I've got a piece (of about 300 grams) dry-aged rib-eye in the fridge, at around 6 degrees Celsius. I want to let it "get to room temperature" (which technically is about 21 degrees Celsius for me) before I cook it up to about 55 degrees Celsius core temperature.

Is there any good rule of thumb to determine how much time I should minimally / optimally let it sit outside the fridge before slapping it into the pan?

  • My new rule of thumb is : don't do it. You get a better medium-rare if the meat's cold so not as much of the outside over cooks. – Joe Dec 15 '15 at 20:31
  • On a side note, since asking this question I've been pre-heating steaks in the oven with a meat thermometer to a little above room temp just before searing on high heat (I might get a sous-vide setup later on to get more control). – Jeroen May 31 '17 at 21:21

According to Serious Eats, a 210 gram steak in sitting in a 21° C room managed to go from 3° C to 10° C... in 2 hours. For a larger steak going up all the way to 21 degrees, it would take longer. The take-away from that article is that it's not worth it and does not affect the resulting steak.

  • The mass of the steak is much less meaningful than the size/geometry. A flank steak and a filet, for example, will have totally different heat transfer properties. So a "larger steak" does not necessarily take longer to warm up... but a thicker steak of the same size, or even smaller, could. – Air Mar 8 '16 at 18:03

I usually let a steak sit out for 45 minutes to an hour before cooking it. But the real answer is to get a meat thermometer, preferably an instant-read digital one, and use that to not only tell you when your steak is at room temp, but also to tell you when it's done cooking.

  • I've got a meat thermometer, but not one that predicts when it'll reach a certain temp ;-). A thermometer only tells me if it's at the right temp, not when it shall be at the right temp. – Jeroen Dec 15 '15 at 19:24
  • @Jeroen Draw a graph and extrapolate – Captain Giraffe Dec 16 '15 at 1:34
  • @CaptainGiraffe remembering (thanks to Newton) that the graph is exponential rather than linear :) – AakashM Dec 16 '15 at 12:52

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