5 Steak Doneness Internal Temperatures & Times

5 Steak Doneness Internal Temperatures & Times

Posted on: January 17, 2023

There are as many steak preferences as there are eaters. No matter your taste, you can use your Smoker to achieve your goals in the comfort of your home.

There are as many steak preferences as there are eaters. No matter your taste, you can use your Smoker to achieve your goals in the comfort of your home.

Unlike other preparation methods, smoking will give you a flavorful and tender steak while saving you the time you’d otherwise spend on seasoning. You’ll just need to season with salt and pepper at the beginning and let the smoker do the rest. (marinating and using rubs are also an option, but that will be your preference)

The final taste of your steak can be influenced by the type of wood you use. You can decide to go with the richer alder and maple flavors, the stronger mesquite and hickory ones, or the sweeter and milder apple and cherry.

The 5 Steak Doneness Levels

The first step towards your goal of achieving your perfect steak is getting a good cut. The size and shape of the steak are some factors to consider.

The second is to cook your steak at just the right temperature. Simply observing the meat to determine the stage of cooking isn’t an accurate way of confirming doneness. Having a meat thermometer is highly recommended.

To get the correct reading, you should insert your thermometer through the side of the cut. Position the tip at the center of the cut where it’s not in contact with the fat or bone.

Once the thermometer registers 5–10°F (-15 to -12°C) lower than the desired doneness level, remove your steaks from the heat. Let them rest, they will continue cooking away from the heat.

1. Rare

This is as close to a carnivore as you can get. Steaks at this level of cooking have a cool red center. Usually, the temperature needed to get this level of doneness is 125°F or 52°C.

2. Medium rare

Once the center of your steak starts turning warm red in color, it is well on its way to the medium-rare level. You attain this level at 135°F or 57°C.

3. Medium

The appearance of your steak’s center is warm pink in color at this point. The temperature required is 145°F or 63°C.

4. Medium well

A slightly pink center is confirmation your steak is at the medium well stage. The required temperature to achieve this is 150°F or 66°C.

5. Well done

When you can finally see very little or no pink at the center of your steak, it’s confirmation that it’s well done. The temperature needed to get here is 160°F or 71°C.

It’s good to note that although nobody can dictate or control what you should eat or how you eat it, the USDA recommends steaks be cooked to medium level at the very least and rested for 3 minutes before serving.

Steps to Follow When Smoking Steak

Once your cut is ready for smoking, set your meat thermometer near your smoker and start your preparations.

First, you can test different bisquettes to decide on the flavors you want. Once you decide on the ones you like most, preheat your smoker and set the temperature.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and set it on the smoker’s racks. If you are using the Bradley Smoker, you have four racks to choose from. This means you can cut the steak into more pieces for your cooking convenience. Close the smoker’s lids and wait until it reaches the preset internal temperatures for your desired doneness.

Remove the steak from the smoker and let them rest and soak in the flavors before serving.

Length of Time Needed to Properly Smoke Steak

It is important to mention that food smoking as a preparation method depends more on time than temperatures. You don’t want to remove the steaks from the smoker before you have attained your desired doneness level.

Factors like the thickness of the cut of steak and the functionality of your smoker matter and can affect the time it takes. You need a smoker whose flavor bisquettes or wood burn without temperature fluctuations. Besides offering convenience, this also ensures there are no high-temperature gases or acids that may distort the flavor of your smoked steak.

Give yourself at least 45 minutes to 1 hour from start to finish in your cooking process to ensure you attain the quality you need.

To Summarize:

  1. Remember that the size and cut of your steak are important.
  2. Glancing at the color of the steak is not a foolproof method of determining doneness. Always have a working meat thermometer.
  3. Selecting the right flavor bisquettes is important because it determines the final flavor of your steak.
  4. The length of your cooking process is dependent on the food smoker you settle on. Choosing a good smoker is a great step in time management when cooking.

Looking for some recipe inspiration? Try these:
How to Make Smoked Tomahawk Steak
Smokey Blackberry Steaks
Smoked T-Bone Steaks with Goat Cheese Butter in Bradley Smoker

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.