Perfectly grilled Sirloin Steak-Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera
How Well Does The Touch Test Work For Checking Meat Doneness?
By Elias Nash
The touch test is meant to provide an easy way for testing how well-done your meat is throughout the cooking process, but unfortunately, it’s hardly a reliable gauge.
The touch test is essentially a textural comparison between the different parts of your hand and the doneness of a steak. Research suggests it isn’t as useful of a test as we’ve thought.
This is due to the fact that the touch test relies on our subjective perception of textures, which is hardly a reliable way to determine the internal temperature of the meat.
In a 2015 study conducted in Melbourne, Australia, 26 amateur home cooks tried to determine the doneness of steaks using the touch method and they had an accuracy rate of 36%.
Consumer Reports conducted its own evaluation of the touch test in 2017 and found that it was inaccurate for every level of doneness, including 20 degrees too low for a rare steak.
Since undercooked meat is more likely to carry food-borne pathogens like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli, relying on the touch test could be really risky.
A meat thermometer is the only way to accurately gauge how done your meat is without cutting it open, which should only be done immediately before eating to preserve its juice.
For rare meat, shoot for 125 degrees Fahrenheit. For medium rare, medium, medium-well, and well-done, aim for 135 degrees, 145 degrees, 150 degrees, and 160 degrees, respectively.