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What's the Difference Between Rare, Medium, and Well Done Steak?

Updated on June 20, 2017

What Are the Levels of Steak Doneness?

  • Well done: Grayish-brown with no sign of pink. It's usually slightly charred on the outside. Cooking a good steak to this level of doneness is a challenge. It has to be done slowly on low heat, or else you end up with shoe leather.
  • Medium well: Mostly gray-brown throughout, but with a hint of pale pink inside. Good for someone who wants an ever-so-slightly juicy steak, but detests any sign of "blood" in their meat.
  • Medium: A more pronounced band of pink in the middle of the steak. However, there should still be slightly more gray-brown than pink coloration.
  • Medium rare: Warm and has a mostly pink-to-red center. Firm on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside.
  • Rare: Cool or warm red center. It's nearly like raw meat, but obviously cooked on the outside.
  • Very rare or blue: Red, cool, and practically raw. It's barely cooked for the true carnivores amongst us.
  • Raw: I think this one is self-explanatory. Die-hard carnivores can go for this.

Isn't Eating Undercooked Meat Dangerous?

When it comes to things like chicken, pork, and ground beef, yes, definitely! But the risk for steak is different. If a cut of steak is going to have any bacteria, it's just about always going to be on the outside. Steak doesn't contain the parasites that plague chickens and pigs. However, the outside should be cooked and handled with clean instruments.

Ground beef, on the other hand, is going to have bacteria spread throughout. You are more likely to get E. Coli by eating undercooked ground beef. Go for a well-done hamburger.

Our biggest worry with chicken meat is salmonella. It's very common for chickens to carry salmonella, which permeates its flesh. The only way to kill the salmonella is to thoroughly cook the chicken meat.

Undercooked pork is potentially even worse than undercooked chicken. There's a risk of developing trichinosis as a result of eating undercooked pork... if the pig was infected the larvae of a trichina worm.

But I Don't Want My Steak to Bleed!

People who love rare steak usually fend off this objection with, "It's not blood, it's MEAT JUICE!" (Or they just grin carnivorously and say that the "blood" is the best part.)

The squeamish people scoff and throw up a wall of skepticism. "Yeah, right. So what exactly IS meat juice, anyway?"

That "meat juice" is mostly water, fat and myoglobin. Did you know the real reason raw meat looks so red is because of myoglobin protein in the muscles? Contrary to popular belief, it's not because of the hemoglobin found in blood.

A quality steak that's been properly drained and cleaned should contain hardly any blood at all, even when it's served rare.

To Be More Specific...

How would you like your steak?

See results

How Cooked Do You Like Your Steak?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I think I hear the cows in the barn hollering "Eat Chicken"! LOL - Kathy

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 9 years ago

      Well done is for shoe soles. Rare is the way to go. (I think I hear PrettyBullet's cows talking too though...)

    • profile image

      Donna_Fallon 9 years ago

      Hiya,

      Fab Lens,5 stars!,Have a look at how to lose belly fat .

      Donna :0)

      Take a look and

      Join my fan club

    • profile image

      ElenaFraga 9 years ago

      Medium to medium rare.... Yuuuumiiii!! The pinkier the better. Life is too short. We might as well enjoy it while we live it!!! . We eat all the rare meat we want and enjoy...

      In fact, This lens opened my apetite.. I'll order Medium Prime Rib tonight

      I wish there was a Lawrys around Miami...

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 9 years ago

      Great topic! Personally I like it with lots of blood!

      ~Jane

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      You're making me hungry! I haven't had dinner yet.

      5 stars

      Lizzy

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      Great debate, people feel strongly about this sometimes!

    • profile image

      fireheart 9 years ago

      medium rare with emphasis on the rare. my brother-in-law and stepson like their steak well done. I think I'll take ach22687's advice and start serving them beef jerky rather spending good money on steak to ruin for them.

    • profile image

      meatman 8 years ago

      Check out da meatman at www.MeatmanSteaks.com!

    • profile image

      rockycha 8 years ago

      Great topic, high fives, love the debate, and lensrolled to my gourmet steaks. :)

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      I pretty much like my beef medium rare to medium. I have some friends though that like everything almost to the point of being charred or burned, but I simply can't see myself eating a piece of seasoned rubber.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I'll have what papawu's having...

    • italianheart92 lm profile image

      italianheart92 lm 8 years ago

      Love this lens awesome job! :)

    • profile image

      how-to-cook-eggs 7 years ago

      very interesting and helpful thanx. 5

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      I like my steak a little between medium and well-done. I also think this is a well-done lens, packed with information, with a lot of interaction going on! *blessed*

    • profile image

      MartinPrestovic 7 years ago

      Very good lens! Thought I'd post a comment to have my say. I love my steak well done. Tender, juicy, really tasty... lip-smacking goodness you can only find in quality meat that's cooked just right, not too raw, not too charred. I am saving you to my favorite list!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      Interesting read - medium well on my steak btw!

      This great food debate has been added to www.foodloversweb.com! Come join in on the food fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice lens i prefer mine still making a noise as do my dogs

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

      Medium rare for me. My dad likes it "black and blue" (practically still mooing). His dad liked it "cremated." Go figure.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Well done for me please. I do not like is the corpse on the plate. Nice

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for the great steak cooking info. My husband loves steak and now maybe I can cook it just right for him ;)

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Great lens and subject.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love a good steak from the grill, medium rare at most to retain the flavor and juices.

    • profile image

      southcarolinaweb 6 years ago

      I like steak.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      your making me want a steak now!...great lens

    • Mrmakingusmile LM profile image

      Mrmakingusmile LM 6 years ago

      Serve it up now! Thanks for making me smile.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens! Thanks for making my hungry! I've liked, thumbs-upped, favorited, and lensrolled your masterpiece! Congrats on a great job!

    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 6 years ago

      I like steak, medium one...

    • george185 lm profile image

      george185 lm 6 years ago

      I'm boring, I'll have to go with medium

    • profile image

      ratetea 6 years ago

      I love the taste of raw beef, but I rarely eat beef, except in Pho. And then, it's not normal steak, it's all the tough cuts of beef that I like: brisket, flank, tendon, and tripe. Sounds gross, I know, but it really hits the spot. And as much as I like steak rare, if you're eating something like fatty flank, it's gotta be thoroughly cooked or it can come out pretty inedible. But in Pho, fatty flank is about as good as it gets! Sooooo tasty!

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 6 years ago

      I'll have to go with well done.

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 6 years ago

      I am vegggie food lover.. Thanks for sharing nice Stuff here!!

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 6 years ago

      I am vegggie food lover.. Thanks for sharing nice Stuff here!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Can't go wrong with a nice piece of tender steak

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Steak is one of them things you can't go cheap on!

    • QuinnWolf LM profile image

      QuinnWolf LM 6 years ago

      When I was a kid I like my steak well done. It's funny, as I've gotten older I like it more and more rare to the point that I now order it as medium. Next thing you know, I'll be eating it raw.

    • profile image

      BellParc 6 years ago

      Thanks for the lens! I always do medium-rare (which is what I have in my lens) but you can adapt it so easily! Love that you're promoting different cooking styles!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      I'm very partial to my steak mooing just a little bit when I eat it - too rare and I feel that it doesn't have quite as much flavor and a less appealing texture.

    • WorldVisionary3 profile image

      WorldVisionary3 6 years ago

      Nice lens, even though I don't eat red meat!

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love a good steak. It's usually medium rare for me.

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 6 years ago

      I never ever had a steak and can't even imagine what it must taste like to have it raw. But each to their own.

    • seanjennin profile image

      seanjennin 6 years ago

      I think I made a mistake,... Did you say "Steak"?

    • rangiiria profile image

      rangiiria 6 years ago

      I like my steak medium rare. In some countries they feed them grain. The flavour is ... different.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Medium well to well. More well.

    • profile image

      treasuretops 6 years ago

      Medium Rare every time, great lens. Thanks for info.

    • profile image

      noland1977 6 years ago

      Medium rare for me. If not, I'll send it back. While I do enjoy it lightly salted with salt and pepper, I find the best flavor is enjoyed in the purity of as is.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Chicago area

      Great steaks just need a bit of salt and pepper. But I've had lots of good preparations over the years. Can't have steak every week, but it's a treat when we do!

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 5 years ago

      great info. Thanks

    • profile image

      dannystaple 5 years ago

      I love it peppered, served with big chunky skin-on chips, and my wife's sautéed fine beans. Anyway - I thought this was fun. I'm sure you are enjoying the Squid HQ limelight too!

    • profile image

      TopTenLists 5 years ago

      Beef is good ... Ostrich is even better!

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Nice, informative lens. Thanks

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I like mine plain, but, I also like adding Wild Mushroom powder. That is good, too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice one - a lot of people like it anyway.

    • HeatherTodd1 profile image

      HeatherTodd1 5 years ago

      Great post..Thanks for the great post..Nice

    • rosytaylor profile image

      rosytaylor 5 years ago

      Hi! This is an amazing and Awesome lens and very informative too. Thanks for sharing such a nice lens. Nicely done, Keep up your great work!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

      Thanks for lots of tips and info!

    • profile image

      unqedomain 5 years ago

      Thank you for the guide I really appreciate it!!!

    • CarynJSwift56889 profile image

      CarynJSwift56889 5 years ago

      prefer well done steaks~

    • Surferstorm profile image

      Surferstorm 5 years ago

      Medium rare definitely not to red and not to chewy perfect :D

    • Surferstorm profile image

      Surferstorm 5 years ago

      Medium rare definitely not to red and not to chewy perfect :D

    • Morgannafay profile image

      Morgannafay 5 years ago

      The information about steaks are spot on too. I've always read that the meat cooked on the outside kills any cooties on the steak, and that eating it rare perfectly safe.

    • worldrevivalnet profile image

      worldrevivalnet 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • profile image

      Bronnze 5 years ago

      Informative and very helpful, good lens.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 5 years ago

      Very fun lens. :)

    • NightSquid LM profile image

      NightSquid LM 5 years ago

      I love a good steak don't forget a pat of butter and let it rest 10 minutes or so.

    • IvoryPearl profile image

      IvoryPearl 5 years ago

      Due to the drought in Texas, cows are dying. Enjoy your steak while you can without having to re-mortgage your house.

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 5 years ago

      Steak is great once in a while. Nice lens!

    • AvidArchie profile image

      AvidArchie 5 years ago

      I think you wrote this specifically for me! Great lens and Go Medium Rare!

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 5 years ago

      interesting lens ...great job done!!!

    • feliciasfavs profile image

      feliciasfavs 5 years ago

      cool debate lens. I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      RedHotDesign 5 years ago

      Great lens! Very interesting indeed! Thanks for sharing!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      Seasonings? A little Lea & Perrins, please.

    • AnnsHomeDecor profile image

      AnnsHomeDecor 5 years ago

      Cool Lens. Now I want steak for dinner.

    • sq1234 profile image

      sq1234 5 years ago

      nice one!

    • profile image

      fanmail 5 years ago

      This lens is informative and entertaining at the same time.

    • lucy439br profile image

      lucy439br 5 years ago

      Love it!

    • profile image

      omgursostupid 5 years ago

      mmmmmmmmmmmmm................tasty tasty murder ;)

    • cheech1981 profile image

      cheech1981 5 years ago

      i did a semester of culinary school and we had to try completely raw beef...it actually wasn't that bad...we put olive oil on top...i think it is served in some italian restaurants that way. anyway it's not much different than eating sushi...i like my steaks rare and medium rare though so perhaps that's why i didn't mind it. :)

    • profile image

      crudeoilsystems 5 years ago

      I prefer well done, is safe for me I suppose, but this is a good lens, thanks!!

    • LTPParents profile image

      Tracy Gibb 5 years ago

      I'm so hungry right now! I almost licked my computer screen because these steaks look so good!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Go vegetarian and so NOOOOO to steak!!!

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, lots of great links. Well done (the lens, not the steak...no pun intended, really...).

      Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • christopherwell profile image

      christopherwell 5 years ago

      Steak! Especially slathered with Heinz 57 or A1.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 5 years ago

      good information!

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 5 years ago

      good information!

    • profile image

      WeekendGriller 5 years ago

      Good information.

      People who eat (suffer through) well-done steak are the same ones who drink lite beer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks, great steak lens.

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 5 years ago

      Good lens, lots of information

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      I like mine medium rare

    • ApplianceRepairsB profile image

      ApplianceRepairsB 5 years ago

      medium rare please!

    • profile image

      luvhammers 5 years ago

      medium to well done for me!

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      Return Visitor. I like it here.

    • totorotube profile image

      totorotube 5 years ago

      Medium rare is the best xD

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens. Happy New Year!

    • benny77 profile image

      benny77 5 years ago

      Fun Lens. Thanks

    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 5 years ago

      Have you used the trick using the muscle between your thumb and pointer finger to familiarize yourself with the feel of doneness of steak? It works quite well..

    • profile image

      esperso1136  5 years ago

      I have appreciate with getting lot of good and reliable, legislative information with your post.......

      Thanks for sharing such kind of nice and wonderful collection......

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    • profile image

      pattywatty8 5 years ago

      this lens was great

    • profile image

      pattywatty8 5 years ago

      this lens was great

    • profile image

      duncan73 5 years ago

      very cool lens!

    • profile image

      River_Rose 5 years ago

      I like sea salt and black pepper, that's it!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Cream sauce:-)

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Normally I like it Medium Rare blackened, but if I want to get fancy and pull out my chef skills I like my steak prepared to a demi-gloss.

    • profile image

      phpdeveloperindia 5 years ago

      Cream Souce

    • profile image

      phpdeveloperindia 5 years ago

      Cream Sauce

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      I am a big fan of Montreal seasoning on my steak.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Nicely informative lens.

    • GOT LM profile image

      GOT LM 5 years ago

      Nice work.

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I learned a lot and thanks for the information!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Hahahaha! Great and FUNNY Lens!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Hahahaha! Great and FUNNY Lens!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Excellent and yummy lens - now I want a steak dinner!

    • tyrosine profile image

      tyrosine 5 years ago

      medium rare is the best for me! :) never fail!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Can't wait to show the significant other that it's really not blood on my plate!

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      Nice Lens, i have try well done steak that is juicy. It all depends on the skillful chef who makes it, a bad one can give you well done steak that's not juicy.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      My husband and I were eating in a restaurant once and after he bit into his steak he said, "Now I see why they don't like for people to order anything well done here. It's because they don't know how to cook it well done without burning it."

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      Awesome lens. I always wondered if eating rare steak was bad for you. Great info! I like mine well done. =)

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I like rare to medium. In France this is pretty red in the centre but in the UK it comes barely pink.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      just salt and pepper will do!

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 5 years ago from Washington State

      Chicago Blue for me - Grill-seared outside and rare in the middle.

    • Rumisglass profile image

      Rumisglass 5 years ago

      All spice all the way!

    • profile image

      bill-beaman2 5 years ago

      just salt and pepper is all I need.

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      Another great lens. Many thanks for all the great insight!

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      tasty lenses make me hungry!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hungry now, yeesh.

    • CCTVwebmaster profile image

      CCTVwebmaster 5 years ago

      Wow, your lens made me really hungry! Must have steak tonight I think!

    • profile image

      Edwinrocks 5 years ago

      yummm.....

    • profile image

      MichaelRagan 5 years ago

      great lense. you should check out minehttp://www.squidoo.com/workshop/steaks2?notice=add...

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Medium for me thanks.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      For steak I like medium-rare, but I do love a good carpaccio or steak tartar, which are both as raw as you get! Depending on the country I order different things to get my medium rare. In France its medium rare, in England its rare, and here in Montreal it's whatever the chef thinks is best for the cut!

    • profile image

      CristianStan 4 years ago

      I like my steak done medium well. No blood and no charred meat. Just perfect, the way it should be. I think that everyone should have their steak this way.

    • OCDiscusFish profile image

      OCDiscusFish 4 years ago

      i love steak, please check us out new to squidoo. The healthy Energy drink!!

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

      Love a good steak - Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 4 years ago

      Thanks for an easy to understand explanation. More people need to read this so they can order what they really want!

    • profile image

      garyhennesrealtors 4 years ago

      good lens.

    • profile image

      clayva 4 years ago

      Love the Tshirts!

    • KanesCanines profile image

      KanesCanines 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 4 years ago

      Something you haven't talked about here is the difference in how the cows are raised. I live in Pennsylvania and often buy from the butcher who just purchased from the farmer. The cows are pasture raised. And the meat is tasty and good! Not that long ago I was in a hurry and picked up a steak at the local supermarket. It was bland and tasteless, and most likely raised in a factory/feedlot farm. I won't do that again! Especially since the local meat is roughly comparable in price!

    • KhairuZiya profile image

      KhairuZiya 4 years ago

      nice share, thank's

    • profile image

      clerk1993 4 years ago

      steak is my favorite. well i would say medium is the best the steak.

    • profile image

      kgdunst 4 years ago

      I miss Danny Crane after reading this lens.. oh

    • profile image

      games_rush 4 years ago

      Hmm...I love steak...:)

    • profile image

      games_rush 4 years ago

      Hmm...I love steak...:)

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 4 years ago

      All the family love a medium steak.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thanks for sharing

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      Nice lens. My steak is always medium-rare. Having it overdone and tough doesn't work for me. Neither does having it cold and looking like a good veterinarian could resurrect it.

    • kavalonthatsme profile image

      kavalonthatsme 4 years ago

      Now I am hungry, great lens.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Heinz 57, some sliced jalapenos and a well-done slab of beef sounds really good right now.

    • CynergySoftware profile image

      CynergySoftware 4 years ago

      I say burn the steak. Don't want to see any red!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I'mso so hungry now!

    • petertraoassi2 profile image

      petertraoassi2 4 years ago

      I like to make mine medium at home and well in a restaurant!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love streaks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love streaks

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      I do not like to see blood coming out of my steak, but I do not want a burnt hard steak. Medium to medium rare is the way I love my steak.

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      I like blue cheese crust on top of my steak!

    • garagerob profile image

      garagerob 4 years ago

      I love steaks so much and I like mine to be medium rare.. Great lens!

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 3 years ago

      I love steaks of any toppings

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I like my steaks between medium and medium rear. It's hard to get it that way, even in a restaurant. Thanks for all the information, great hub.

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