If you undercook your steak, don't panic—here's how to save it

Don't touch that microwave.

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Grilling a steak can be intimidating, even if you’re an experienced grillmaster. There’s always a chance that after you pull your steak off the grill, you’ll find an undercooked cut and have to troubleshoot without ruining the flavor.

Often, simply tossing the steak back on the grill isn’t an option, because if you’re grilling correctly, your grill will be mostly cooled by the time you cut into your steak. Why? When cooking a steak, you should always let it rest before slicing into it.

Medium steak
Credit: Getty Images

If you cut into a steak while it’s still piping hot—yes, even just a single cut to check the doneness—you will almost certainly wind up with a dry cut of meat, since you’re letting all of the juice run out.

However, if you let your steak rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it, you’re effectively allowing the juices resettle into the meat. Of course, the only downside to this is that, if you do find an undercooked steak, your grill has already cooled, leaving you with an annoying conundrum: How do I fix my undercooked steak efficiently and deliciously?

The answer lies within the condition of your undercooked steak.

What you’ll need:

Cast iron pan
Meat thermometer

Steak in cast iron
Credit: Getty Images

If it’s seared on the outside, but raw on the inside...

Sometimes, when cooking steak on really high heat you can wind up with a “black and blue” steak. That means it’s seared on the outside (black) but still raw in the middle (blue). In that case, you won’t want any additional cooking to the surface of the steak, you’ll just want to add some doneness to the middle.

Overcooked steak
Credit: Getty Images

Preheat your oven with a cast iron pan in it to about to 500º. When it’s at temperature, lightly oil the pan with Canola oil and put the steak in it. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side, and check doneness with a meat thermometer—You’re looking for about 140º for medium rare, or 160º for medium. Remove the steak from the pan and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

If the steak is underdone on the inside and outside...

For something you simply just took off too soon (i.e. the outside isn’t blackened), the stovetop is your answer. Heat your cast iron over high heat and lightly oil the pan with Canola when it’s nice and hot. This will prevent the meat from sticking.

Rare steak
Credit: Getty Images

Cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side, and check doneness with a meat thermometer—About 140º for medium rare, or 160º for medium. When your thermometer reaches your desired temperature, remove the steak from the pan and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

What not to do

When re-cooking, do not slice the steak into smaller pieces. It’s tempting, since you know the meat will cook faster, but more cuts equals lost steak juices and a dry steak. And as our resident grillmaster says, “Only vegetarians and Donald Trump would use the microwave.”

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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