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Pittsburgh steak

  • c

Have heard about this style of steak, almost burned on the outside and rare inside - would like tips on how to cook it, season it, either on a grill or via cast iron in an oven...

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  1. I love steak cooked "Pittsburgh" - also known as "black and blue". It's virtually impossible to do well at home unless you have real commercial equipment or a very high-end gas grill. I've tried many times, and it just isn't the same as you get at a restaurant that really knows what they're doing. If you want to try, it's absolutely essential that the steak be thick - at least 2" - and that you use the hottest fire you can get, preferably outdoors. I was told that you can make up for not having the right equipment by starting with a frozen steak, in effect overcooking the outside while just thawing the middle - I've tried that and it's just not the same. I never use any seasoning but salt on a good steak, however cooked.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FlyFish

      Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a go, and make sure to try it at a restaurant to get the full effect.

      1. re: FlyFish

        I have a tripod propane gas rig for frying turkeys, boiling crawfish, brewing beer, etc. If you have one, get a big cast iron skillet. You can get the skillet white hot on the propane burner, and cook a steak in this manner w/o freezing. I don't use any oil, but I do dry rub beforehand. Finish the steaks to correct temp in a 500 deg oven, in a different pan. Top with butter. If you need more info, let me know.

        1. re: rudeboy

          I've been meaning to get one of those bad boys for a long time - this may be what finally makes me go for it. Thanks for the tip.

          1. re: FlyFish

            The steaks are only in the pan for about 1 and a half minutes per side to get a good, dark char, FYI. About 7-8 min in the oven for a 1.5 inch steak. Don't throw the cast iron skillet in the oven, as it is too hot. Transfer to a hotel pan.

            1. re: rudeboy

              Thanks for that - trying this tomorrow night...

      2. i have come close, my bbq has enough btu's to take the temperature to approx 800*. i would leave a cast iron pan in the bbq while it's firing at max for around 20 mins, oil the steak and lay it on the super hot cast iron. as noted, the thickness of the steak makes a huge difference. a 2 inch cut will work very well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dave

          Wow- that's hot - approx. how long per side?

          1. re: Claire

            i like it very crusty. after the steak is put into the pan, i leave it alone for about 5 mins. at that point, i may flip it or leave it for another 1 or 2. the second side will get no more than 5 mins. it cooks rather quickly because i do close the cover to keep in the heat.

        2. "Pittsburgh rare" is how I have filet mignon prepared when dining in a good restaurant. I've been eating that cut of meat prepared that way for over 30 years. It is called "black and blue" up in Maine.

          Here's how it's done either in a restaurant or at home. Two cast-iron skillets are heated to almost glowing red hot. The filet is put in one skillet and the other skillet is put on top with outside bottom touching the top surface of the meat. When the meat stops sizzling and a nice crust is formed on both surfaces, it's done. At least that's how I saw it prepared on TV.

          The meat is very rare in the middle. If it is prepared correctly and the cut of meat is good, no sauce is needed. I prefer the meat marinated in teriyaki sauce prior to cooking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChiliDude

            This is how I would cook a steak black and blue. Also, you might have more success if you don't bring the steak up to room temperature before you cook it. Take it out of the fridge, oil it slightly, then coat it liberally with salt and pepper. After about 2-4 minutes, you should get what you want.
            Also, make sure the steak is reasonably thick. You'll have a tough time getting a steak black and blue if you use a cut less than an inch, maybe even an inch and a half, thick.

            1. re: Evan

              Yes, I agree with you about the thickness of the steak. I'm guilty of assuming that people know that a filet mignon should be at least 1 1/2" thick.

              I make teriyaki sauce at home with soy sauce which is already quite salty. Besides the soy sauce, the other ingredients are dry vermouth, fresh gingerroot and garlic, and brown sugar.

          2. 1
            1 wiener hound

            I have heard about this style of cooking steak and have always wanted to try it. I was born in the South and live in SC so when I would ask for steak cooked "Pittsburgh Rare" the server's gets this attitude like "if you want it that way why don't you go back up there." Thank you for asking the question. I will be asking one of my bubba buddies to borrow their Turkey Frying, Frogmore Stewing, Black & Bluesing, Pittsburgh Rareing, propane burning outfit and finally get to try it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: 1 wiener hound

              Tried the steak last night, taking a little from everyones advice - used thick strip steaks (about 2"), heated iron skillet on my grill (only goes up to 600d) for 20 mins., used oil, s&p on steaks, threw them in skillet for about 4 mins. per side, then just brought them in to rest. Nice crust on outside, redredred inside, but think I would leave my skillet on longer to see if it would have desired effect...also like the idea of heating 2 skillets, then putting one on top of the steaks. Will try again, and will also make a point to ask for steak this way out at a good restaurant to see how it is really done.

              1. re: 1 wiener hound

                when you try it, post back up top so we will all see it!