All of the following tests will be compared to how parts of your hand feel in different positions. It is important that your hand be relaxed so you get a good idea of what the meat will feel like. Each example involves you using the index finger of your “poking” or “feeling” hand to press on the fleshy area between your thumb and base of your palm on the other hand (Look at the photos below if this sounds confusing). You will be comparing the feeling in this area of your palm with that of the center of the meat you’re cooking.                                                               

                                                            Raw                                                                                                                                                                       

Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat

 

To get a good indicator of what raw meat feels like, open the palm of your hand and relax it. Take the index finger of your other hand and push on the fleshy area between your thumb and base of your palm.

 

                                                            Rare                                                                                                                                                                                 

Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat

Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below your thumb should not be tough at all and should give when touched. Now, open up your palm again to compare how this compares to the Raw feeling.

 

                                                         Medium-Rare

Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat

Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below your thumb will be what it feels like when meat is Medium-Rare, which is more firm and less giving, but still spongy. 

 

                                                          Medium

Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat

Gently press the tip of your ring finger and the tip of your thumb together. The fleshy area beneath your thumb should still give a little but be getting more firm.

 

                                                                    Well-Done 

Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat

Gently press the tip of your pinky finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area beneath your thumb should feel pretty firm, yet springy.


Okay, now that you’re an expert for how to use these tests to check for doneness, keep in mind one thing: meat continues to cook even after it’s removed from the heat. So, if you’re wanting a steak cooked at medium-well, for example, you should remove the steak from the heat when it is about medium and let it rest for approximately 5-10 minutes. As the steak rests, it will continue to cook to medium-well.