We, as humans, are gifted with two beautiful thumbs, stabilized in oThere are five main degrees of steak doneness. Humans have five fingers on each hand. Coincidence? We think not.ur hand by muscles instead of ligaments, giving us opposability to help us perform everyday tasks. But now, ladies and gentleman, opposable thumbs are now more important than ever. These mobile metacarpi can do more than just help you to open doors and tie your shoes. A thumb can help you test the doneness of your steak.
Let’s talk various doneness levels of steak first: Rare denotes a red interior and a cool center. This steak is cooked to an internal temperature of about 125° F. Medium-Rare means a reddish-pink center, but the steak is warmed throughout. This steak is cooked to about 130° F. Medium, cooked to an internal temperature of 140° F, indicates a pink center. Medium-Well, cooked to about 150° F, will have just a small line of pink in the center. Well-Done (really?) means a steak cooked to 160° F or more, retaining no hint that it was once raw beef.
Now, if you are cooking at home and you don’t have a thermometer, how can you tell the doneness of your steak? It is not advisable that you take a knife and cut into the center of a piece of cooking meat to see, so what do you do? You can actually use the muscles at the base of your thumb to gauge how a steak is cooked.
To do this, hold your left hand out, palm up, and muscles relaxed. Take your right hand index finger and touch the lowest part of your thumb, the thick section on the lower left side of your palm (remember this is your left hand). It is soft, squishy even, and gives way easily to your touch. If your steak feels like this when you press on it with that same finger, it's rare.
For the feeling of a steak cooked medium-rare, bring your left-hand index finger pad and lightly touch the top of your thumb making a version of the “O.K.” hand sign. Now touch the thick section of your thumb again; the contracted muscles will make it feel slightly firmer, just like a medium-rare steak.
You can continue this way with the rest of your fingers. Bringing the top of your middle-finger pad to the top of your thumb will make the thumb muscles even tighter, making it feel like a steak cooked medium. Touching your ring finger to your thumb will give the impression of a medium-well steak, and finally the pinky to thumb combo will feel just like a steak cooked well-done.