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Feb 26, 2014 01:20 PM

How do you tell when liver is done?

I love both chicken and beef liver, but I always dread cooking it, particularly beef liver, because I have a lot of trouble telling when it's done because it seems like the inside remains quite reddish way past done-ness. I don't have much trouble with regular meat but I feel like with the brown reddish color of the liver meat I really have no idea when it is done and I usually end up trying to play it safe but overcook the liver. The texture of the liver is also very different than muscle meat and I find the 'press test' doesn't help me much.

Do you have any tips on how to tell when the liver is done?

Also, is it ok to eat liver less than well done? I've only ever seen it served well done so I've always just assumed unlike muscle meat it's not ok to eat less than well done, but if I'm wrong let me know.

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  1. Overcooked beef liver is not tasty, as you know. My rule is for every 1/2 inch slice, 2 minutes on the first side, 1.5 min on the second side, medium high heat, fried in bacon drippings (and plenty of it).

    It cooks very quickly,truth1ness.

    8 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      I agree! Medium rare....and if you can find some venison liver, invite me over!
      Pinehurst, do you dust in flour? of even egg,flour,bread crumbs?

      1. re: Raffles

        Hi Raffles,

        I never have (dusted in flour). It browns up nicely without it, and it seems like onions (and sometimes bacon) are the only company it needs.

          1. re: pinehurst

            No bacon? No wine? I omit the flour too, but if I don't have bacon and onion, I don't cook liver. I like a sprinkle of teriyaki or soy sauce toward the wnd of cooking, especially if I don't have red wine available.

            1. re: greygarious

              I've never tried wine. Bacon ALWAYS and onions 99% of the time.

              What do you do with the wine, G?

              1. re: pinehurst

                Red wine is pretty standard - just a bit - to deglaze. It adds something to the pan sauce.

                1. re: greygarious

                  With caramelized onions and deglazed with apple cider vinegar.

                  1. re: grampart

                    Lots and lots of onions! First, make sure you cut the gristle and score the outer side of the sliced liver so it won't curl. Dipt in dry four, salt and lots of pepper. Fry in butter + olive oil mixture, and not overcook. After it's done, dot a little more butter and sauté some mushrooms -- pour some wine and there you have it. Scatter some chopped parsley if you have some.

        1. re: VenusCafe

          Thanks! First good chuckle I've had today.

        2. My usual liver is lamb or chicken. Occasionally calf liver. All three just need a very quick fry. Medium rare is the way to go (maybe a tad longer on chicken, for me).

          How to tell if its done? Same way, I'd tell how any fried/grilled meat was - touch or prodding with a skewer. If unsure, cutting it open.

          1. Liver can - and I think should - be served with a little pink/red at the center. I've seen TV chefs recommending that for decades.

            Just slice through a piece of liver and look, keeping in mind that the meat will continue cooking for several minutes off the burner, via residual heat from the pan and the meat itself.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              People do often recommend cooking liver a bit rare. Note that chicken liver isn't really any safer to eat rare than the rest of the chicken, so cook according to your own risk tolerance.


            2. I'm with Venuscafe... mostly. By far NOT favorite meat! When growing up, Dad, his sister and a neighbor would buy half a steer to stock freezers in houses fulla kids... 8 in 3 houses. Ya got half of EVERYTHING... including liver. My Grandmother (who pretty much ran the show) LOVEd it. Have to admit it looked and smelled just fine... smothered in butter and onions. BUT the TEXTURE was just NASTY!!

              Do enjoy a nice pate and even chicken livers wrapped in bacon... but that's about it for me.