Rare When you press, the meat feels very soft, almost raw. A firm press with a finger will leave a dent the FBI could work with, and will not spring back. Larger cuts are more difficult to judge, but the larger the piece of meat the more accurate given cooking times tend to be. Remember that resting meat for a few minutes after grilling is essential, and that the meat continues to cook during this period usually advancing one degree of doneness, from blue to rare for example.
Medium Here the meat has firmed up. Pressing with your freshly washed digit will still produce a dent, but this will probably bead with red juices and then spring back. The red juices look as though the meat is still raw – wrong – it is definitely now medium.
Well done Meat will be firm and hardly take a finger dent at all. Juices will run out copiously and will either be clear or gravy coloured. Well-done meat, even beef, can be delicious but needs to be cooked over a slower fire, or it will dry.
Other grades Blue, medium well done, medium rare etc., etc., are all a nonsense, as the three stages above – red, pink and grey – are all you require, indeed all you can detect. If someone asks for blue they actually mean the meat must be raw and cold in the middle, a macho posturing.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.