From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

How to Tell If Your Meat Is Cooked Without Using a Thermometer

If you don't have a meat thermometer, follow Angie Mar's lead and use this surprising tool that you probably already have in your kitchen to tell if your meat is done. (But also, buy a meat thermometer.)


Sohm looks at the color and how fine the mousse is — the fine streams of bubbles — a sign of great quality.

Wine and Spirits

How to Drink Grower Champagne

Legendary sommelier Aldo Sohm on rarer bubbles.

Francis Mallmann Is Playing With Fire

Food and Drink

Francis Mallmann Is Playing With Fire

During a stay at his Patagonian hideaway, the iconic chef shares his singular...

A Taste of Capri in NYC and a Flavorful Find in Paris


A Taste of Capri in NYC and a Flavorful Find in Paris

Plus, irresistible Greek in San Francisco and more dishes our editors can’t get...

Whether you spend the summer grilling steak outside or searing chops in your favorite cast iron skillet in the comfort of your air-conditioned kitchen, you'll inevitably need to decipher when your meat is properly cooked at some point.

Here, a meat thermometer is a crucial tool, and we suggest that everyone have one on hand. If you don't have one, however, or if it's not within reach when you need it, the touch test also works: Touch the cut of meat with your finger and then feel the fleshy part of your hand underneath your thumb. The meat is raw if it feels like the fleshy part. Now hold your thumb and index finger together: The meat is rare if it feels like that. Now touch your thumb to your middle finger: The meat is medium rare if it feels like that. Next, connect your ring finger and your thumb: If the meat feels like the fleshy part of your palm now, it's medium. Finally, join your pinky and thumb: The meat is well done if it feels like that. It's a method a lot of chefs and home cooks use.

But Angie Mar, owner and executive chef of NYC's Beatrice Inn and a Food & Wine Best New Chef from 2017 who is known for her steaks and prime rib, uses a different method to determine if her meat is cooked.

When the Mar stopped by the Test Kitchen a few weeks ago, she showed Culinary Director Justin Chapple to use a cake tester.

Go in at an angle in the middle of the cut, wait for a second, and then touch the tester to your wrist. If it's cold, the meat is raw. If it's warm—close to your body temperature—then the meat is medium rare. If it’s hot, it's well done.

Chapple typically uses a cake tester to determine if fish is fully cooked (another pro tip if you're grilling seafood this summer!), but using it for meat is another great idea.

Mar uses this tip for her signature Rib-Eyes, but also when she's cooking other cuts, like hanger steak, which she says is her other favorite alternative to a Rib Eye because it's more affordable and has that same beefy flavor.

See here for Mar's other go-to tools for cooking steak or any other kind of meat, and check our more grilling essentials here.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.