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Mar 16, 2008 02:15 PM

How do you eat a steak?

Regardless of the cut, or how well you want it prepared, how do you cut up and eat a steak?

Let's say you've ordered a filet (just for purposes of argument), what do you do first?

1. Cut it in half? Inspect it's the right level of doneness, then proceed to cut and devour each half accordingly?

OR ...

2. Just simply cut off bite size pieces from the edges and work your way through the entire filet?

I'm told that No. 1, above, is preferred (or correct?) because it allows the diner to inspect that the steak is cooked properly and by cutting it open it stops the cooking process.

Conversely, I've also heard that No. 2 is better because it allows the diner to enjoy the steak through varying levels of doneness, from the charred outer layer to the soft and tender center core, which, depending on your perspective, allows you the best of both worlds. More importantly, by not cutting it open it allows the steak to retain its juices.


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  1. jfood slices a radius from one side and takes a peek inside for doneness. If correct he goes counterclockwise from the cut.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I always cut into mine first because it HAS to be well done without a tinge of pink. If it's fine I eat from the outside in but really couldn't say if it was clockwise or anticlockwise.

      1. re: smartie

        if you hold the knife in your right hand probably counter, if in the left probably clockwise

        1. re: smartie

          How sad for you, in whichever direction you choose to eat it...I hope you don't spend too much money doing that to a nice piece of beef

        2. re: jfood

          jfood, we are sometimes in accord, as there are 4-leaf clovers. I practice the same method, except when eating lamb in Australia, I move clockwise. Has to do with the left hand driving; not the swirl of the drains.

        3. A filet is a long way down on the list of my favorite steaks, but cutting it in half (or any steak) is only viable, in my opinion, for those who eat their steaks in the range of medium to well done. For rare to medium rare, you will be draining the juices out all over your plate. In this era of crouton-less filets, that's not a good plan.

          My preferred steaks, depending on plans after dining, are anything with a rim of fat around it and well marbled. I like them super charred on the outside and rare to medium rare on the inside.Then I study the steak for the very best first bite that will have a nice segment of well seared fat and a nice tender bite of steak all in one fell swoop. You have to choose the first bite with care, because it is, nearly without exception, going to be the best bite of the meal. Disappoint your tastebuds with a poorly chosen first bite and the whole meal is a wash.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            Caroline1 is exactly right. Press down on the steak with your thumb to test for doneness. The harder the steak, the more done. Cutting in half will lose juices and make it cool more quickly. If you are eating a NY strip, start at the small end that has a tail of fat while the fat is still hot. It will never be better. And if you eating a ribeye, eat a good chunk of the outside strip of meat that isn't really fatty, but has incredible tenderness and flavor. Those are the only two cuts of steak worth eating anyway.

            1. re: steakman55

              "If you are eating a NY strip, start at the small end that has a tail of fat while the fat is still hot. It will never be better. And if you eating a ribeye, eat a good chunk of the outside strip of meat that isn't really fatty, but has incredible tenderness and flavor."

              You are SO right!!

              So I look for that wonderful little bit at the end of my NY strip, start there, and work my way in. Yum!

            2. re: Caroline1

              Caroline - I dare say that that second paragraph is pure poetry.

              I can feel my taste buds tearing up in complete empathy.

              1. re: Panini Guy

                Thank you! You know, I don't think most people realize how critical the fat is to flavor, most especially when broiling. It's the smoke from the fat being charred that wraps itself around the steak and flavors it. If you have a good fat char working for you, then hold the hickory or mesquite or applewood 'cause you don't need them! And when you can find it, real charcoal (as opposed to briquets) really makes a flavor difference too.

                I used to buy steaks from a butcher shop that had good beef, for wet cured, but I couldn't seem to convince them to leave the margin of fat around a Porterhouse that I wanted. I would tell them to leave an inch of fat but when I got home and opened the package, they had it trimmed down to 1/4 inch! I finally stopped shopping there.

                Wow! I just looked it up on the web and 3 ouces of beef rib with fat on has 71mg of cholesterol. 3 ounces of boiled shrimp has 147mgs!!! I guess I'm gonna kiss my guilt goodbye next time I'm putting a nice bite of Porterhouse with fat attached into my mouth! I may give up shrimp altogether in favor of a nice piece of well charred beef fat! '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  I have to agree.Your post drove me crazy too!!

                  1. re: raf945

                    Hey! Then it is true that the pen is mightier than the... ... fork? '-)

                  2. re: Caroline1

                    and just try to get any butcher to save the beef fat for rendering into suet. must be some FDA thing.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Many people are worried about the fat level of fat.

                      1. re: kindofabigdeal

                        since you mention it, out of curiosity has anyone really studied the fat level of fat?

                        1. re: hill food

                          rumor has it that its quite high, but that's probably just more propaganda from those liberal, granola eating, raw food healthnuts in the NW.

                          1. re: kindofabigdeal

                            sorry KoaBD, but that just sounds overly simplified.

                            1. re: hill food

                              I feel pretty sure that how good or bad the fat analysis is will depend entirely on the diet of the critter it comes from. Grass fed beef has all those good Omega 3s, and stuff like that. A feed lot critter raised on baled hey ain't gonna test too well. But hey, how many meals a day/week/month do you have beef fat for your main course? Gotta live it up once in a while!

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                I'm totally in favor of living it up. as long as we all admit that's what it is. If someone wants to imbibe a cup of olive oil, so be it. but it doesn't make it a health drink.

                  3. re: Caroline1

                    Oh yes - great char on the outside, rare inside (actually, I like them almost blue - when I worked at a steakhouse we called this "Pittsburgh style" - black and blue) Something to do with the Steelers, I understand. I really can't understand people who like well-done steaks - no juice, no texture, and way less flavour. As a waiter, I was trained to tell people who ordered medium-well to well-done steaks that we couldn't guarantee the tenderness of the final dish.

                    My grandmother used to cook beautiful roasts of beef so well done that they didn't have a hint of juice. I used to drown it in gravy just to make it edible.

                  4. Huh. Never heard of slicing it in half. Never occured to me. I always just work my way through one bite at a time. I order it rare so if it is overdone a bit it will *hopefully* only get to med. rare by the time it's on the table and I'm eating it. Agreed that slicing it in two is much more suited to the "well done" crowd.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: diablo

                      I certainly would never slice it in two, just a slice to the centre to check for well-doneness. I think it would be bad manners to cut it in half.

                    2. i'm a rare-plus fan, so slicing it in half would send all those beautiful juices running thanks.

                      i look for the thinnest exterior part and slice a piece off there, because if they've managed not to overcook it at that point, it should be nice & rare in the center.

                      1. Just simply cut off bite size pieces from the edges and work your way through the entire filet. Cutting it in half will result in juices flowing out and the steak cooling to quickly. I must say that I am not a fan of Filet, it is tender but kind of dry and mushy, I prefer sirlion...