While medium rare and medium well may seem like approximate terms for how a steak is cooked, they are actually very specific measurements. Meat doneness can be broken down into six specific levels, from rare to well done, and each is categorized by a strict range of temperatures. To cook a steak at home, adhering to a temperature guide will mean perfect doneness every time.
Color and firmness are sometimes used to gauge how cooked a piece of meat is, but visual and tactile cues can be deceiving. Watch this video for a breakdown of each level of doneness based on internal temperature, and be sure to have a meat thermometer at the ready the next time you tackle steak at home.
For more meat content from Eater, tune in to The Meat Show, hosted by professional carnivore Nick Solares.