"Correct" way to have steak: Rare or Medium Rare?
The correct way to eat anything is however you happen to prefer it...preferably (but not necessarily) after giving the alternatives an open-minded try-out.
As someone who insisted on well-done for the first 20 years of his life--and had some VERY pleasurable beef-eating experiences in spite of that--I think the concept of "correctness" for an aesthetic issue like this is pretty silly. Even well-done does not mean "bone dry"...a good steakhouse can leave your meat lightly pink and not dry it out. And as long as it ain't all dried-out (which I think is universally shunned), vive la difference.
Meats of varying degrees of doneness have different characteristics, and there is a place for all of them (depends on cut, preparation, quality, your mood). Much South American steak is prepared quite well-done, and dismissing the cooking tradition of an entire continent as "incorrect" is ridiculous IMO.
No one should EVER feel ashamed for ANYTHING they enjoy eating. Enjoyment is the whole point, and we're trying to open up here, not close down.
re: Jim Leff
>As someone who insisted on well-done for the first 20 years of his life--and >had some VERY pleasurable beef-eating experiences in spite of that--I think the >concept of "correctness" for an aesthetic issue like this is pretty silly.
First of all, I'd like to make clear that I am by no means trying to dictate how people should eat steak or saying that there is a "correct" way. That's why correct was placed in parenthesis in the first place. I agree with everyone that eating should always be to ones own taste.
Having said that, I had intended the initial post to be more of a philosophical question than a practical one. Kant maintained that beauty was an inherent quality and not something that could be randomly assigned by different people. ASSUMING that there is some validity to Kant's proposal, what would be your stance on "what doneness gives steak--the same piece of steak--the most flavor".
It seems most people are arguing that the aesthetic quality lies in the meat itself and that it doesn't matter how you cook it, the meat will always turn out beautiful...
Sorry if I wasn't clear, but I was asking which level of doneness would yield the most flavor. I argue that medium rare gives you a nicer crust on the outsides and the marbled fat in the cooked zone melts to give the steak more flavor. However, you still have the cool rare center for a contrasting textural and flavor aspect.
I could like it cooked until bone dry, but I think we would agree that bone dry isn't the best way to have quality steak.