How to grill a steak medium rare or medium? The desired degree of doneness for your perfect steak is a question of taste and experience. But no matter whether you like it rare, medium or well-done – Otto has a couple of tricks for you that make grilling the perfect steak easy.

Grilling the perfect steak: core temperatures for degree of doneness

In order to reach your desired degree of doneness, or cooking temperature, we always recommend using a meat thermometer. That way you are sure to cook the steak just as you like it.

When using a meat thermometer, you should make sure that you remove your steak from the grill when the core temperature is a few degrees below the desired temperature because the steak will keep cooking while it rests after grilling.

Cooking level

Core temperature in ˚C | ˚F


45-52˚C | 113-126˚F

Medium Rare

53-56˚C | 127-133˚F


57-59˚C | 134-138˚F

well done

60-63˚C | 140-145˚F

 How to grill your desired degree of doneness with the O.F.B.

After you have grilled the steak from both sides at full temperature at Meat-O-Meter Level 1, reduce the temperature and put the grill grate to the lowest level using the lever. Let your steak rest in the lower part of the grill at the lowest temperature until it has reached your desired cooking level. Take the grill grate out of the O.F.B. and insert the meat thermometer into the meat from the side.  Put the grill grate back into the grill along with the meat and thermometer. Make sure that the meat thermometer does not touch fat or bones since this might distort the shown temperature. When you are grilling a particularly thick cut, you can cover the steak with a bit of aluminum foil while resting it so that it does not burn.

Rest the steak until the core temperature is a few degrees below your desired level of doneness. Take it out of the grill and let it rest for another couple of minutes. This makes sure that the tasty juices are distributed evenly throughout the steak. This guarantees that your steak will lose less liquid afterwards, especially when you cut into it.

Ball of the thumb test

In case you don’t have a meat thermometer, the following simple trick will also help. It is not as accurate as using a meat thermometer but it can help as an orientation and you won’t need anything but your hand for it.

Grilling the perfect steak: infografic degrees of doneness


Place the tips of your thumb and trigger finger lightly against each other without pressure. Use your other hand to pinch the ball of the hand below your thumb. When your steak feels similarly soft, it is rare.

Grilling Steak rare

Medium Rare

Place the tips of your thumb and middle finger slightly against each other. Use your other hand to press the muscle below your thumb. When your steak feels similarly elastic, it is medium rare.


grilling steak medium rare


Place the tips of your thumb and ring finger softly against each other. The ball of the thumb now feels a bit stiffer and requires more pressure to push. When your steak feels like this, it’s cooked to medium.

Grilling steak medium rare


Place the tips of your thumb and your pinky softly against each other. Use your other hand to press the ball of your thumb. The muscle feels quite hard now. This is how your steak will feel when it is cooked well-done.


grilling steak well done

Now you are ready to grill the perfect steak. Need more tips on how to grill the perfect steak? Or salting steak properly?