If you’re looking for an extra special touch to your Friday brunch with your loved ones, why not try eating a steak? With its reputation as a fine dining favorite, you can never go wrong with this delectable tummy-filler.
Well, except maybe if you don’t know how to order a steak.
While this meal may seem too complicated for your comfort, there’s no need to fret since you only need to understand a few key facts to order your next steak like a pro.
5 Ways Steaks Are Cooked
There are five ways of cooking a steak. From blue rare to well-done, you are sure to be offered several choices in your favorite steakhouse.
While it isn’t necessarily a way of “cooking” a steak, it is good to know what raw meat looks like before you order it for dining in or to-go. Fresh meat is a bit squishy compared to when it is grilled. The fat surrounding it, on the other hand, will be harder compared to when it is exposed to heat.
To avoid getting confused by the wide variety of options stated in the steak house menu presented to you, here are key characteristics and differences among the various ways a steak can be cooked:
1. Blue Rare
A steak with a dark purplish exterior and reddish center is cooked blue rare. This manner of cooking meat retains its spongy feel and will offer no resistance when cut. Since it is cooked for a very short period, it is just warm along the center with a temperature of between 50 and 75 degrees.
A piece of rare cooked meat keeps about 75 percent of the redness at the center while getting slightly seared and a darker red hue on the outside. Compared to blue rare, this way of cooking a steak takes a bit longer and will yield a slightly juicy meat in the process. While it still is cool at the center, this steak offers a slight resistance to cutting, but will still be a bit squishy inside.
3. Medium Rare
A medium rare cooked steak will have a more pinkish color on the outside and a decadent golden-brown crust. It will have a springy texture and will retain the soft and reddish center from cooking it rare. It is also warmer and firmer than rare and blue rare steaks.
A steak is considered medium cooked if it has a charred or dark brown crust and a firm resistance to cutting. It will still be a bit springy and have a very light pinkish hue inside.
As the name implies, this manner of cooking a steak entails thorough grilling to that point of browning through the meat without charring the outside too much. It will still have a slight tinge of pink at the center and should still be soft with a slightly springy resistance when cut.
Other Things You Should Know About Your Steak
Aside from how it is cooked, the quality of steak also varies depending on several other factors, including:
- The Breeds of Steak Cattle
There are three well-known breeds of cattle that produce outstanding steaks: Angus, Wagyu, and Kobe.
The Angus beef originally hailing from Scotland is the perfect choice for its marbling capability and is popular because it yields a juicier steak. It is commonly prepared ground and used as burger patties in the U.S.
Wagyu, on the other hand, is Japan-raised and is known for its extra tenderness and juiciness. This steak meat is much more expensive since wagyu cattle are rarely raised outside Japan, which also means that you probably won’t get to see much of this beef in your local grocery stores.
Kobe meat, also from Japan, is another pricey steak meat option. It can only be served boneless, but if your favorite steakhouse serves it otherwise, it probably isn’t the real deal.
- Steak Grade
Grading meat ensures that steaks are classified according to qualitative standards, with prime steaks at the very top. This steak grade is granted for meat taken from a healthy cow and is tender and juicier compared to others.
Next are the choice steaks, which are the second best in terms of quality. They are close to a prime steak’s perfection except for minimal flaws, possibly because these were taken from an older cow. These may also be less tender because of a slightly lower marbling capacity.
Select steaks, on the other hand, are third in terms of quality. Even so, these are considered your best bet when buying meat for steak in grocery stores.
Finally, standard steaks pertain to meat that is the most common and can be found wrapped in plastic in almost all grocery stores. Unlike the other three steak grades, this meat won’t have any marbling and has significantly less flavor and tenderness.
- Beef Aging
While most people prefer fresh meat for their steak, there are also those who want aged meat. Be it wet aging or dry aging, this process can produce a unique flavor in your steak.
Know Your Beef
Ordering the perfect steak won’t be challenging if you know the characteristics of the meat based on the different ways it is cooked. How do you like your steak best? Let us know in the comments.