How To Use Your Hand To Tell When Your Meat Is Done

It’s finally Spring – the time of year to take advantage of the warm, beautiful weather and spend as much time as we can outside before the grey misery of winter sets in. 

That also means it’s time to fire up the barbeque and make it a habit of grilling out. For whatever reason, something grilled always tastes better than something not cooked over a direct flame, especially any kind of meat, but most specifically a nice thick and juicy steak. 

Believe it or not, your hand can tell you a lot about the doneness of said steak – an unsuspecting tool that will turn you in a grillmaster in minutes. 

Here’s how you do it: open the palm of your hand, and relax it. Take the index finger of your other hand and push on the fleshy area between your thumb and the base of your palm. This is what raw meat feels like. 

Here’s how you check doneness. Just be careful to not leave your finger on the grilling piece of meat too long to avoid any unnecessary finger tip burning. 


Press the tip of your pinky finger to the tip of your thumb. It will feel quite firm – this is what a well-done piece of meat should feel like. 


Press the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb. The flesh beneath your thumb will give a little more – here you have a perfect medium steak. 


This time, press the tip of your middle finger to your thumb. The flesh will give even more, a little softer. This is the perfect steak, but I’m biased. 


Pressing your index finger into the tip of your thumb will tell you if your steak is cooked to a nice rare. 

DISCLAIMER: Only use these tips for meats you don’t need to cook all the way through, such as beef or lamb. All varieties of poultry (chicken, turkey for instance) and any cut of pork should be cooked all the way through. 

BONUS: Get yourself a meat thermometer to make sure you grill chicken perfectly – it’s all too easy to ruin a tender and juicy piece of chicken and turn it into a piece of fleshy cardboard. According to, the perfect chicken breast is cooked to 160 degrees F. After it rests for a few minutes, the temperature will rise to 165 degrees F, which is the safest and most perfect temperature to enjoy a nice piece of grilled chicken.

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