Everyone has their own preference when it comes to steak. Some people like it blue (still bleeding!); others prefer it cremated, and Donald Trump likes his steak in the most childish way imaginable. Figures.
It’s not just us steak-mortals who bicker about the best way to enjoy steak. World famous chef Anthony Bourdain has shared his thoughts on the ultimate steak, and even foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay has weighed in on the debate. It seems unlikely we’ll ever be able to settle this without hard date. Well, we’re in luck.
Thanks to the folks at Longhorn Steakhouse we know how Americans order their steak. The steakhouse shared data taken from their 491 locations across the U.S. for an entire year. Although the study is for American only, given the fact that Americans consume roughly 25 billion pounds of beef each year, it speaks volumes for the rest of the world, too.
I don’t know about you but I certainly thought rare would be a more popular choice given that so many meat aficionados claim it’s the only way to properly enjoy steak. Perhaps it’s more a fashionable thing to say then a realistic order.
Longhorn dug a little deeper. They found out that the way you order your steak has a lot to do with your favourite cut.
Apparently there’s science behind all this, according to Jens Dahlmann, the executive chef at Longhorn. He said
Every steak has a different fiber. If you look at the most tender steak, it’s the tenderloin. That’s a steak that lends itself to barely cooking it. It’s got a very soft fiber and very sweet flavors to it. It works great for rare and medium-rare.
Steaks that still perform very well even if you go to a medium-well temperature, those would be the highly marbled steaks, the ribeye, even the porterhouse or T-bone.
Basically what he’s saying is that the better the cut (meaning the more expensive the cut!), the more cooking time it can have before tasting like leather. So if you buy the most expensive steak in the world and order it mid-well, it will still taste incredible. It’s unlikely to be the same story with short loin.
How about when cooking steak at home?
Steak isn’t the easiest thing to get right at home. For once it’s tricky to find the best cut, and after you’ve found it there’s a whole host of steak mistakes you could fall into. When shopping for steaks, know that there are three USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) grades: Select, Choice and Prime. It’s little surprise that prime is the one you want to go for. Prime basically means the steak is super tasty due to its higher fat content, which results from feeding cattle a diet of corn.
Trouble is, finding Prime isn’t always easy – particularly if you buy from supermarkets. If you’ve got the time to visit a local butchers, do it. They’ll be able to guide you through different cuts of meat and enable you to go home with Prime quality.
The biggest tips for cooking steak at home is to remove it from the fridge a decent amount of time before cooking. An hour is sufficient for thin cuts. But if your steak is an inch or more in thickness, you’re going to want to leave a good two hours. If you don’t let it reach room temperature your steak can end up an unattractive grey colour, and this greatly impacts the taste.
If you follow those simple rules then you can make magic happen in your kitchen. You’ve got this.