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Mar 1, 2007 04:12 PM

Black and Blue Steak VS Medium Rare

I am a steak lover and always get medium rare because I love a nice red center and a charred outside. My friend told me that he gets his steaks "black and blue" which means charred and crisp on the outside and rare on the inside. Just wanted to know what the big difference between the two is? And also will top steakhouses know what "black and blue" means?

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  1. Yes, top steakhouses will indeed know what black and blue means. Medium rare, on the other hand, does not mean nice red center and a charred outside. It means more - nice red center, surrounded by dark pink, with a grilled outside. The big thing for black and blue is that it is grilled/seared over very high heat for a short period of time. It is mostly raw in the middle, with only the outside charred to a bit of a crisp. Bring rare into the equation; it is like black and blue, but not charred to a crisp. Just grilled regularly.

    1. This is also referred to as "Pittsburg," though I don't know why. Some places can't get their flattop hot enough to acheive this, though. I have ordered my steaks "Pittsburg Rare" at a few different restaurants, and it's surprising to me that only one place hasn't known what that was. When done correctly with a beautiful piece of meat, it's delicious.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Non Cognomina

        It's called "Pittsburgh Rare" because in Pittsburgh steel mill days the workers would bring meat to work for lunch and cook it on the hot metal. It would only take a few seconds to cook as the metal was so hot and it would be charred on the outside and basically raw on the inside.

        1. re: Non Cognomina

          In areas other than Pittsburgh, it means a charred outside compared to a light charring.
          Thus you may have it anyway inside but Pittsburghed means thick char outside.

        2. Black and Blue isn't charred outside, rare inside. It is charred outside, raw inside. It has a cold red, raw, slippery center, not a warm red center.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            First thing I thought as well. Blue refers to the temp as in "COLD."

          2. I'm not sure I'd make the switch directly from medium rare to black and blue. Thats a big jump. Think of black and blue steak the same way you'd think of a seared tuna steak. Crusty on the outside but cold and raw in the middle. I believe the difference between rare and black and blue is that rare is a cool/slighly warm red center while black and blue is a cold red center.

            Years ago I ate my steak medium rare but as I got older and ate more steak I kept progressing more and more towards rare. First I asked for rare-medium rare or sometimes it was known as rare plus. Now, I just get rare. Haven't gone to black and blue yet but I feel thats my next progression. the only problem I have occasionally with ordering steak rare is that sometimes it will not be cooked long enough to develop that nice crust I love.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ESNY

              ESNY, great take on the steak. Crescendo decline to the charred outside and inside of rare,
              Steak eaters story.

              1. re: ESNY

                Make the and blue is sooo good!

              2. I was born in Pittsburgh and moved to LA at a young age and my parents have always served filet mignon and it was always cooked charred on the outside and rare on the inside. I used to order rare-medium rare but it really wasn't prepared exactly how I like it. A few years ago, I discovered the term "Black and Blue/Pittsburgh style" on the menu at a very high end steak house. Now I always order "Black & Blue" and get my steak exactly how I like it. I've only had to explain it a few times.

                1 Reply
                1. re: naymack

                  This sounds just like my experience, although I grew up in LA - this is how my parents always cooked steak for me and I could never get a steak cooked "properly" in a restaurant, even when I asked for really, really rare and promising them I meant it. I recently started ordering my steaks "black and blue" to ensure the steak is TRULY rare - cold in the middle. I was forever getting something closer to medium rare or even - GAH- medium, and I hate to send things back, especially when it's not easily fixed but they have to actually start all over again. It seems like a terrible waste, even though it is the restaurant's fault. I find I do actually enjoy having the little bit of char on the outside. Turns out, this is how I've always enjoyed having them at home - we just have a VERY hot grill/smoker that gets a great sear on a steak (now we have a Big Green Egg and that can really get a great sear).