Simple ways to tell if your steak is cooked to perfection

Continuing on from last week’s post about steak cuts, we thought we would also discuss cooking them. It’s a topic that’s obviously close to our hearts here at The Stone Grill. Steak and fish are our main offerings, whether cooked on a stone or not. Assuming the quality of the meat is good, the rest is in the cooking.

There are three ways to tell if your steak is cooked to your liking. You can use a meat thermometer, time it or use the thumb method. Each is useful in its own right. We use meat thermometers at The Stone Grill because we’re a restaurant, but not everyone has one. That’s why we also suggest the other two methods.


Timing the cooking of a steak is a rough guide to getting it right. The amount of time you cook it for depends on the cut, the thickness and the temperature of the meat itself. If you have stored it in the refrigerator and want to cook it right away, it will take slightly longer. We would always suggest getting the meat out and sitting it somewhere to come up to room temperature. Or better still, buying it fresh and using it the same day.

However, if you’re going to time it, these are approximates for a 2-3cm thick slice over a high heat.


Rare: About 1½ minutes per side

Medium rare: About 2 minutes per side

Medium: About 2¼ minutes per side


Rare: About 2¼ minutes each side

Medium-rare: About 3¼ minutes each side

Medium: About 4½ minutes each side

Rule of thumb

The thumb method is the most popular because it can be applied to the specific piece of meat you have in front of you. Whether it’s a steak on a stone or in your own frying pan, this works.

Make the OK sign by touching the tip of your thumb with the tip of your index finger. Lightly squeeze the flesh at the base of the thumb. It’s soft and equates to rare steak. Use a pair of tongs to poke the steak gently and when it feels the same, it’s cooked rare.

Do the same OK sign but with your ring finger. The flesh should feel firmer. That’s the equivalent of medium steak.

Do the same with the little finger for medium well. Use your judgement between the two for medium-rare.

The thumb method is a very simple test that applies to any steak in any cooking method. Just remember to use tongs instead of your fingers on the meat!

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