Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 8, 2012 10:57 AM

Steak tempreature frustration

Every Sunday, my SO and I enjoy a lovely surf and turf with strip steaks (~ 1.5 to 1.75 inches) and scallops. I have been putting my cast iron pan to good use and usually do the sear on the stove method which has produced great results. However, I am still confused as to how long I should rest and given that time what temperature I should remove the steak from the heat. We both prefer a little between rare and medium rare. Initially, I read that a 10 minute rest time would increase the temperature 5-10F so I removed them at 115-120F, however after resting it seems the doneness is more medium rare/medium. Would it be expected to have the temperature increase so much in only 10 minutes? I currently just remove them sooner, usually at 110 and they are a perfect medium rare. Am I resting them too long? I tested my thermometer in boiling water and it read 212F after 15 seconds, so I imagine it's not an inaccurate thermometer that is the problem. It has worked to remove them at a lower temperature but just wanted to get a feel for how many degrees your steak tends to increase after a 10 minute rest. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It depends a bit on the thickness of the steak and the cut (whether it's fatty or lean). I find that lean meat tends to overcook faster. Thinner cuts obviously do too - not because the temperature rises more once they're off the heat, but because the sweet spot in the center is so small.

    With grilled meats, I find that the temperature usually only rises 5 degrees tops (larger roasted cuts will go up 10 degrees or more, typically). Resting them longer won't make the temperature rise more - it will only go up as high as the residual heat will take it, and then eventually even out (and start to drop). If I were you, I'd try pulling your steaks at 110 degrees, rest as usual and see if that gets you where you want to be.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Great, thanks. In fact, they are grass fed steaks and so very lean and so I imagine that might be why the temperature is increasing more than expected during the rest period. A quick google search actually seems to indicate that for the same doneness, grass fed beef should be cooked to a lower temperature?

      Rare — 120F
      Medium Rare — 125F
      Medium — 130F
      Medium Well — 135F
      Well — 140F

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        Oh yes, if you're cooking grass fed beef you'll need to be very careful with the temp. I might even pull at 105 and see if you like that.

    2. Are you really certain your probe is accurate?Accurate at 212*f isn't the gold standard of accuracy for the entire range of temperatures offered.All of mine that can be re-calibrated are done so at 32*f /0*c.A tall enough container,75% or more ice to water,insert for 10 to 15 seconds.What is your temperature now?

      6 Replies
      1. re: lcool

        OK I will check out the other end of the temperature spectrum?

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          And I hope you won't hate me for it.I have two CDN's at the moment in need of this.Both have a re-calibration,correction button requiring the very icy bath.
          Both read 212*f in boiling H2o but not the same as my two high end thermometers in a glass of chilled milk.

          1. re: lcool

            Yea, it would make sense that the accuracy would vary over the range of temperatures as most measuring instruments do. I will definitely check out the temperature in ice cold water. Yea, I have to admit that my thermometer might not be the highest quality but it's worked pretty well so far. I really should splurge on a thermapen but don't really use the thermometer enough to really justify the cost quite yet.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              " I really should splurge on a thermapen but don't really use the thermometer enough to really justify the cost quite yet."

              You will if you get one. :-)

              1. re: nokitchen

                So true. I never thought I needed one until I got one as a gift, and now I use it ALL THE TIME. Love my purple Thermapen!

              2. re: fldhkybnva

                now that THERMAPEN is moisture proof it's TRULY worth it
                the #2 out there is a $12.00 CDN ,good,but needs to be re-calibrated,regularly

        2. "I currently just remove them sooner, usually at 110 and they are a perfect medium rare"

          So what's the problem? You want it a little less done, remove just a little sooner. I honestly don't understand, why is there a question on this issue?

          3 Replies
          1. re: FrankJBN

            I was just wondering why the temp seems to be rising more than most expect/experience - it seems to rise a good 15 or so. It was just a random inquiry. As I mentioned in my post, the solution was just to take them off sooner. I guess it's not really a question but as with most posts, through my random inquiry I learned a thing or two about calibrating thermometers.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              If you have cooked at the spot on temperature and it sounds like you are.......
              STAND TIME is 1/3 or more of the overall cooking,pan to fork time .....for solid,single cuts or roasts.A 15*f rise in temperature is no surprise,your "pull earlier" seems on.
              Practical experience and time of same make a difference.Not all steaks are the same,thick,thin,marbled,lean,pasture or ? and your cooking of them will not be the same either.As you gain experience,using a thermometer and maybe a timer/stop watch your questions will fade.

              doesn't apply to birds with cavity,they stay hot,but don't continue to cook

              1. re: lcool

                Yup, live and learn. One of the joys of cooking IMO

          2. Are you removing the steak from the pan and transferring to a plate? If not, that may be your problem.

            9 Replies
              1. re: fldhkybnva

                At what temperature are you roasting at, 400 or higher? Also, are you using the bottom, middle or top rack?

                1. re: fourunder

                  It's a steak seared in a cast iron pan.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Have you ever tried finishing a steak in the oven? It's much easier to control the temperature and less mess on the stovetop....especially for the thicker steaks you have indicated.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      With the grass fed steaks I found that finishing in the oven always resulted in much more overcooking. I think this method is OK but will just have to gauge how much sooner the meat should be removed from the pan. As mentioned above, 110 seems to work well and what's the worst that happens - rare instead of medium rare? I can live with that :)

                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                      Here's another way to prepare steak with low temperature roasting and with a reverse sear process. You can see the results in pictures in the thread below.


                      1. re: fourunder

                        Perhaps I will give this method a try, but seems complicated for a semi-novice.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          It's actually very easy. Take the steak out of the fridge for an hour, about 15-20 minutes in a 275* oven and then seared for a minute on each side in the pan.The steak pictured was about 1.25 inches thick.

                          1. re: fourunder

                            Wow I'm surprised that in the oven that long (though admittedly at a pretty low temp) it comes out at the right temperature, but I definitely will give it a shot.

              2. As an exercise, leave the thermometer in your steak and how many degrees it actually rises during the 10 minute rest. Find the "target temp" of your preferred steak doneness. Use this to calculate when you should pull your steak to hit your target temp.

                You state that "the temp seems to be rising more than most expect/experience - it seems to rise a good 15 or so." It may not be rising that much. It just might be that the steak is what you consider "medium" at that point instead of "medium rare".

                2 Replies
                1. re: seamunky

                  most thermometers turn off or reset to 000 rather than co-operate with your EXCELLENT tip

                  1. re: seamunky

                    Right. Does anyone rest for only 5 minutes? My SO is staunchly against resting meat (I know, I know) and thinks anytime at all is too long, but if any resting time it should be 5 minutes. I have seen between 5-10 minutes so maybe just a shorter rest time.