Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?

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Last night I was cooking a really nice meat on the gas grill and took the steaks off too early. I let the meat rest and only after it had cooled for ten minutes did I figure out that the steaks were way to Rare in the middle.

All I could think to do was turn the grill back on and return the steaks to the heat. This took a while and everyone was grumbling. What else could I have done?

Maybe next time I should get a thinner cut. These ribeyes where 2 inches thick.They looked beautiful in the butchers case, but I found hard to get them cooked through without burning the outside. What am I doing wrong?

Re: Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?

You ask a great question. And congratulations for being brave enough to wait until the meat was rested before cutting and not to slicing into the piping hot steak to test if it was done. Your guests may have groused about the timing, but they were rewarded by not having a dry piece of meat on their plate.

There are two things that I would consider.

1) Purchase an instant read meat thermometer. They are cheap and very useful. To use simply remove the steak from the grill, insert the thermometer into the middle of the steak lengthwise from the side so that the thermometer is almost fully immersed. Allow a few seconds for the gauge to find the true temperature. Also be sure to remove the thermometer before returning steaks to the grill. They are not designed to withstand direct heat.

I have included a list of cooking temperatures below.

2) Heat up the skillet. After the meat has rested I like to slice the steaks before serving. (see the picture above) Even with a meat thermometer I occasionally miss the mark and undercook the meat. Now the grill is off and the family is grumbling, so I slice the meat, toss it in a hot skillet quickly searing the outside of the thin strips which are now ready to serve. No one is the wiser and everyone is happier. It’s not ideal but it is a handy cheat when time is of the essence.

Cooking temperatures for Steak

(remember that meat will continue to cook after removing from the heat and will likely rise an additional 5º to 10º while resting)

  • Rare - 125º F to 135º F
  • Medium rare - 135º F to 145º F
  • Medium - 145º F to 150º F
  • Well done - 150º F to 160º F
  • Not worth it - 160º F and above
Re: Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?

Great advice. You might also want to try skirt steak which is a long, flat cut prized for it’s rich flavor. Skirt is easier to cook to perfection because it is thin and you don’t have to deal with the issues related to thick cuts that require more skill and luck.

Re: Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?

Skirt steak is great, but if you are cooking thick cuts -(NY Strip or Rib Eye are my favorites)_ you need to know how to cook them properly. I agree with the advice to buy meat thermometer. Only a fool would spend good money for quality beef and not spend a few bucks on the proper tools.

The key to properly grilling a thick cuts of meat on the bbq is to control the heat zones on your grill. I recommend searing thick cuts of meat over high heat to start (2 minutes each side) and then moving the steak to the other side of the grill with a medium to low heat and then lowering the cover to in effect bake the steak to medium rare perfection.

Most gas grill have at least two zones with separate controls that makes this easy. If you only have one zone then preheat the grill on high, sear your steak for two minutes on each side then lower the heat close the cover and cook to your ideal temperature. (I always shoot 135ºf)

If you are cooking with charcoal first light the coals and once they have turned white hot arrange them so that you have a hot zone with a lot of briquettes and cooler zone with just a few briquettes so that you have flexibility and control. Sear the steak on the hot side and then move it to the cool zone and cover.

Re: Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?

I like to serve steaks cut into slices and arranged on a platter. This allows me the option of throwing uncut slices into a hot frying pan to finnish them off. The frying pan method is quick and easy. Just be careful not to overcook.

Re: Help! I undercooked the steak. What should I do?