How To Tell If Steak Is Done

There are two basic methods to test for how done your meat is while you are cooking it.

  • Use a meat thermometer.
  • Press on the meat with your finger tips.

    The problem with the meat thermometer is that when you poke a hole into the meat with a thermometer, it can let juices escape that you would rather have stay in the meat. For this reason, most experienced cooks rely on a “finger test” method,

    Test for steak doneness by pressing a finger into the meat.

    Rare feels like your chin
    Medium like the tip of your nose
    Well done feels like your forehead

    Tip – Let steaks sit for 10 minutes after they come off the grill so the juices have time to redistribute

    Tip – Meat should be blotted dry with paper towels before it meets the heat. If not it’s boiling, steaming and braising – not grilling.

  • Reference – Meat & Seafood Internal Temperature Cooking Chart

    Grilled Salmon

     Grilled Salmon with Spice Rub


    Spice Rub:

    2 tsp. lemon zest
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. tarragon
    1 tsp. basil
    2 tsp. black pepper
    ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
    1 T. paprika
    ½ tsp. Salt

    Lemon zest can be created easily be peeling or grating the yellow part of a lemon’s skin. Alternatively, you can purchase dried zest in the spice section of the supermarket, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing.


    Olive Oil – For Brushing
    Skinless Salmon fillet’s 1 inch thick


    Brush grill rack with oil
    Brush Salmon with Oil
    Rub dry ingredients in
    Grill Salmon uncovered on high heat for 5 minutes
    Use 2 large spatulas carefully turning fish over
    Grill until fish begins to flake in the center then 5 minutes longer

    Grilled Hamburgers

    Grilled Hamburgers


    Typically people think of a hamburger patty as beef. When using ground beef to make hamburger patties you want to select the right meat. Getting expensive and lean cuts for grinding won’t make a better burger. The real secret to the burger flavor is in the fat, ground chuck, round or sirloin work best or a combination also works. The other factor that improves the patty is a coarse grind. finely ground meat can become soft and mushy, making the patties hard to work with and more likely to fall apart on the grill.

    Lean ground beef like ground sirloin or the 7 – 10% fat meat will tend to make dry burgers. Remember, when you grill a burger a lot of the fat will drain off so starting out too lean can make for a dry burger. But too much fat and the burger will shrink while cooking. I use 80/20% which seems to work very well.

    When it comes to forming the patties, make the burger slightly larger than the bun and about an inch in thickness. A thicker patty will not allow you to get the middle cooked safely before the surface becomes too dry, also don’t pack the meat too firmly. Finely chop any vegetables you may put in the patty to avoid making the patty unstable while cooking.

    Start with a very hot grill, lift the lid and place the patties on the grill. When the raw meat hits the hot cooking grate it will stick, if you try to turn it too early the burger will fall apart. The process is that as the bottom of the patty cooks the grease will create a non-stick surface on the patty and the heat from the grate will char the meat, separating it from the grate. At this point you want to flip the patties, the process will repeat. When the burgers have released again, flip them again and turn down the heat continue grilling for about 2-3 minutes, flip a third time and continue for about 2-3 more minutes, during the last minute would also be the best time to add any cheese or your favorite sauce before removing the burger.  Remove the hamburger patty when done and let sit for 1 -2 minutes before you serve.

    Try using fresh ground beef in your next hamburger. Most any butcher will grind meat on demand, so pick up some fresh ground round or chuck, not too lean, take it home and grill it right away. You will definitely notice a difference, use freshly baked rolls to finish off the perfect sandwich.

    Try adding a toppings bar for people to choose their own toppings to create their own perfect hamburger.

    Tip – I personally prefer to add Worcestershire’s sauce  and Ted’s all purpose seasoning before cooking, and also on the first flip.

    Grilling Hints & Tips


    If you haven’t grilled before, these hints and tips will help you grill safely with the best, juiciest, most savory results. Whether you use charcoal, propane, or natural gas grills, there are steps to take before you start cooking. 

    Grills should be well away from buildings, brush and overhanging trees. Never grill inside your home, or in an open garage. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for lighting gas and charcoal grills.  A charcoal fire takes 30-45 minutes to reach the proper cooking heat after you light it. You can tell when the coals are at proper cooking temperature because gray ash will form evenly over the briquettes.

    Charcoal Grills

    Charcoal grilling presents  a learning challenge.

    Here are some tips.

    The number of briquettes you use depends on the size of your grill, the amount of food you will be cooking, weather conditions and cooking time. As a general rule, plan on using about 30 briquettes to cook 1 pound of meat. A five-pound bag contains 75 to 100 briquettes. Have enough briquettes to cover the grill pan in a single layer, stack them for lighting or remove to place in a chimney starter. 

    To light charcoal with the pyramid method, stack the charcoal into a pyramid shape. Soak the charcoal with at least 1/2 cup of lighter fluid (NEVER use gasoline). Wait a few minutes then light the charcoal with a long handled match or fire starter. As the coals begin to burn and ash forms, arrange them with long handled tons into a single layer. Don’t squirt lighter fluid onto hot coals, the fluid can catch on fire and burn back at you.

    Chimney starters they look like a coffee can with a handle, It lets you get a really good fire going with no chemicals. Place crumpled newspapers in the bottom portion of the starter. Remove the rack from the grill and place the chimney starter in the bottom. Fill the top half of the starter with charcoal. Then light the newsletter through holes in the bottom of the starter. The fire will draw up through the starter, lighting the charcoal. Leave the chimney starter where it is, and in about 20-30 minutes the coals will be ready. With a heavy long oven mitt, carefully empty the coals into the grill pan. Arrange the coals into an even layer with long tongs.

    Electric starters are easy to use. They are plug-in heating elements that also start the fire with no chemicals. Place the electric starter in the grill pan and stack the charcoal briquettes over it in a pyramid shape. Plug in the starter, making sure you are using a heavy-duty extension cord. Ash will begin to form on the coals after 8-10 minutes. Then unplug the starter, remove it with tongs, then arrange the briquettes with tongs into an even layer.

    Propane And Gas Grills

    Gas grills use lava rocks, the rocks are heated by the gas flame and cook like charcoal. Keeping the rocks clean is about the only task you’ll have with a gas grill. If there is a buildup of grease on the rocks you will have flare-ups during cooking which can burn the food. Turn the burner to high for five minutes after you’re finished cooking to help burn off grease and other drippings. Occasionally rearrange and turn the lava rock, replace the lava rocks when they don’t look clean, and start to break apart. Do not stack lava rocks. They should be only one layer deep on the grate.

    Cooking Methods Indirect And Direct

    Grilling uses two different cooking methods: indirect and direct heat. In direct heat cooking, food is placed on the cooking rack directly over hot coals. Indirect heat is used for more delicate foods and for longer cooking times used for larger cuts of meat, as when you’re barbecuing a turkey. The grill is always covered when cooking with indirect heat.

    For two-level charcoal grilling, or a hot side and a cooler side, arrange 3-4 layers of coals on one side of the grill; just 1 layer on the other. This method will let you control temperature as you cook. Sear foods on the hot side, move to the cooler side to cook through.

    For indirect cooking on a charcoal grill, place an equal number of briquettes on each side of the grill pan, leaving an empty space in the center. Light the briquettes. When you’re ready to cook, place a drip pan between the coals and add water to the pan to a level of 1/2″. Place the food over the drip pan and cover the grill. You will need to add 5-6 briquettes to each side of the pan as needed to maintain even heat, about every 45 minutes.

    For indirect cooking on a dual burner gas grill, set the drip pan on the lava rocks on one side of the grill and add water to 1/2″. Preheat the other burner on high for 5-10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to medium, then put the food on the rack over the drip pan and cover.

    For indirect cooking on a single burner gas grill, preheat the grill on high for 5-10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to low, place a foil baking pan on the rack. Place food in the pan, cover and cook.

    Grilling Tips And Safety

    Never leave the grill alone when you are cooking food. Flare ups can quickly become a fire, Once you start, stay there and pay attention!

    Adding wood chips and chunks can add marvelous flavor to your food. Soak mesquite, alder, hickory and pecan chips for one hour before scattering over the hot coals. Sauces containing sugar and fat will cause flareups and the food may burn, apply sauces and glazes during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.

    Grilling times are affected by the weather.

    To lower the cooking temperature, raise the cooking rack, close vents

    To raise the temperature, lower the cooking rack.

    If the weather is cold, Grilling will take longer.

    Wind will make the fire hotter.

    On a humid day, the coals will burn slower.

    Cold and thicker foods will take longer to cook.

    Hardwood fires will burn hotter than charcoal briquettes.

    The most reliable way to test when food is done is by using a thermometer.

    Move the food around on the grill for the most even cooking results.

    Piercing the food with a fork will release juices that you want in the food.

    Clean Up

    After you’re done grilling, close the grill cover and turn the gas grill off or close the vents on your charcoal grill. Keep an eye on the grill and the coals as everything is cooling down. Move the grill or remove the used briquettes only when everything is completely cool. keep an eye on kids and pets so they stay away from the grill until it is cool.

    Have a safe and fun time grilling this summer!

    Mike’s Steak Guide

    Steak Guide


    Grilling Steaks

    Grilling Instructions – Start with a hot grill, wait that extra couple of minutes for the cooking surface to be really hot.  The first step of the process is cosmetic to give the steaks those nice grill stripes. Let the steaks sit and sizzle for about two to three minutes each side on High. When you have the look, cook on medium temperature until desired wellness.

    New York Steak

    Essentially a T-Bone steak with the bone removed, leaving a fabulous cut of meat full of flavor and ultimate tenderness. The New York is a great steak for those who like a lean but juicy steak.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Ribeye Steak

    Cut from the juiciest, most flavorful part of the forequarter. Distinctly well marbled but trimmed of all non-essential fat, this cut delivers a tremendous flavor.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    T – Bone Steak
    New York and Tenderloin all in one steak plus a bone in the centre that helps to retain moisture while cooking.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Porterhouse Steak

    Quite simply is a larger version of a T-Bone steak.  A combination of two of the best cuts, a tender Fillet and a juicy New York.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Prime Rib Steak

    Cut from the rib section next to the shoulder these steaks are well marbled, tender, and on the bone to retain and enhance steak juices.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Tenderloin Steak / Filet Mignon

    Usually the gourmet’s choice. No other steak is as highly prized for its “melt in your mouth” goodness while remaining one of the leanest cuts available. Properly prepared, it can actually be cut with a fork.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Top Sirloin Steak

    Cut from the end portion of the loin and offers a robust flavor and tenderness quality all its own.
    Grilling Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Marinating Steaks

    Marinate Instructions – Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl; reserve 1/4 cup marinade for basting. Place remaining marinade in food-safe plastic bag, add steak.  Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 1 – 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.

    Sirloin Tip Steak

    Very lean, marinating helps to enhance the tenderness of this cut. Excellent for brochettes.
    Marinating Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Flank Steak

    Also called London broil. It is a lean, flat, boneless cut from the flank section, just below the loin and sirloin. It is popular marinated or stuffed and rolled.
    Marinating Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Eye of Round Steak

    A versatile cut from the hip area. Although very lean, it is not short on flavor. Try having this cut a little thicker and cut across the grain to enhance tenderness.
    Marinating Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Round Steaks

    Cut from the inside thigh portion of the round. Top round steaks are not as tender as those from the loin or sirloin, but they have a good combination of tenderness and flavor.
    Marinating Steak – Dry, direct heat; grill, broil or pan-fry

    Simmering Steaks

    Blade / Chuck Shoulder Steak

    Full of flavor and texture. This cut can be bone in or boneless, cut thick or thin, and can be broiled or roasted.  The best way to cook chuck steaks is to braise them. To braise, sear them on both sides in a heavy pan, add a small amount of liquid such as seasoned broth or wine, cover tightly and simmer them until tender.
    Simmering Steak – Cook with Liquid, low heat and covered

    Filet Mignon with Roquefort

    Filet Mignon with Roquefort


    4 Beef tenderloin steaks (1 in. thick) (4-ounce) trimmed of fat
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
    1 ounce Roquefort Cheese crumbled (1/4 cup)

    Season steaks with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper.

    Grilled Method
    Grill Steaks until desired wellness

    Skillet Method
    In 12-inch skillet, add 2 tsp Olive Oil and heat oil on high until hot. Add steaks to skillet and cook 10 minutes for medium rare or until desired wellness

    Top Steaks with Tablespoon of Roquefort Cheese

    Comment – The tangy Roquefort Cheese topping is so luxuriously flavorful that just a tablespoon per serving is enough.

    Tip –Filet Mignon should be cooked with dry direct heat – Grilled, Broiled or Pan-Fried

    Serves 4

    Grilled Indian Chicken

     Grilled Indian Chicken

    Prep:  2 hours to marinade chicken
    Cook:  5-7 minutes
    Makes:  4 servings


    2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

    For the marinade

    1 cup plain yogurt
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/4 teaspoon cardamom
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    4 scallions, greens included, minced
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    White or red pepper to taste
    Lemon or lime wedges for garnish

    Cut the skinless chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl.

    In another bowl, combine the yogurt, tumeric, paprika, cardamom, lemon and lime juices, olive oil, ginger, garlic, cumin, scallions, salt, and pepper.  Pour the marinade over the cubed chicken and mix well with your hands to coat the pieces evenly.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

    Thread the chicken onto skewers and cook over a medium-hot fire for 5-7 minutes, turning frequently.  Baste the chicken with the leftover marinade after turning.

    Serve with the lemon or lime wedges.

    Turkey Burgers

     Turkey Burgers

    Prep: 20 minutes
    Cook: 10 minutes (Burgers)
               45 minutes (Meat Loaf)
    Makes: 4 Burgers or 1 Loaf


    1 1/2 lbs. ground organic free-range turkey
    1/4 cup minced onion
    3/4 cup coarsely ground oatmeal (put in a blender and pulse until the oatmeal is the consistency of bread crumbs)
    1 egg
    1/4 cup minced celery
    1/4 cup milk, soy milk, or stock
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 garlic clove, minced
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


    Mix all ingredients well.  Form into 1-inch-thick patties and place in a lightly oiled skillet.  Cook the burgers over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until browned and crispy.  Flip the burgers carefully and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees and the meat is no longer pink.  Serve the burgers hot.

    If you’re making  a loaf, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Form the mixture into a loaf and pack into a lightly oiled 8 x 4-inch baking pan.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the loaf begins to pull away from the pan.

    These are healthy alternative to a regular beef burger and they taste great!

    Salmon Teriyaki

     Salmon Teriyaki

    Prep:      2 hours
    Cook:     About 10 minutes
    Makes:  4-6 servings


    For The Teriyaki Sauce

    1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
    1/4 cup dry sherry
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger-root
    2 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press

    For The Fish

    2 pounds wild Alaskan salmon steaks or fillets
    Lemon Wedges


    Combine the ingredients for the sauce.  Place the fish in a glass or ceramic dish, pour marinade over, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

    Light a fire in the grill or preheat the broiler on your oven.  Remove the fish from the marinade and transfer to a plate.  Grill the fish over white coals, or under the broiler, basting with the marinade, for 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn and grill, basting again, for another 3-4 minutes.  Do not overcook.

    Any leftover marinade can be reheated and served with the fish.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

    Sweet Corn

    Sweet Corn

    Grilled Corn In The Husks

    For intense flavor and perfectly tender kernels.  Prepare the ears pull back the husks and remove silks, replace the husks and tie in place with a strip of husk or string. Soak in water for 10 minutes.

    Outdoors – Grill turning often, until husks are charred and corn in hot 7 – 10 minutes

    Indoors – Broil turning occasionally until husks are charred and corn is hot 7 – 10 minutes

    Wrap Husked Ears In Foil

    For ultra moist corn that can e prepared ahead. Lightly brush corn before of after grilling with melted butter, oil or seasoned spread and wrap in aluminum foil.

    Outdoors – Grill turning often until heated through 7 – 10 minutes

    Indoors – Bake corn a 400 degrees

    Bronzed And Smoked

    Place oiled husked ears directly on the grill for better bronzing of the darnels and a deliciously smoky flavor

    Outdoors – Grill turning often until kernels start to turn golden brown 7 – 10 minutes

    Indoors – Cook corn on a stove top grill pan or broil 6 inches from heat source

    Green Pepper Burgers

    Green Pepper Burgers


    1 pound ground beef
    1 med. Onion minced
    ½ green bell pepper minced
    2 garlic cloves minced
    2 tsp cumin
    2 tsp coriander
    1 tsp salt
    ¼ tsp pepper
    3 large flour tortillas, cut into halves


    Combine beef, onion, green pepper, garlic and seasonings in bowl

    Mix well.
    Shape patties
    Grill over hot coals until done to taste
    Wrap each patty in flour tortilla half

    Yields 6 servings

    Barbecued Salmon

    Barbecued Salmon


    2 ½ pounds fresh salmon fillets
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Lemon juice to taste

    Butter Baste:

    1 cup butter
    2 cloves garlic minced
    ¼ cup soy sauce
    2 T. Dijon mustard
    Dash Worcestershire sauce
    Dash of ketchup


    Combine butter, garlic, soy sauce, mustard Worcestershire sauce and ketchup in small saucepan.  Heat until well blended, stir frequently (Do not boil)

    Set aside to be used during final preparation


    Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and lemon juice
    Baste with butter baste
    Place on 2 layers of heavy duty foil
    Place foil over medium coals
    Grill until salmon begins to flake, baste frequently
    Baste again just before serving

    Yields 6 servings

    Hawaiian Burgers

    Hawaiian Burgers


    1 ½ pounds ground beef
    1tsp salt
    ½ tsp pepper separate into ¼ tsp x 2
    1 (13 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
    2 garlic cloves minced
    ¼ cup soy sauce
    1 T. vinegar
    ¼ cup corn oil
    2 T. ketchup
    6 slices bacon


    Combine beef with salt, ¼ tsp pepper in bowl and mix well
    Shape into 6 patties
    Press 5 – 7 pineapple tidbits into each patty
    Place in glass dish

    In a small bowl combine the following ingredients and mix well
    garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, corn oil, ketchup and ¼ tsp pepper

    Pour over patties
    Chill- covered for 1 hour
    Drain patties and wrap each with slice of bacon
    Secure bacon with wooden pick
    Grill over hot coals for 8 – 10 minutes on each side

    Yield 6 servings

    Captain Morgan® Grilled Fruit Marinade


    Recipe courtesy of


    1/4 cup Captain Morgan® Original Spiced Rum
    1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    Cubed pineapple, grapes, mango, papaya or strawberries


    Thread the fruit on skewers unless you have a grill basket.

    Coat the fruit in the marinade and grill for approximately 5 minutes, or until browned but not mushy.

    Serve over vanilla ice cream.

    Tip: After cooking your meat, scrape off the burned bits and re-oil the grill so your fruit doesn’t stick or taste meaty.

    Lemon Tanqueray® Marinade


    Recipe courtesy of


    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp. lemon rind
    1/4 cup Tanqueray® London Dry Gin
    2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tsp. sugar
    1/4 cup vegetable oil


    Whisk together the lemon juice, gin, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the oil in a stream, whisking, and continue to whisk until the oil is emulsified. Pour over chicken or fish fillets or kebobs and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

    Remove meat from marinade and grill.

    Jose Cuervo Especial® Lime Marinade


    Recipe courtesy of


    1/2 cup Jose Cuervo Especial® Tequila
    3 tbsp. Rose’s lime juice
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1 tsp. orange peel
    1 tsp. red pepper flakes


    Mix and marinade.
    This goes especially well on London Broil
    Marinate for 2 hours then grill over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

    Baste and turn the meat often.

    Serve with grilled onions.