People will give you all sorts of tricks for how to tell when a piece of meat is cooked.
“Put these two fingers together, then poke your hand here – that’s medium rare.”
“It’s about experience. Once you cook enough steaks, you’ll just start to know when they’re done.”
And, perhaps the best one, “Cook until the juices run clear.”
Okay, sure. But...
Are everyone's hands identical?
How many steaks do I have to screw up on my way to being experienced?
Why do I have to sacrifice juices, and what does "run clear" even mean?
If only someone had invented a device for measuring the temperature and doneness of meat.
Thermometers are cheap, accurate, and dead simple to use. Every single person who puts heat to food - from dorm room cook to Michelin Star chef - should own at least one digital thermometer.
There are people out there that act like a thermometer is some kind of crutch, or that using one is a sign of weakness. Those people are idiots.
Even if you have so much experience that you can tell the temperature of meat by feel, you should still use a thermometer.
Experienced carpenters can eyeball distance and angles pretty damn well, but you won’t find a single one that doesn’t still use a measuring tape and a miter guide.
Learn how you like your meat cooked, and then hit that mark every damn time.