well done... or maybe just medium?

The warm months are ahead of us right now... and what better way to celebrate than to start cooking outdoors on the grill. But getting the exact right 'doneness' on the grill is an absolute fine art.  Here are some great tips to help you conquer the art of grilling. 

When it comes to cooking meat, do you really know the difference between Well Done, Medium Well, Medium, Medium Rare and Rare? It all boils down to (or maybe I should say ‘cooks down to’) the temperature of cooked meat. No matter which ‘way’ you like your meat cooked, it is best to know the following tips when cooking.

The temperature of meat is a gauge of how thoroughly cooked a cut of meat is based on the color, juiciness and internal temperature when cooked. The gradations of cooking are most often used in reference to beef (especially steak and roasts) but are also applicable to lamb, pork, poultry, veal, and seafood (especially fish).
Gradations, their description, and the associated temperature ranges vary regionally from cuisine to cuisine and in local practice and terminology.

The table below is from a reference book and pertains to beef and lamb. In lieu of gradations and ranges, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends a temperature of at least 63°C (145°F) for beef, veal, lamb steaks and roasts in order to prevent food borne illness.
Temperatures for beef, veal, lamb steaks and roasts
Term (French)
Temperature range
USDA recommended
Extra-rare or Blue (bleu)
very red and cold
46–49 C

cold red center; soft

Medium rare
(à point)
warm red center; firmer
55–60 C

pink and firm
140–150 F
145°F and rest for at least 3 minutes
Medium well
small amount of pink in the center
65–69 C

Well done
(bien cuit)
gray-brown throughout; firm
71 C+
160°F for ground beef

The interior of a cut of meat will still increase in temperature 3–5°C (5–10°F) after it is removed from an oven or other heat source. The meat should be allowed to "rest" before being served, which allows for the juices in the center to return to the edges. The whole meat and the center will also continue to cook slightly as the hot exterior continues to warm the comparatively cooler interior. The exception is if the meat has been prepared in sous-vide process, as it will already be at temperature equilibrium. The temperatures indicated above are the peak temperature in the cooking process, so the meat should be removed from the heat source a few degrees cooler... got all that?

Ok, here's a truly easy tried and true test for checking the 'temperature' of your steak 
* published by Men's Health

Now who's ready to fire up that grill?