I ate at Red Robin's recently. Usually, I order a well-done burger because I want my burgers cooked thoroughly. But the waiter suggested that I try "a little pink" burger, which is the cooking stage before well-done. It was the most delicious burger I've had. What is the specific name for "a little pink"? Medium rare? Medium well-done?

2 Answers 2


There are images out there of steaks and burgers cooked to different temperatures so you can see the color that they become. Here’s one for burgers:

burger doneness scale

I’d personally say that you lose pink somewhere around ‘medium’, so your burger may have been cooked even less than ‘medium well’… but I’m also slightly color blind, so you may want to look at the image yourself to judge.

(And also note that color calibration on computer monitors isn’t always the same; Macintoshes are known to display images differently from Windows; you may want to see if the restaurant has a poster to show the difference the next time you’re there)

  • 3
    …and this is the perfect example of how things differ by territory or establishment. They're all one step more done than I'd expect. btw, Mac & Win haven't used different gamma curves for over 20 years. Colour variation is more likely due to poor defaults in browsers [Chrome & Firefox bot have terrible default settings for colour management] & that accurate colour requires hardware calibration, which is only ever done by people who work in colour for a living.
    – Tetsujin
    May 16 at 7:51
  • @Tetsujin : I’ve run into gamma issues when giving presentations within the last 10 years. Maybe it was an older projector, but my MacOS laptop assumed windows curves. It was a huge issue for the images I was presenting (scientific data with color tables applied), but I haven’t given any of those talks since 2016. “Crushed blacks” (Windows-like gamma) seems to be a major issue in movies today, but I don’t know how much if that is the compression codexes)
    – Joe
    May 16 at 8:46
  • 1
    Mac used to use a 1.8 gamma, Windows 2.2. Apple gave up the fight about 15 years ago & transitioned to 2.2 as well. The issue with movies is compounded by the fact that cinema uses 2.6, TV 2.4 & computers 2.2 [There's an additional complication that Mac actually displays Re709 at 1.96 [I only just learned that] so video ought to look actually less contrasty than Win. The rest is that often Rec709 is misinterpreted as sRGB, which skews the curve still further.
    – Tetsujin
    May 16 at 9:11

The gradation on anything like this will be dependent on where you live, how the general populace there prefer their meat in general, & what any given establishment judges to be each 'category', but the next step down from 'well done' is 'medium well'.
If you eat at the same establishment again, 'medium well' would be how to order.

In order…
Medium rare
Medium [or as the French would say à point]
Medium well
Well done.

Most places will advise against well done [either verbally or by some disclaimer on the menu itself] as it's generally regarded as 'ruined' by then; but one person's 'medium' is another person's 'a bit too rare for me' so it's really hard to call in advance.
Bear in mind you can always send it back for them to give it another minute [even if they have to take any topping off & try put it back neatly afterwards], but they will not be happy if you want a minute less. ;)
If you're really worried about it being too pink, talk to the waiter again first, so they're aware.

btw, I've never heard of Red Robin's, seems to be US/Canada only, but it appears to be a large chain, so they will likely have reasonable consistency between branches.

Here's an example of how this can vary from one establishment to the next, compared to the accepted answer. The pictures in that answer are all more done than I would expect for the description.

enter image description here

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