To check cooked meat for doneness, press with tongs, or your fingers:
- very rare beef ‘gives’ under pressure, feels very soft to the touch, like a relaxed muscle (46-49°C – 115-120°F)
- rare beef feels soft to the touch (50-55°C – 120-130°F)
- medium-rare beef feels soft and springy to the touch, like a muscle that is starting to firm up (55-60°C – 130-140°F)
- medium beef feels firm and springy to the touch (60-65°C – 140-150°F)
- well done beef feels firm to the touch, like a firm muscle (65-70°C – 150-160°F)
The temperature of the meat will increase for up to 5 minutes after it is removed from the oven or heat source (this does not apply if cooking by sous-vide).
It is imperative that the meat is at room temperature before cooking, not taken straight from the fridge, or it will take much longer to warm through and start cooking. Tying the fillet into a neat shape with string will prevent it from curling up during cooking which makes it easier to slice neatly. Always rest meat before slicing to enable the juices to settle. The correct knife to use for slicing meat such as a fillet is one with a long slender blade that glides through the meat without hacking it or tearing fibres.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com