, all of
which provide a flavor to the meat that is difficult to match with indoor grilling.
Wood Fire Devices: Traditional methods for grilling (which are still used) involve the use of a wood fire. A small wood fire is built within a ring constructed of heavy stones or metal or in a masonry structure designed to contain the fire. Before the beef is cooked, the fire is allowed to burn down until the flames are small and the embers are glowing. A grate, supported by the stone or metal structure, is placed above the fire and the food is cooked directly on the grate. One drawback with this grilling method is that it can be difficult to regulate the cooking temperature unless there is a method for raising and lowering the grate.

Charcoal Grills: Beef is often cooked on grills that use charcoal as the fuel source. Charcoal grills are available in a wide range of styles and sizes. Some are very basic, consisting of a small cast iron container (that may be round, square, or oblong) for holding the charcoal with a grate placed on top (hibachi). Other models are elaborate kettle grills with covers, vents on top and bottom for regulation of oxygen to change the cooking temperature, built-in ash containers, and attached carts with a work surface and storage for utensils.

Gas Grills: Among the most popular outdoor grills are gas grills, which, like charcoal grills, are available in many styles, sizes, and price ranges. They are easy to use and most people like the convenience that gas grills provide. Most models have automatic ignition and more than one burner, which are controlled with a knob to increase or decrease the fire, just like an indoor gas range. Depending on the manufacturer and the price, some gas grills may have warming trays, special smoker boxes to add a wood smoked flavor to food, built-in thermometers to monitor the cooking temperature when the cover is closed, and attached work surfaces that may be folded down when not in use.

Outdoor Grill Setup

Setting up an outdoor grill is an easy process, but care must be taken to ensure safety. The following safety points should always be considered when grilling outdoors:

* Outdoor grills must be kept away from the walls of buildings and should never be used in garages or under low hanging tree branches.
* Grills should be positioned in an area that is level, such as a patio or level space in a lawn, but should never be used in similar areas that may be covered with a roof.
* If a grill is used on a wood deck, a large piece of metal or a patio/deck protector should be placed under the unit.
* A grill should never be left unattended and children and pets should always be kept away from the grilling area.
* A fire extinguisher should be kept within reach at all times.

Charcoal Grill Setup

The amount of charcoal required depends on how much of the area of the grate will be used for cooking. If the entire area of the grate will be used for cooking, an even layer of coals should be spread across the entire bottom of the grill. If only a portion of the grate will be used for cooking, the coals should extend about 2 inches beyond the area where the food will be cooked.

After determining the correct quantity of charcoal to use, the briquettes can be placed in a mound in the center of the grill.

Self-lighting briquettes, containing a petroleum product for easy lighting, can be used. The coals are easily lit with a long match.

An alternative, for those who do not like using petroleum products, is to use regular briquettes, which can be lit more easily with the aid of a chimney starter. Newspaper is placed in the bottom of the chimney and the charcoal is placed on top. The newspaper is lit from the bottom and the fire is drawn up to the charcoal above.

The charcoals are ready when they are glowing and are evenly coated with a layer of gray ash. This process usually requires at least 30 minutes. The coals can then be spread evenly across the bottom for direct heat grilling or they can be placed in several different configurations for indirect heat grilling.

Many people like to add a small log or two of their favorite hardwood, such as apple or oak, to the coals in order to provide a more pronounced smoked flavor to the food. Softwoods should not be used because they burn too quickly, do not provide good flavor, and emit too much soot.

An easy method for estimating the grilling temperature is to place the palm of your hand 3 or 4 inches above the grate. The length of time you can leave your hand comfortably above the grate determines the heat intensity:

* 10 seconds = low fire
* 8 seconds = medium-low fire
* 6 seconds = medium fire
* 4 seconds = medium-high fire
* 2 seconds = high fire

Use a long handled brush to oil the grate before grilling any food. This will help prevent food from sticking to the grate.

A charcoal grill can be used for about an hour before the coals begin to die out and the heat is no longer sufficient to continue cooking. If a longer cooking time is required, the coals must be replenished. It is best to remove the grate, add the coals, and wait until they are properly lit before continuing with the cooking process. The fresh charcoal usually requires only half the length of time (about 15 minutes) to be ready than starting coals from scratch.

Gas Grill Setup

Most modern gas grills have mechanisms for automatic ignition, which makes starting the gas grill almost foolproof. One burner is usually designated as the starter burner and once it is lit, all of the other burners are lit from this source.

After turning on the gas valve, on the tank below the grill unit, the burners can be lit. The control knob (for the main burner) is turned to the “start” position, to begin the flow of gas. The ignition switch is then pushed to light the burner.

Note: It is very important to open the hood of the gas grill before attempting to ignite the burners. It can be dangerous to start the burners with the hood down because gas can build up under the closed hood and may cause an explosion. Always follow the manufacturers instructions.
To confirm that the burner has lit, hold your hand over the grate in order to feel the heat rising from the burner.

Once the main burner is lit, the other burners light automatically by simply turning on their respective control knobs to start the flow of gas. All the burners should be turned to “high” in order to properly preheat the grill.
The hood should be closed while the grill preheats. Some gas grills are equipped with thermometers built into the hoods (as shown on the right front of the hood of the grill that is pictured), which provide a reasonably accurate temperature reading when the hood is closed.
Use a long handled brush to oil the grate before grilling any food. This will help prevent food from sticking to the grate.

Preparation of the Beef Cuts

Some beef cuts may require some preliminary preparation, such as boning, trimming, tying, or tenderizing, before they are grilled.
Boning or extra trimming may be required for some beef cuts, which can be done while the grill preheats. The outer fat layer can be trimmed down to 1/8" to reduce the amount of fat. It is important to leave at least 1/8" of fat to help seal in the juices while the meat is cooking.

When grilling steaks, better results are produced when the fat is slashed at 1-inch intervals around the perimeter of the steak. This helps to reduce the tendency of the steak to curl up during the grilling process.

Some beef roasts may require tying to maintain the shape during the grilling process and to allow the roast to cook as evenly as possible. Beef cuts that have been boned are often rolled and tied to create a uniform shape, which makes slicing much easier after the meat is grilled.

Some beef cuts may require tenderizing, either by pounding, marinating, applying a rub, or barding. Beef can be tenderized while waiting for the grill to preheat, although when marinating beef, it may be best to allow additional time for the meat to soak in the marinade.

Direct Heat Grilling

Cooking with direct heat is accomplished by placing cuts of beef on a grate directly over the heat source. For outdoor grilling, the grate can be positioned over an open fire or wood burning grilling unit, a charcoal grill, or a gas grill.

Direct Heat Grilling on Charcoal Grills

When beef is cooked with direct heat on a charcoal grill, the coals are usually spread in an even layer on the bottom of the grill. This provides a consistently hot, even temperature under the entire cooking surface.

The cooking temperature typically reaches 450ºF to 650ºF when grilling over direct heat. Thin cuts of meat are quickly grilled over such high temperatures and should only be turned once to cook both sides.

Direct Heat Grilling on Gas Grills
When grilling beef with direct heat on a gas grill, all of the burners are lit to provide a uniform temperature under the entire cooking surface (grate).
The meat is cooked quickly over burners set to medium to high heat. Thin steaks, under ¾ inch thick, should be cooked over high heat for only 2 or 3 minutes per side and watched carefully to prevent overcooking. Thin cuts of beef are usually turned only once during the cooking process and are cooked with the hood down.
When grilling steaks, use tongs or a spatula to turn the meat. A fork should not be used because it pierces the meat allowing juices to escape. Hamburger patties should be turned with a spatula.

Beefsteaks are among the most popular cuts of meat that are cooked on an outdoor grill. Most people select tender cuts such as the Porterhouse, T-bone, rib-eye, or tenderloin steaks, but there are other steaks that can be selected that are flavorful and much less expensive:

* The tri-tip steak is excellent when grilled, but it can easily become very tough if cooked improperly. The fat should not be trimmed until after cooking because it helps to seal in the juices, keeping the meat somewhat tender.
* Flank steaks are very lean and are full of flavor. They are delicious when grilled, but they will become very tough if cooked too long. It is best to marinate them before cooking.
* Skirt steaks have much more marbling than flank steaks, so they are juicier if they are not overcooked.

Indirect Heat Grilling

The purpose of indirect heat cooking on a grill is to allow thicker cuts of beef to cook thoroughly while preventing the surface of the meat from burning. Indirect heat cooking is often done in conjunction with direct heat cooking. Large beef cuts are usually seared over direct heat and then the cooking process is finished using indirect heat to slowly cook the meat to the desired doneness.

Indirect Heat Grilling on Charcoal Grills

Once the preliminary steps are finished (grill setup, meat preparation, etc.), there are several easy steps to follow in order to cook beef with indirect heat on a charcoal grill.
The coals can be pushed to one side of the grill and a pan is placed on the opposite side. The pan is used to catch fat as it melts and drips from the meat as it cooks, reducing flare-ups.

Before actually cooking a thick cut of beef with indirect heat, such as the small chuck eye roast shown on the right, the meat is usually seared on all sides, using direct heat, in order to create a flavorful crust on the surface. The meat is seared directly over the coals that have been placed on one side of the grill. Use a tongs or spatula to turn the meat. Do not use any utensil that will pierce the meat, allowing juices to escape.

After the searing process is complete, the beef is placed on the opposite side of the grill, away from the coals and over the drip pan. The grill is covered and the beef is cooked to the appropriate doneness.

An alternative method for arranging coals for indirect heat grilling is to place half the coals on one side of the grill and the other half on the opposite side. Some charcoal grills are equipped with side baskets, which can be used for this purpose. A drip pan is placed between the coals under the location where the meat will be cooked.

A third method of arranging the coals is to bank them into a ring around the outer edges. Again, a drip pan is used under the meat. The grill should be covered while the beef cooks (which is true for any of the three methods of arranging coals).

Indirect Heat Grilling on Gas Grills
A thick cut of beef, such as the boneless sirloin roast shown on the right, is seared on all sides over direct heat before it is cooked to the proper doneness using indirect heat. A tongs and/or spatula should be used to turn the roast. Using a meat fork will pierce the meat allowing juices to escape.

All of the burners, except one, are turned off. For the grill pictured at right, the center and rear burners are turned off and the front burner remains lit (on high heat).

A drip pan is placed on the opposite side away from the direct heat of the front gas burner and under the location where the meat will be cooked.

The seared beef roast is placed on the area of the grate over the drip pan, away from the direct heat of the front burner.

The heat from the one burner is sufficient to cook the meat, indirectly, especially when the hood is closed to hold the heat within the grill. <

Larger cuts of beef, such as roasts and ribs, benefit from cooking with indirect heat because the meat remains juicy and tender and the risk of overcooking the meat is reduced.

Doneness of Steaks

Grilled beefsteaks are safe to eat if the center is still a bit pink. Harmful bacteria are killed if the internal temperature reaches 145ºF (medium rare, using updated guidelines, and medium, using traditional guidelines). In fact, it is recommended that steak not be overcooked to ensure optimum flavor and tenderness.

Some people like their steak cooked to no more than rare (125ºF to 130ºF, using traditional guidelines), but this is not recommended. The internal temperature of the meat is not sufficient to kill harmful bacteria that may be present.

Barbecuing Beef

People often use the terms barbecuing and grilling interchangeably, but they are two completely different cooking processes. While grilling refers to food that is cooked directly over high heat, barbecuing refers to foods that are cooked with a long, slow process using indirect, low-heat generated by smoldering logs or wood chips that smoke-cook the food.

The fuel and heat source are separate from the cooking chamber, but the cooking chamber contains enough heat to properly cook the food over a long period of time. The cooking chamber fills with smoke, giving the food its characteristic smoked flavor, which varies depending on the type of wood that is used for the fuel. The best temperature for barbecuing is between 200°F and 300°F. If the temperature rises above 300°F, it is considered a temperature suitable for grilling. Many beef cuts from the loin and rib are excellent when barbecued.

Beef Rotisserie Cooking

General Guidelines | Charcoal Grill | Gas Grill | Doneness

Rotisserie cooking requires three key components: The spit assembly, a means to turn the spit, and a heat source for cooking. The spit refers to a device consisting of one or more metal bars onto which meat or other foods are skewered. There are two types of spits that are used most often. The first one is a long skewer that is pushed through the food. The skewer may resemble a heavy round bar depending on the size of the rotisserie unit and the total weight that must be supported. After the meat has been skewered, two prongs (or “forks”) are attached to each side of the meat to hold it in place. The spit, or skewer, is placed on brackets that allow the food to be suspended above, or in front of, a heat source.

A second type of spit is a split rod assembly in which two narrow skewers are pushed through the food and are attached to gears on both ends of the rotisserie unit. Because two skewers are used, there is no need for the use of additional hardware (such as the fork attachments used with the single skewer assembly) to prevent the meat from slipping on the skewers while rotating.

With the use of a mechanical or manual device, the spit slowly rotates at a consistent speed. The constant rotation of the rotisserie allows meat to cook evenly. The juices within the meat are distributed equally resulting in tender, self basted meat. The meat develops a smoked flavor and a perfect crispy crust.

Modern rotisseries are equipped with an electric motor, which allows for even rotation of the food. The first rotisseries were crude devices that allowed for food to be rotated manually while it cooked over an open fire. Before electric motors were specifically built for rotisseries, almost any method imaginable was used to power the rotisserie, although a hand crank was most commonly used. Manually operated rotisseries are still occasionally used in fireplaces and over open outdoor fires.

Rotisseries are built in a variety of sizes ranging from models able to accommodate a small chicken to large models used for roasting very large primal cuts of meat or whole animals such as a lamb or pig. Some rotisseries are built as attachments for outdoor charcoal grills and many outdoor gas grills are equipped with rotisseries as a standard feature. There are also a variety of indoor electric countertop rotisseries, which consist of a self contained oven-like cabinet with a heating element in the back. The food roasts as it rotates on a spit in front of the heat source. The units come with temperature controls, timers, and a drip pan for collecting any melting fat.

Before cooking with a rotisserie, it is important to read the instruction manual included with the rotisserie. Make sure that the unit is used correctly and that safely instructions are always followed. If the rotisserie unit will be used with a charcoal or gas grill, it is important that the rotisserie is designed specifically for the particular grill that is being used as the heat source.

General Guidelines for Rotisserie Cooking of Beef

There are two methods of cooking beef using a rotisserie: direct heat cooking and indirect heat cooking. The method that is used is dependent upon how the rotisserie is positioned in relation to the heat source. Placing the meat over the heat source is direct heat cooking and results in beef with a grilled quality. This works best for small cuts of beef, but direct cooking is rarely used in conjunction with rotisserie cooking. Indirect cooking is most often used because it allows the meat to cook slowly and evenly, which is the main purpose for using a rotisserie for cooking. The rotisserie is positioned in front of or next to the heat source, which works extremely well for larger cuts of beef. The indirect heat will allow the interior portions of the meat to cook thoroughly before the exterior becomes overdone.

When setting up for rotisserie cooking using a charcoal or gas grill as the heat source, the grills must be preheated before rotisserie cooking can begin. (Refer to the article, “Grilling Beef” for details on preheating.) The best results are achieved when beef cuts are seared at a high temperature for the first few minutes, followed by low to medium/low heat for the remainder of the cooking time. A rotisserie ring is beneficial when using a charcoal grill because it allows the spit to be positioned at the perfect height in relation to the heat source.

Cooking beef with a rotisserie is most successful when cooking beef cuts that have a basic cylindrical shape. Oven roasts, such as rib-eye roast, rolled rib roast, tenderloin roast, and top loin roast, are good choices. Tender cuts that are flat or irregularly shaped may also be used if they are boned, rolled, and tied. Flat pieces can also be placed in a rotisserie basket, which allows the meat to be cooked on the rotisserie without having to be directly skewered.

Market ready cuts from the round and chuck are usually not suitable for cooking with a rotisserie because they are tougher and lack the marbling that is important for keeping the meat tender while cooking. However, they can be quite flavorful and acceptably tender if they are not overcooked and if they are marinated for several hours prior to cooking.

Beef can be cooked on a rotisserie using numerous recipes. Most of the recipes can be used for grilling, broiling, or roasting if the cooking time is adjusted accordingly. High quality meat usually does not require too many additional flavorings, so a particular recipe may not be necessary. A coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper may be all that is necessary or a rub of fresh herbs may be used to create a flavorful crust on the exterior.

Rotisserie Cooking with a Charcoal Grill

When rotisserie cooking on a charcoal grill using indirect heat, the fire is built on the side of the kettle or in a ring around the perimeter, away from the location where the food is to be positioned. The meat is cooked by radiant heat rather than direct heat (as if in an oven). None of the hot coals should be directly under the meat. A drip pan is placed under the meat (a disposable aluminum pan works well) to catch the melted fat that drips from the meat as it cooks. Due to the extended cooking time, fresh charcoal must be added every 30-40 minutes to maintain the proper cooking temperature.
The following steps may be used for rotisserie setup on a charcoal grill:

  1. Place the rotisserie ring inside the charcoal grill.
  2. Place the charcoals on one side of the grill so that they are mounded parallel, but away from the spit. Make sure the coals are well lit and the grill is preheated before the meat is mounted to the rotisserie.
  3. A drip pan should be placed directly under the location of the spit. Because the drip pan will help to prevent flare ups, it is important that the drip pan be at least as large as the meat.
  4. Pour ½-inch to 1-inch of water into the drip pan to create steam, which will rise and help to prevent moisture loss in the meat.
  5. Slide one pair of prongs (a tool that resembles a large fork) onto the spit and then push the spit and prongs into the meat. Slide the other set of prongs on the opposite side of the spit and insert the prongs into the meat. The prongs prevent the meat from slipping on the spit as it rotates.
  6. Both sets of prongs usually have a wing nut that should be tightened to keep them firmly in place on the spit.
  7. The spit is then attached to the brackets of the rotisserie assembly. One end of the spit slides into the motor.
  8. Some rotisseries have counterweights that can be adjusted to provide proper balancing of the meat on the spit. The meat should be balanced on the spit to prevent uneven cooking and possible overworking of the rotisserie motor.
  9. When spit has been balanced, start the motor and observe the rotation to ensure that the spit is balanced and there are no obstructions.
  10. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer before removing the meat from the heat source.
  11. Remove the spit from the grill with heavy oven mitts and remove the spit from the meat. Cover the meat with foil and allow it to rest for a few minutes or for whatever length of time is appropriate for the particular cut of beef.

Rotisserie Cooking with a Gas Grill

The best gas grills for use in rotisserie cooking are models with front and back burners or models that have three burners arranged in a line front to back. The burners should be ignited to allow the grill to preheat before the meat is placed on the rotisserie. When the grill has preheated, all of the burners except for the rear burner are shut off. The spit is positioned over the front or center burner so that the food is not directly over the heat source (the rear burner). If the grill has only two side-by-side burners, set both of the burners on low. When a drip pan is placed on the grate, the meat will be shielded by much of the direct heat of the burners.
The following steps may be used for rotisserie setup on a gas grill:

  1. Preheat the grill by setting all of the burners on high for a few minutes.
  2. A drip pan should be placed directly under the location of the spit. Because the drip pan will help to prevent flare ups, it is important that the drip pan be at least as large as the meat.
  3. Pour ½-inch to 1-inch of water into the drip pan to create steam, which will rise and help to prevent moisture loss in the meat.
  4. Slide one pair of prongs (a tool that resembles a large fork) onto the spit and then push the spit and prongs into the meat. Slide the other set of prongs on the opposite side of the spit and insert the prongs into the meat. The prongs prevent the meat from slipping on the spit as it rotates.
  5. Both sets of prongs usually have a wing nut that should be tightened to keep them firmly in place on the spit.
  6. The spit is then attached to the brackets of the rotisserie assembly. One end of the spit slides into the motor.
  7. Some rotisseries have counterweights that can be adjusted to provide proper balancing of the meat on the spit. The meat should be balanced on the spit to prevent uneven cooking and possible overworking of the rotisserie motor.
  8. When spit has been balanced, start the motor and observe the rotation to ensure that the spit is balanced and there are no obstructions.
  9. The lid of the grill should be lowered and remain closed to ensure even roasting.
  10. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer before removing the meat from the heat source.
  11. Remove the spit from the grill with heavy oven mitts and remove the spit from the meat. Cover the meat with foil and allow it to rest for a few minutes or for whatever length of time is appropriate for the particular cut of beef.


Rather than relying on a cooking time chart for proper doneness, always use a meat thermometer. A time chart does not allow for the many variables that often influence doneness. A chart should be used as a guide only and cannot substitute for accuracy of a good meat thermometer. To accurately check temperature, the thermometer must be pushed through the thickest part of the meat and away from any bones (bones conduct heat).

The minimum temperature recommended for cooking most beef cuts is 140ºF. (During the resting period, the temperature of the meat will rise an additional 5ºF or so, reaching the minimum recommended safe temperature of 145ºF). Any boneless beef roast that contains stuffing and is then rolled and tied should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 160ºF. (During the resting period, the temperature of the meat will rise an additional 5ºF or so).

It is also easy to visually determine when the beef is thoroughly cooked. The exterior of the beef will appear crispy with a dark brown color and the meat will begin to split apart. The visual signs of proper doneness should be used only as a guide (especially when cooking a roast with stuffing). Using a meat thermometer is the only sure method to verify the correct doneness of the meat.

Broiling Beef

Oven-Broiling | Pan-Broiling


Broiling is much like grilling in that food is cooked directly with high heat. The difference between broiling and grilling is that broiling is usually done in an oven and the heat source is above the food whereas grilling is done on equipment that is generally used outdoors and the heat source is below the food. (As described in “Grilling Beef”, there are also indoor grills such as portable electric models for the countertop and stoves with built-in grills).

Beef for broiling should be tender with adequate marbling and since the goal is to cook the meat quickly, it should not be too thick. Beefsteaks that are no thicker than one inch are excellent for broiling, especially tender steaks from the rib and the loin including the rib-eye, tenderloin, boneless top loin, Porterhouse, T-bone, and top boneless sirloin. Steaks cut from the chuck can be quite good if not overcooked. Round steaks are not ideal choices for broiling, but they can be greatly improved if they are marinated first.


The following simple steps may be used to achieve good results when broiling various cuts of beef:

  1. Before broiling cuts of beef, it is beneficial to remove the meat from refrigeration for a few minutes to warm it slightly, however the meat should not be allowed to remain at room temperature for an extended period. It may be difficult to broil well-chilled beef properly if the meat is placed immediately into the broiler from the refrigerator. It is possible that the outer portion of the meat may be fully cooked and begin to char before the interior portion reaches the proper doneness.
  2. If a beefsteak has a thick layer of fat on the outside edges, it should be trimmed off so that only about 1/8" of fat remains. A little bit of fat around the edges helps to seal in the juices and keeps the edges from drying out when the meat is broiled. The remaining fat layer should be vertically slashed at one inch intervals around the perimeter of the steak to help prevent the meat from curling due to the heat of the broiler. This also helps to prevent excess spattering and smoking during the broiling process.
  3. When beef is grilled, it is generally placed directly on the grilling rack, but when beef is broiled, it is placed on a broiling pan. The broiling pan catches melting fat and juices that drip from the beef as it cooks so that the oven stays cleaner. It also prevents the fat from starting an oven fire.
  4. Oven racks should be adjusted to allow for the height of the broiler pan and the thickness of the meat, which should be about 3 to 6 inches from the heat source. The broiler oven should be preheated at the highest temperature setting for 10 to 15 minutes. The broiler pan should be preheated under the broiler for several minutes before the beef is placed on it.
  5. Beef cuts should be brushed with oil before they are placed on the broiling pan to prevent sticking when they are cooked. Meat that has been marinated in any mixture containing oil can be placed on the pan without additional oiling.
  6. When broiling beef, the meat is usually cooked on one side, turned once, and cooked on the other side. When turning the meat, a tongs should be used to avoid puncturing the meat and allowing juices to escape. The meat should be watched closely to ensure that it does not become charred and burned. The goal is to produce beef with a brown, crusty surface and an interior that is juicy and tender.

Note: Most recipes for broiled beef also work well when grilling, but the cooking times may vary.


Pan-broiling is a useful variation of oven-broiling in which the surface of the hot pan becomes the heat source. It doesn’t require heating up the oven and allows for easier monitoring of the cooking process. Pan-broiling works especially well for beefsteaks.

To pan-broil, use the following simple steps:

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is ideal) until it’s hot enough to evaporate a drop of water instantly.
  2. Sprinkle a little salt over the surface of the pan. This helps make a tasty crust on the meat and doesn’t add a significant amount of salt to the food. (You can omit this step and still get good results).
  3. The beef should sizzle as soon as it is placed into the pan. The meat should be browned well on one side and then turned to brown the other side.
  4. When turning the meat, a tongs or spatula should be used to avoid puncturing the meat, allowing juices to escape.
  5. If the meat requires longer cooking at this point, reduce the heat somewhat to prevent burning. If the meat will not be served immediately, cover the pan to hold in moisture.

Roasting Beef

Roasting is a dry heat cooking method which is often used for large, tender beef cuts. The best cuts for roasting are obtained from the loin and the rib. In order to properly roast a cut of beef, it should be placed on a rack in a roasting pan that is not too deep and then placed, uncovered, in a preheated oven to cook.

The roasting process tends to evaporate and reduce the moisture content of the beef cut, shrinking the fibers and making the meat tough. Usually by the time the meat has reached an internal temperature of less than 120°F, the shrinking process is well under way. At the same time, the connective tissues and bits of fat throughout the meat (marbling) soften and melt, basting the meat as it cooks and helping to keep it tender. This is why lean cuts of beef with very little marbling can become very tough if they are roasted or if they are cooked with any other dry heat method. If beef is roasted too long or at too high a temperature, the melting fat and connective tissue will be reduced significantly and the tenderizing effect will be lost. Beef cooked to a doneness of no greater than medium, will have plenty of moisture remaining, while beef that has been cooked well done, will have very little moisture and will be much tougher.

Some beef cuts are seared before they are roasted. Searing is a process in which the meat is browned quickly on all sides before it is roasted to create a flavorful crust. Searing is also used for tougher cuts that will then be cooked with a slow, moist heat process such as braising.
Note: Some beef cuts that are usually not very good candidates for roasting, such as cuts from the plate or flank, may be considerably improved if they are marinated first before roasting. Marinating helps to soften the tough fibers, making the meat more tender.

Steps for Producing a Simple Roast Beef

The following roasting method works best for beef cuts that weigh about 2½ pounds. Adjustments in the roasting time will have to be made if using a smaller or larger piece of meat. A top sirloin butt roast, a tri-tip roast, or a top quality bottom round roast are good choices when using the following steps.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the beef roast from the refrigerator and season the meat as desired. The meat may also be marinated for several hours before it is roasted. This may be especially desirable if roasting a bottom round, because even a top quality bottom round roast will not be as tender as the top sirloin butt or tri-tip roast.

Place the beef on a rack in a shallow roasting pan with the fat side up. Do not cover the roast or add any liquid (liquid is used for braising and not roasting).

Allow the beef to roast at 450°F for 45 minutes and then begin checking the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. Continue roasting the meat until the internal temperature has reached 5 or 10 degrees below the desired doneness. Cooking a small roast at high heat helps to sear the exterior, which provides a flavorful browned crust and and tender meat.

The total roasting time depends on the type of beef cut that is roasted, the weight of the beef cut, the level of doneness desired, and the accuracy of the oven. Generally, the total roasting time may range from 15 to 30 minutes per pound. The 2½ pound, bottom round roast pictured at the right, required 55 minutes cooking time to reach the desired doneness (medium/medium rare).

Remove the roast from the oven and place aluminum foil loosely over the meat to hold in the heat. Let the roast stand for 15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise 5 or 10 degrees, reaching the proper doneness. The resting period will allow the juices to settle in the roast making it more tender and easier to carve.

A beef roast cooked to medium rare should have an internal temperature of 145°F - 150ºF after the resting period and a roast cooked to medium should have an internal temperature of 150°F to 165ºF. (See the note below).

Note: Traditional guidelines state that beef cooked very rare, rare, or medium rare should have an internal temperature ranging between 115ºF to 140°F. With increased concern over bacteria that may be present in the internal portions of beef , it is now recommended that whole beef cuts be cooked to an internal temperature of not less than 145°F.

Steps for Producing a Medium Rare Tenderloin Roast

* If you purchase a whole tenderloin that has not been trimmed, make sure that you trim off the fat layers and silverskin before the meat is roasted.
* Preheat the oven to 425°F. Season the tenderloin with a liberal quantity of salt and pepper.
* Tie the roast with pieces of twine at 1½ to 2 inch intervals after folding the narrow end of the tenderloin under the roast.
* Place the meat into a roasting pan and pop it into the oven.
* Cook the roast for about 10 to 15 minutes and then turn it over in the pan. Continue to cook it for another 10 to 15 minutes for every pound.
* Remove the tenderloin from the oven when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 140°F as indicated on a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast.
* Tent the roast with aluminum foil and let it to stand for 20 minutes. This will allow the juices to be redistributed throughout the tenderloin, which makes the carving process easier. The meat will be much more tender than meat that is served as soon as it is pulled from the oven.
* The roast will continue to cook as it rests and the internal temperature will rise 5°F to 10°F, reaching 145°F to 150ºF. The roast may be carved into thick slices after the appropriate resting period. If you plan on serving a sauce made from the pan drippings, it can be prepared while the tenderloin is resting.

Sauteing Beef

Sautéing is a cooking process using high heat that quickly browns and sears beef in a small quantity of oil in a skillet. It is actually the same process as searing except that sautéing completely cooks the meat and searing is simply a means to brown the meat so that the cooking process can be completed with another method. Sautéing is best suited to thin, tender cuts of beef that cook quickly such as thinly sliced tenderloin steaks or cuts that have been pounded and tenderized.

Sautéing requires high heat, so it is best to use an oil that will not burn or smoke at high temperatures such as olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Butter can be used, but it burns easily with high heat, so it is best to use it in combination with a bit of oil.
The beef cuts used for sautéing should not be more than ½ inch thick. The meat should be patted with paper towels in order to remove excess moisture, which helps the meat brown more quickly.
The beef can be seasoned in any way that is desired before it is placed in the pan.

In order to sauté beef properly, the skillet must be preheated on the stove before adding any oil. Medium-high heat is sufficient to warm the pan to the proper temperature. If the heat is too high, the oil will begin to smoke shortly after it is poured into the pan.

Pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil into the heated skillet. (Do not place the meat into the pan if the pan and oil are not heated. This causes the meat to absorb the oil and stick to the pan. Always preheat the skillet first.) A nonstick pan or a well-seasoned iron skillet may not require as much oil.

The oil should sizzle when the beef hits the pan. If it doesn’t sizzle, the pan and oil are not hot enough.
A tongs or spatula should be used to turn the meat once in the pan. Never use a fork because piercing the meat with a fork may allow juices to escape which will decrease the tenderness and flavor of the finished dish. The meat should take no more than 2 to 3 minutes to cook per side.

Sautéed beef is often served with a sauce made from the pan drippings. In order to make a sauce, the meat is removed from the pan and is covered to keep it warm.

A small amount of liquid, such as broth, stock, juice, or wine is added to the pan in order to loosen the flavorful caramelized bits that have stuck to the pan during cooking. This is known as deglazing.

After the liquid has reduced by about half, other herbs and spices are added, depending on the type of sauce desired.

Some sauces require that cream or butter be added in order to create a smoother flavor and texture.

Most sauces require only 2 or 3 minutes to complete and are served with the sautéed beef immediately so that the optimum flavor of the beef and sauce can be enjoyed.

Pan-Frying Beef

Pan-frying is similar to sautéing except that a little more oil is used, the cuts of beef do not have to be thin, and the cooking process may require more time. Like sautéing, high heat is used to sear the meat, creating a flavorful browned crust. The meat is patted with paper towels to remove excess moisture, seasoning is added, and then it is placed into a hot skillet containing heated oil. The oil should sizzle when the meat hits the pan: if it doesn’t sizzle, it is an indication that the pan and oil are not hot enough.

The skillet should have a heavy bottom so that heat will be conducted more easily. A large, well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet works well or a heavy nonstick pan may be used. Make sure the pan is of adequate size so that there is plenty of room for the meat to brown. If the pan is crowded, the meat will steam more than it will brown. Do not use a fork to turn the beef in the pan because piercing the meat will allow juices to escape. A tongs or spatula are the best instruments to use.

Beefsteaks up to an inch thick are good candidates for pan-frying. The goal is to produce meat that has a brown, crispy surface with tender, juicy, and flavorful meat inside. Steaks may be fried to any degree of doneness that is desired, but the internal temperature should reach 145°F to ensure that harmful bacteria have been destroyed. A meat thermometer can be used to check the internal temperature. A thick steak that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 140°F or so, may be removed from the pan, covered, and allowed to rest for a few minutes. The temperature will continue to rise about 5°F, reaching the proper doneness. This also allows the remaining meat juices to settle resulting in tender, flavorful steak.

Deep-Frying Beef

Deep-frying, also known as deep-fat frying, is a process of immersing food in a deep pot containing heated oil, which cooks the food quickly, producing a crispy surface over a tender and moist interior. When deep-frying beef, it is best to use smaller pieces of beef such as strips or cubes rather than whole cuts for ease in handling and better results. Large beef cuts are difficult to handle, which increases safety concerns when cooking with hot oil. Beef chunks can be covered with a seasoned crumb coating, a dry rub, or cooked as is.
Any cooking oil can be used for deep-frying as long as it does not smoke or burn at temperatures that may reach as high as 375°F. Oil low in saturated fat is best to use because the beef will absorb a small quantity of oil while it cooks.
A temperature between 350°F and 375°F is an ideal range for deep-frying. The correct temperature can be determined with the use of a candy thermometer.

Another method that can be used is to place a cube of bread into the oil and if it browns in 45 to 50 seconds, the oil is at the correct temperature.

Beef can be breaded and seasoned while the oil is heating. The beef should be as dry as possible before it enters the hot oil. After the beef enters the hot oil, the temperature of the oil may drop slightly, so it may be necessary to increase the heat for a short time to return the oil to the proper temperature.

Deep-frying is a safe process for cooking beef if the proper equipment is used and common safety rules are followed:

* A wire basket may be used to hold the beef so that it can be safely lowered and raised in the hot oil.
* Any utensils and equipment that come into contact with the hot oil must be thoroughly dried first. Moisture on the utensils will cause splattering, which can be dangerous.
* The hot oil should not be left unattended and children and pets should NEVER be allowed near the cooking area.
* A fire extinguisher and heavy potholders should always be within reach.
* After the cooking is completed, the oil should not be transferred to another container or disposed of until it has completely cooled. It is extremely dangerous to pour the hot oil from the cooking vessel.


Stir-Frying Beef

The stir-frying process requires high heat and the tossing and stirring of ingredients in a large pan to ensure quick and even cooking. A wok is the traditional type of pan to use for stir-frying because it has deep tapered sides which allows food to be stirred and tossed easily. If a wok is not available, a deep heavy skillet works very well for stir-frying and nonstick pans are also easy to use. Wood or metal utensils should be used to stir the food. Plastic utensils should be avoided because they can melt.

All of the ingredients must be prepared and within reach before the stir-fry process can begin. All vegetables should be chopped and ready to go. Precut vegetables can be purchased in most food stores, but they are more expensive. Herbs and spices and any liquid ingredients should be measured before beginning. It is helpful to place the ingredients in small bowls so that everything is organized.

The beef for stir-fry recipes should be cut into small strips and should have very little fat. The small strips will ensure that the meat will cook thoroughly, even when it is only cooked for a short time. Use sirloin strips, top loin, tri-tip, and rib-eye for stir-fry recipes. Tougher cuts can also be used and are especially good if they are marinated first in order to tenderize them. Cutting the meat into small strips also makes a tougher cut seem a bit more tender. It is important to slice the beef across the grain so that the meat fibers are short, which will make the meat less chewy.

Make sure to add the proper quantity of oil to the pan. Only 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil per pound of ingredients is required. An oil with a high smoke point should be used so that it will not burn at high temperatures.

It is important to add different ingredients to the pan at the appropriate times to ensure that all the ingredients are cooked properly. Some of the vegetables may require a longer cooking time than the beef strips so they should be added to the pan first. If everything is placed in the pan at the same time, the results will be unsatisfactory. The ingredients should be cooked until tender, but they should never be overcooked or the beef will toughen and the remaining ingredients will become limp and soggy.

Poaching Beef

The poaching process cooks beef with the use of simmering liquid in a covered pan. The liquid is brought to a boil, the beef is placed in the boiling liquid, the heat is reduced so that the liquid is at a gentle simmer, and the pan is covered. When the beef is thoroughly cooked, the poaching liquid can be skimmed to eliminate fat and impurities. Thinly sliced beef may take only a few minutes to cook or it may require a half hour or longer depending on the size of the cut.

Poaching differs from boiling in which food is vigorously cooked for the duration of the cooking time. Boiling can toughen beef and poaching allows the beef to retain its tenderness, moisture, and flavor.

When poaching beef, it is important to use small cuts such as slices of steaks or roasts so that the gentle heat of the poaching process will cook the meat thoroughly. It is important that the meat be totally covered with the poaching liquid in order to achieve the proper results. Water is often used as the poaching liquid, but other ingredients can be added to the water to provide additional flavor to the beef. Chopped aromatic vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery can be added to the water as well as herbs and spices. When the poaching process is completed, the liquid and vegetables can be used as a broth or it can be strained and reduced and used as a base for a sauce that can be served with the poached beef.

Poaching is a healthy cooking method because no additional fat is required for cooking the beef. The poached beef can be eaten as part of a main meal or it can be cooled and used as an ingredient for various salads, sandwiches, or entrees.

Braising Beef

Braising is a process of slow cooking tougher cuts of meat in liquid in order to add flavor and to moisten and tenderize the meat. This technique is also known as pot-roasting. In a beef cut such as a chuck roast, there is a pattern of connective tissues and thick marbling that makes the meat tough if it is not cooked with a method that melts these tissues. Dry heat-cooking methods, such as oven roasting, do not allow the internal temperature of the meat to become high enough to break down the fat and connective tissues. If the roast is left in the oven long enough to break down the tough tissues, then the outer portions of the meat become overcooked, dry, and tough.

Braising/pot-roasting is a much more effective means for breaking down the tough fibers than any dry heat cooking method. The internal temperature of the meat reaches a level that is sufficiently high to melt the connective tissues and fat. The moisture in the pan prevents the outer portions of the meat from drying out.

The beef cuts that benefit the most from braising/pot-roasting are tougher cuts from the round, flank, plate, and chuck. Tender cuts from the loin and rib should be reserved for dry heat cooking methods. The chuck cuts are usually preferred for braising/pot roasting because of their flavor and because of the amount of marbling in the meat that melts during the cooking process, basting the meat with moisture. Among the chuck cuts that make excellent pot roasts are the chuck eye roast, the top blade chuck roast, and the seven bone roast which gets its name from the prominent bone in the roast that is shaped like a “7”.

The following steps may be used to prepare a simple pot-roast:
Pour a small amount of oil into a heated pan or pot. The pan should be only slightly larger than the cut of beef so that only a small quantity of liquid will be required for braising.
Sear the meat on all sides.
After the meat has browned, remove it from the pan and pour off most of the fat.
Add aromatic vegetables to the pan, such as onions, carrots, garlic, and celery. Sauté the vegetables for 1 or 2 minutes.
Return the meat to the pan and add liquid to a level of about half way up the meat. If the liquid completely covers the meat, it is considered stewing rather than braising. The liquids that are most often used include water, stock, juice, beer, or wine.
Seasonings are added to the pan.
The beef can be braised on the stovetop or in the oven. If it is cooked on the stove, the liquid should be brought to a boil and then the heat should be reduced to a simmer before the pan is covered. If the meat is to be braised in the oven, the meat should be cooked in a covered ovenproof pan and the oven temperature should be set at 325°F to 350°F. In both cases, the meat is allowed to cook until it is fork tender.
When the beef is fully cooked, remove it from the pan using a tongs. Cover the meat to keep it warm while the sauce is being prepared.
The liquid in the pan can be strained, returned to the pan, and then reduced into a sauce. The sauce may also be prepared without straining the liquid, but as much fat as possible should be skimmed from the surface.
The liquid is brought to a boil, which will reduce and thicken it. Cornstarch or flour may be added if the liquid does not become thick enough.
Further seasoning may be added to complete the sauce.
The sauce is used as an accompaniment for the braised beef.
Beef that has been braised is always cooked until it is well done because moist heat cooking methods permeate the meat with hot liquid and high temperatures, making the meat tender and flavorful. However, braised dishes like pot roast can be overcooked in spite of the moist heat cooking method. Pot roast that is cooked too long will fall apart and begin to lose moisture and tenderness.

Stewing Beef

Stewing is a moist heat cooking process much like braising except that the meat is totally immersed in liquid rather than being only partially immersed as it is with braising. Another difference is that the meat used for stewing is usually cut into smaller pieces rather than being left as one large piece. Many of the same cuts that are suitable for braising are ideal as stew meat. Beef cuts from the round, flank, and plate are often used and in addition, meat from the shank, which is very tough, is best when it is cooked in stews.

Beef stew is a dish that is often prepared with tougher cuts of beef that have been cut into small pieces. The chunks of beef are browned on all sides in a large pot using a small amount of oil. After the meat is browned, it is removed from the pan and chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, celery and potatoes are added and quickly seared. Some recipes call for chopped tomatoes to be added as well. Any vegetables that are not suitable for a long cooking time should not be added until the last 20 to 40 minutes of the cooking process. Herbs and spices are added and a generous quantity of water. The browned pieces of beef are returned to the pan. After the liquid has been brought to a boil, the heat is turned down and the pan is covered. As the ingredients slowly cook, the liquid becomes thicker and very flavorful from the combination of the various ingredients. Fat and impurities are skimmed from the surface periodically during the cooking process to ensure that the stew is not too high in it’s fat content and to provide for better flavor.
Note: If beef stew is a bit too salty, an easy remedy is to add a few more pieces of chopped potato or tomato to help soak up some of the saltiness.

Steaming Beef

Like braising and stewing, steaming is a moist heat cooking method that results in tender and flavorful beef through the use of steam. Unlike braising and stewing, the meat is not actually placed in water, but is suspended above it. The meat is placed on a rack which is placed inside a pan of boiling water. The rack allows the beef to be suspended above the water level. Special baskets are also available which fit within a saucepan. The cooking process is the same with both types of equipment: as the water boils, the steam rises and surrounds the meat with heat and moisture, cooking the meat until it is tender.

Although steaming is more often used as a cooking method for fish, chicken, or pork, it is occasionally used as a method to cook beef. It is one of the most healthy cooking methods because no additional fat is necessary to cook the meat. The meat retains most of the beneficial nutrients because they do not leach out as is the case when meat is placed directly in water. Steaming is often used for various Asian recipes.

Microwaving Beef

One of the quickest and most convenient methods for cooking beef is with the use of a microwave oven. Although the flavor and tenderness of the beef may not be as pronounced as with other cooking methods, the overall results can be very good if the meat is microwaved properly. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions because of the differences in various models of microwave ovens. The size and wattage of the microwave makes a difference in the cooking time.
The best results occur when cooking smaller, thinner cuts of beef.
The meat should be placed on a microwave-safe dish or container.
A low to medium setting should be used to cook the meat. This will cook the beef more evenly and the surface will not become tough and overcooked before the interior of the meat has cooked thoroughly. A high setting should never be used when microwaving a cut of beef.
The microwaved beef should be somewhat tender and flavorful, but it will not be as browned and appealing as beef cooked with conventional methods. Beef that is tough and dry indicates that it was microwaved too long and/or the microwave setting was too high.
Thicker cuts do not cook as well as thinner cuts because the surface usually becomes very tough long before the interior has cooked properly. A lower microwave setting may help to reduce this problem. In most cases, the thicker the cut, the lower the setting should be. Removing any bones from a thick beef cut will also help the meat to cook more evenly.

Beef Doneness

General Guidelines

Even though harmful bacteria are usually only on the surface of whole beef cuts, there is growing concern that bacteria may be present in the internal portions of the meat as well, which is why it is now recommended that whole beef cuts be cooked to an internal temperature of not less than 145°F. Traditional guidelines for doneness state that beef cooked very rare, rare, or medium-rare should have an internal temperature ranging between 115ºF to 140°F. Many people prefer beef cooked rare (especially steak), but this decision is up to the consumer and is certainly not recommended by the USDA.

It is important to remember that after a cut of beef is removed from the heat source, the internal temperature will continue to rise. Although thin beef cuts, such as steaks, are usually served within a short time after removal from a grill or broiler oven, thicker cuts, such as roasts, benefit from a “resting” period before slicing and serving. The resting period, which may range between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the beef cut, allows the juices to redistribute and allows the internal temperature to rise because of residual heat. The internal temperature will increase 5º to 10ºF during the resting period, which allows the beef cut to be removed from the heat source when the internal temperature is lower than the desired doneness. A meat thermometer should be used to check the internal temperature of the meat to ensure proper doneness.

Whole beef cuts usually have bacteria only on the surface, but it is possible for harmful bacteria to be present in the internal portions, so cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 145°F is sufficient to kill the bacteria. (The surface of the meat will be at a much higher temperature; usually 160°F or above).

Bacteria such as E. Coli may be present on any cut of beef, but it is most common on ground beef because the grinding process may distribute the bacteria throughout the meat. Ground beef must be cooked until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 160°F to ensure that dangerous bacteria are destroyed.

Ground beef dishes such as meatloaf should be checked for doneness with a meat thermometer. This is especially important when the meat has been blended with dark sauces that can mask the color of the meat, making it difficult to determine if any pink color remains, which would indicate that the ground beef is not fully cooked.

Degree of Doneness

The following descriptions for doneness are demonstrated with a grilled beefsteak shown at varying stages of doneness. The same criteria for color, texture, juiciness, and internal temperature can be applied to beef cooked with other methods such as broiling, pan-frying, or roasting. The best method for determining the desired doneness is with the use of a meat thermometer.

Very Rare

Beef that is cooked very rare is placed on a hot grill for a few seconds, turned, cooked on the other side for a few additional seconds, and then removed from the grill. The process basically warms the meat. The meat will be soft and very juicy. The color of the center will be blood-red and the color will become bright pink toward the surface. The short cooking time results in a steak that is barely seared, but it will have light grill marks on the surface. Note: It may be risky to consume beef that is minimally cooked.

Internal Temperature
(after resting period)
of Beef Cooked Very Rare

Traditional Guidelines:

115ºF - 125ºF

Updated Guidelines:

Not Recommended


The color of beef cooked rare is red in the center and gradually becomes pink away from the center. The meat is cooked very quickly. When grilled, the surface of the meat becomes a bit gray and has noticeable grill marks. The meat is juicy and tender. Note: It may be risky to consume beef that is minimally cooked.

Internal Temperature
(after resting period)
of Beef Cooked Rare

Traditional Guidelines:

125ºF - 130ºF

Updated Guidelines:

Not Recommended


The color of medium-rare beef is mostly pink from the center outward with no blood-red areas and is gray-brown on the surface. The meat is tender, juicy, and flavorful. Because of the increased concern with harmful bacteria that may be present in beef, medium-rare (145ºF on a meat thermometer, using updated guidelines) is the minimum degree of doneness that is recommended.

Internal Temperature
(after resting period)
of Beef Cooked Medium-Rare

Traditional Guidelines:

130ºF - 140ºF

Updated Guidelines:

145°F - 150ºF


Medium doneness refers to beef that is a bit pink in the center and gradually becomes gray-brown toward the surface of the meat. When beef is grilled to medium doneness, the surface is nicely seared. The texture is firm, but the meat is still s