Is the finger test accurate for steak safety? Better to just stick it in

Objectives: To evaluate the reliability of using the thenar eminence to determine steak doneness.

barfblog.Stick It InDesign: Double-blinded, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Various home kitchens in Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: Amateur/home cooks.

Main outcome measures: The accuracy of the finger test (the tenseness of the thenar eminence in different hand positions) for determining how well a random beef steak has been cooked (rare v medium-rare v medium v well-done). We also examined whether participants improved with practice and whether the accuracy of the finger test was correlated with age, sex, cooking experience or self-rated steak-cooking ability.

Results: Twenty-six participants completed the study, and showed that they could accurately determine the doneness of a steak with the finger test better than chance (χ2[1, n = 156] = 9.88; P < 0.01). Their overall accuracy, however, was low (36%). There was no correlation between accuracy in application of the finger test with the other collected participant and steak variables.

Conclusions: The finger test can be used by amateur cooks to determine beef steak doneness. However, the low overall accuracy of the test suggests that more invasive tests are to be recommended for determining steak doneness for its health benefits.


 Studying the Thenar Eminence of Amateur cooKs (STEAK) study: a double-blinded, cross-sectional study

Toby I Vinycomb, Amanda M-Y Tan, Manu Bhatnagar and Joon Ming Wong

Med J Aust 2015; 203 (11): 467-469