Gordon Ramsay's Tip For Checking A Steak's Doneness Involves Your Face

Though there is no more precise method for checking the doneness of a steak than a meat thermometer, sometimes you've just got to do things by feel. Nowhere is this more true than in a professional kitchen. The environment requires cooks to be hyper-focused and having a fast-making touch, as far as steak is concerned, is the only real way to determine if it is done to the customer's liking. Gordon Ramsay, himself no stranger to the intense atmosphere of the kitchen, has an excellent tip for checking steak doneness that involves different points on your face.

In a clip pulled from an episode of "The F Word" on YouTube, Ramsay can be seen teaching a group of amateur butchers how to properly cook a steak. To check for doneness, Ramsay shows them three points on his face to reference: cheek, chin, and forehead. Cheek is for rare, chin is for medium, and forehead is for well-done. 

Each of these points on the face represents how the beef is meant to feel at certain levels of doneness. As cheek muscle is soft and springy, it shares similar properties to a rare steak. The chin, which is a little tougher owing to the presence of the jaw bone, represents the firmer medium. Meanwhile, the forehead, which is composed mainly of the skull, represents the intense firmness of a well-done steak.

Cheek and chin, but not forehead

Of all the facially referenced doneness checks, only two would be deemed acceptable to Ramsay. In his own method for achieving the perfect steak, the doneness level is somewhere between the cheek and chin, meaning medium rare. Medium rare is often cited as being the perfect doneness for steak. It hits a sweet spot where the steak is tender and juicy, owing to intact proteins and rendered fat. This affection, however, does not translate to the forehead.

Ramsay is a notorious hater of well-done steaks. He's stated that "whatever quality of beef it is, it's gone past any form of taste when you've cooked it well done" (via YouTube). Well-done steaks tend to be those that have been cooked to the point where there is no pink left on the inside. Depending on the cut, well-done steak tends to be rubbery in texture and somewhat burnt on the exterior.

So, if you're planning on taking Ramsay's advice, and we definitely think you should, stick to cooking your steaks between the cheek and chin. Avoid the forehead at all costs, lest Ramsay come down on you in wrath and fury. He won't actually ... but you never know.