Checking the Temperature of Meat

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About
Except when cooking by extraction, where the meat is cooked for fairly long periods of time to reach extreme tenderness, meat usually has to be checked for the desired degree of doneness with an instant-read thermometer or by the touch test. The touch test is extremely important to learn, as it is an expedient way to determine doneness in the speed of a restaurant kitchen. The touch test is best practiced on the fleshy part of the palm of your hand. When the hand is relaxed, the softness of the fleshy part is equal to the elasticity of rare meat; as you open your hand and the fleshy part gets firmer, it will gradually equal medium and then well-done meat. However, touch-test accuracy is also a function of the type of meat, cut, age, thickness, and so on; each type has to be learned. For instance, a filet does not feel like a strip steak. Again, time and practice are necessary to gain confidence at this age-old cook’s skill. Until you master it, check yourself with a thermometer.