DEGREE OF DONENESS
FOR ANGUS BEEF
To determine the degree of doneness in a piece of Angus beef, there are three methods: measuring cooking time, determining temperature at the centre of the cut using a thermometer, and the finger test. Cooking time is known from practice not to be reliable, because all of the other factors, such as doneness, meat thickness etc., should always be identical to be able to determine a precise timing. Still, the other two methods have had reliable results.
Cooks get familiar to what beef looks like and can feel when it is done just as they prefer it, but an internal instant reading thermometer is the most precise way of measuring the degree of doneness. Always monitor the thermometer. In case the temperature is too high, the beef can get burnt on the outside and still not be done inside. No matter which technique you may choose, the temperature at the centre of the beef cut reveals the truth about the colour the meat has, so you must make sure the probe reaches the centre of the beef cut without perforating the meat too many times. If you pan-fry the meat, insert the probe after the last flipping. If you are cooking the beef in the oven, you can insert the probe when you put the meat in the hot oven. If you have a thicker cut of meat, that you first brown before putting in the oven, insert the probe only when you put the meat in the oven.
Follow the temperatures below to cook Angus beef to your liking.
What does “BLEU” or “rare” beef look like?
At the „bleu” or „rare” stage of cooking, only the outer layer is browned, while the centre looks as if the meat were still raw. The core temperature of the beef is 49-52° C, and the juice of the beef at cutting is intensely blood-like.
What does “SAIGNANT” or “medium-rare” beef look like?
At the medium-rare stage, the outer layer of the meat is getting roasted, and the outer part is becoming brownish. The core temperature of the beef is 55-57° C, and the beef juice is blood-like.
What does “À POINT” or “medium” beef look like?
At the medium stage of cooking, the outer layer of the beef is roasting until becoming deep brown. Still, the inside is still pink. The temperature at the centre is 61-63° C, and the meat juice is watery-oily and only slightly blood-like.
What does “BIEN CUIT” or “well-done” beef look like?
At the “well done” stage of cooking, the beef is completely cooked and has a brownish colour both on the outside and inside. The temperature at the centre is 71-73 ° C, and the beef juice is watery-oily.
HOW to use the THERMOMETER?
A Garthermometer can measure the core temperature of meat pieces. In order to take such a measurement you do not need to cut the meat and so no juice is lost by piercing. A Garthermometer has a heat sensor at its tip. You should pierce the thickest part of the meat with its tip, and thrust it inside midway through the meat. Take care not to touch a bone, otherwise the measurement becomes inaccurate.
Which TEMPERATURE for which RESULT?
Rare (52 ° C) – Cool red centre
Medium rare (57 ° C) – Warm red centre
Medium (63 ° C) – Warm pink centre
Medium Well (66 ° C) – Slightly pink centre
Well Done (71 ° C) – Little or no pink
HOW TO DO THE FINGER TEST?
For smaller pieces of meat their degree of doneness can be determined without cutting or piercing with the thermometer. At a finger test apply pressure on the thickest part of the meat by pushing your finger into the meat piece. This way you can compare with how it feels when you apply pressure with your thumb successively on each finger of the same hand. The tension felt by the thumb changes from soft to firm.
WHY shouldn’t we pierce the meat when we flip it over?
After cooking/frying on both sides, there is some extra pressure inside the beef piece. If you pierce the beef now with a fork, its juice will be lost. For tenderness and exquisite taste you do not want to waste this juice.
Beef needs to rest 5 to 10 minutes before being cut, in order to give the juice time to get reabsorbed into the beef after the cooking. As the beef rests, its inner heat will keep rising by a couple of degrees.