illustration of the touch test for gauging doneness
Illustration: Jason Lee
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Touch, Don't Pierce

Most meats require a food thermometer for gauging doneness. But to conserve juices in steak the way pro chefs do, try this touch test.

Rare: The outside consistency of beef with a cool red center should be about that of the spot between the thumb and forefinger of a relaxed hand.

Medium: To gauge if steak is just pink inside, compare how it feels with 
the density of the center of your palm when you hold your hand flat.

Well: Meat that's cooked all the way through should be firm but with a slight give, similar to the texture of the tip of your nose.
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