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Nov 26, 2006 03:17 AM

Steaks - Straight (plain) or Sauced ?

I transferred some of my postings and replies to me from Eat Nopal from LA Board topic- "Which steakhouse gets it "right" regarding how the beef is cooked" because these are off original topic.

ilikefood replied: As for steaks - a good piece of meat just requires S&P (OK-Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper) , maybe rub w/ a little olive oil, maybe a garlic clove. Sear it on the outside short of charred keep it Med Red on the inside. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Served w/ NO steak sauces & THAT INCLUDES KETCHUP !

Eat Nopal replied:
I disagree with that premise. American Beef is very tender, but it is also fairly bland (both seem to be largely diametrical opposites in meat that is merely excellent)... as such it is easy to overwhelm.

But there is quality, grass-fed Angus beef from places like Sonora, New Zealand & Argentina that is much gamier, flavorful & robust enough to stand up to interesting sauces.

To date... these are my top steak eats... in no particular order:

Sonora Black Angus Filet Mignon in Gorgonzola Sauce (Medium Rare) at The Red Lobster in San Felipe, Baja California

New Zealand Venison Filet heavily peppered with Roasted Shallot-Wine Sauce (Rare) at Turner's Steakhouse in Costa Mesa, California

Argentinian Rib Eye in Bone Marrow Barbacoa sauce (Guacho Style Medium Rare) at Los Girasoles in Mexico City

Plain steaks... whether at Boa, Joe's, Michael's, Pinot & others... just do not come close to the perfect marriages above.

ilikefood responds:
Eat Nopal- Your top steak eats sound tasty. I realize my post may be misleading, but I like beef with finer sauces also. I am a “purist” in not wanting sauces (DEFINITELY not the A-1 variety I meant by “NO steak sauces ") on my steaks cooked at home and almost always at a restaurant. However, I like good finer sauces (i.e. French, gourmet), esp if their beef based (from deglazing, drippings, juices,- like to try bone marrow) with a sliced filet such as flatiron steak.

Also, you seem to support my “purist” opinion when you write-“American Beef easy to overwhelm.”. In referring to American beef as being ”merely excellent”. Plus, all your examples are non-American beef, but virtually 100% of the steaks we eat here are from American beef. Canadian beef is probably indistinguishable from comparable USA beef.

On the one hand I’d like to try Argentinian, Sonoran, New Zealand beef/steaks but I don’t want to risk being converted to the belief that good American beef (esp Prime Grade) is “fairly bland“, an opinion that I and the vast majority of American steak lovers would very much disagree w/. Also, I’m not driving to Costa Mesa* to try New Zealand beef, let alone go to Mexico to try Argentinian or Sonoran beef, which are banned from the US.

Finally, everybody has a right to their opinions and tastes. No one is right or wrong on this topic. But talking about steaks and sauces is almost as much fun as talking about sex, with neither coming close to actually experiencing either.

* Though I was tempted to jump in the car and head to Turner’s after seeing that photo of a great looking mouth watering cooked filet under “Gourmet Shop” on :

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  1. My personal choice: if American beef is bland, all the more reason not to overwhelm any beef flavor with "steak seasoning." Otherwise, just lick the seasoning out of the jar, or use it on some abomination like "tofurkey" or "quorn."

    Stronger-flavored beef (or buffalo, etc): revel in the straightforward beef taste - you don't get it often.

    1. Depends on the cut too. A filet mignon is very tender, but not very flavorful. That's why it's typically served with sauce, blue cheese, or topping like carmelized onions. Also, it's perfect for grilling because it needs that smoke to round out the flavor. By contrast, a good rib-eye has a lot more natural flavoring. A little salt and pepper and you're good to go. The cut and the cooking method determine the flavor profiles. Sauces and toppings are meant to accent and heighten flavors, so I wouldn't make a blanket statement about all beef in that regard.

      As for American Beef. It's mostly corn fed, which creates more marbeling (fat in the meat because it's not really healthy for the cow to eat corn). That accounts for the big difference in American vs. Argentinian Beef, which is grassfed. You can buy grassfed beef in the US now. Niman Ranch and Western Grasslands are two that I buy. It's definitely healthier for you to eat and has a nice flavor, but a lot of beef eaters have a hard time getting used to it.

      1. Just give me a perfectly cooked PH with some salt and a dash of pepper. I think that steak au poivre is abslutely way over the top as well, blah. Over the years I have tried some steak sauces (and ketchup) and just do not get the attraction. I think steak sauces taste better on chicken anyway.

        Likewise fries do not taste as well with steak sauce versus ketchup and the ketchup needs to be Heinz regular.

        I know I sound anal on these but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

        1. Put me squarely in the no-sauce camp. Give me a good, dry-aged steak with lots of salt and pepper and thats all i need.

          1. I like both. I agree with a previous poster, filet mignon with a well made Roquefort or Bordelaise sauce works for me. A nice strip steak with only salt and pepper is simply delicious.

            Do people really put ketchup on steak? I've never seen anyone do it...steak sauce, yes, but not regular old ketchup.

            3 Replies
            1. re: writergirl

              I'm sure there are people who put ketchup on steaks, but I was being sarcastic to emphasize my point that IMO using A-1 type sauces on a good steak is a waste of a good steak and the money spent on it. I also think the same of cooking a steak beyond Medium.
              There was a poster who in a review of a restaurant wrote that she not only sent her Kobe beef back to be well done but asked for A-1, and evidently she wasn't joking.

              1. re: ilikefood

                omg what a way to ruin kobe beef. on the bright side, kobe beef is so marbled that it might actually not have tasted all that bad.

                i have never understood the appeal of the astringent tasting A-1 sauce and chalked it up to the fact that I didn't grow up with steaks but looks like people here agree w/ me.

              2. re: writergirl

                Many, many people put ketchup on their steaks, especially those who grow up eating seriously sub-standard beef. If you butcher your own steers on a dairy farm, the meat ain't so awesome, and ketchup greatly enhances the dining experience.

                It's like growing up eating McDonald's: you never really lose your taste for it, though you long ago learned the pleasures of "real" food.

                But I only haul out the ketchup these days if the meat just isn't up to snuff, which isn't very often.