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Broiling Steak/Physics Majors Pls Respond

Convention wisdom has it that you should/must bring a steak to room temperature
before putting it under the broiler. WHY? This has never made sense to me.
Whichever cut looks best is what I buy, but never less than two (2) inches thick.

If it goes under the fire cold, it stays under the fire longer to bring it to a warm medium rare interior -- the longer it's under the fire the crustier the exterior is.

Ever read David Rosengarten, Dean & DeLuca foodie guru? He takes a good sirloin hamburger and buries an ice cube in the center for the purpose of attaining a medium rare interior with a dark crusty exterior. Sounds revolting to me! Why wouldn't there be water running out of it
when you either bite into it or break it open with a fork. It's basically my theory but w/out the icecube.

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  1. Does this help you at all:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo...

    9 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      link doesn't work for me.

      1. re: jaykayen

        Odd; worked for me again.

        Here's the abstract itself. Their rationale wasn't the same but it did give some interesting info:

        "Six steaks from each of 24 loins (from electrically stimulated and control sides of each of 12 steers) were thawed to produce steak temperatures of 2, 7,13,14,18 or 26°C just prior to cooking. After cooking to 70°C steaks with a starting temperature of 26°C were 30% more tender than those with a starting temperature of 2°C. Electrical stimulation increased tenderness of steaks from all treatments (an average of 23%), and no interaction was found between electrical stimulation and starting steak temperature. Tenderness and cooking loss can be optimized by electrically stimulating carcasses and by starting cookery when steaks have high internal temperatures."

        1. re: c oliver

          Mom,

          1 - please tell everyone you do not cook steak to 70C. Thats 154F or med-well.
          2 - how did they get the steak in the electric outlet? :-))

          1. re: jfood

            Yoohoo, everone,
            1 - I'm from a family that thought you should walk a cow past the fire and start slicing, put a bandaid on and it will get well!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            2 - very carefully. Cows kick :)

            Thanks, kid, for reining me in. I've obviously had too much lobster, clams and cod. My beef antennae are lowered.
            PS: If you fix clam chowder, would you please weigh in on my questions?

          2. re: c oliver

            Thanks for the link, but my attempt too got cookie-redirected.

            I'd like to see it in its entirety. Could you try clearing the cookie for that site, and send the link for the page that launches it?

            1. re: FoodFuser

              Now *I* can't get into it either :) I think I googled something like *steak room temperature*. It was just the abstract that I copied. But you could probably access the entire paper from that. It really was more about the tenderness of the meat.

            2. re: c oliver

              Wait, you mean we should be Tasing our steaks prior to cooking?

              This could add a whole new spin to the concept of engine-block grilling.

              1. re: Cinnamon

                Well, that whole electrocution process was a bit out there, wasn't it? But the temps of the various meats was what I was referring to.

            3. re: jaykayen

              It is trying to receive a cookie which has not been set.
              First do a right-hand mouse click on the this link and choose 'Copy link address' or whatever it is called in your browser....

              http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo...

              Now click on this link...

              http://www3.interscience.wiley.com

              The go to the address bar and paste in the link you copied and you should get there.

              Edit: You will also need session cookies enabled. If you think that a cookie is something that goes in the oven, then don't worry - the cookie monster will be set right.

          3. Here's my take. (I see there's one reply so far but haven't checked its link yet.) As elsewhere in cooking, the reasons may not be obvious but the upshot is sound. Broiling is probably the method I've used most for steaks of fish or meat, and unless very thin, I let them come up in temp., if not to room then at least above refrigerator temp.

            Technically you have a material with a certain specific heat (overall, heat capacity) and thermal resistance. (The material is nonlinear in this regard because the thermal resistance, aka theta, changes as it cooks; I don't think that's central to the following, though it may exacerbate it.) I believe the technical problem in cooking from fridge temps. is that more energy must then penetrate the outer material to elevate the inner to a given temperature. In practice, a widespread medium-rare cooking (or thereabouts) is harder to achieve that way, in my experience. The "gradient" inside is stronger, and it's not difficult to end up with dried outer material and raw inner. In fact, on occasions when I've gotten steaks like that from restaurants, it was a tip that (1) the meat was probably cooked directly from very cold, contrary to frequent restaurant practice and (2) the cook didn't know what he/she was doing. In general, but also in particular because experienced steak cooks often use touch. The same firming up that changes the theta also changes other mechanical properties; stress deformation changes from more plastic to more elastic. With experience, it's possible to pretty accurately cook steaks to typical preference by feeling the deformation and the onset of elasticity.

            ETA: Someone should point out to emeritus chemistry professors that metal has heat capacity, therefore you preheat broilers to bring the walls and other surfaces in a broiling oven to a radiative temperature. I mention this because one such professor declared in a newspaper column a few years ago that preheating broilers was completely unnecessary. This suggests to me that he had limited broiling experience as well as not allowing for the energy needed to bring a few kg of oven metal up to steady-state cooking temperature.

            1. This is not really a matter of physics.

              But you're going to lose more of the liquid in the meat the longer you have it over heat.

              1. crsommers, I agree with you. I have not been able to make scientific sense out of prewarming a steak prior to broiling. I suspect it may be an urban myth like not washing mushrooms. I monitor my steaks with thermometers when I make them and pan sear them in cast iron skillets- usually ribeyes. I think it is easier to get a rare to medium rare center with a cold steak and it takes longer so the char on the outside can develope a little more. Perhaps if I had a 1200 degrees infra red broiler I might have the outside cooked so fast that the inside would be very cold still. With veryt thick steaks I prefer to char the outside, remove from fire and rest to allow the carry over heat to distribute and finish in the oven at 225 or so while monitoring with a thernometer.

                6 Replies
                1. re: LRunkle

                  LRunkle, if you really want to test this, try it several times each: Broil directly from the refrigerator, vs after an hour or two letting the temperature come up toward room. I have, and so has the Journal of Food Science (above). I think you'll notice the difference if you look for it. Key point seems to be how far the internal temperature must move -- it's a shorter excursion if the steak doesn't start so cold. The problem with cooking rules is when people argue from dogma _and_ aren't willing to really test it.

                  N.B., Not washing mushrooms is stupid as dogma, but it has basis. Mushrooms are like sponges with microscopic texture, readily holding water. If you want them to start their cooking as dry as possible (for a quick saute etc.), clean them dry with a brush. If the water content doesn't matter (as in a soup), wash them. Easier to clean them well that way.

                  1. re: eatzalot

                    Nonsense - the mushroom myth was put to bed ages ago with controlled experiments that weighed dry mushrooms, washed mushrooms, and soaked mushrooms. No difference in weight, i.e., no water absorbed. It was either Harold McGee or Alton Brown - or more likely both, as most of Brown's stuff is just stolen from McGee.

                    1. re: FlyFish

                      it wasn't no water gain, but it was a small water gain

                    2. re: eatzalot

                      why are you bring my mom into it, no dogma in the argument.

                      Which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of lead. Whenthe inrnal temperature of a steak reached 135 it is done. Whenther is started from 34 or 70 degrees, it is now 135. Some dogma is poopie.

                      And every experiemnt jfood has read totally disproves the mushroom as sponge idea. And when you saute mushrooms, i.e. making a duxelle, you first must remove all the water already in the shroomers. Ever see what the liquid expulsion is for a pound of sliced mushrooms?

                      1. re: jfood

                        jfood, I don't know what you've read. I've read nothing on the subject, I've just been cooking mushrooms longer than you claim to've cooked steaks, and I figured it out for myself. Mushrooms cooking sweat more than enough internal moisture when they're cleaned dry. If you add more moisture, they sweat more. (Chanterelles are the worst this way, in my experience.)

                        Those of you convinced that bringing up the temperature before cooking steaks has NO benefits will have to break the news to all the professional cooks who have cooked a lot of steaks and think that it does. (Careful! They have knives. :-)

                        1. re: eatzalot

                          Let's just leave the mushroom to their darkness and feed them crap theory and concentrate on the steak.

                          If jfood was using a 1200 degree broiler to cook the steaks he would find it different than the home cook with a grill at less than half the BTUs. And that is a HUGE difference in the entire process. But with the home equipment as the pacing item, jfood will continue to maintain that bringing steaks to room temperature has no effect on the end product.

                          BTW - Jfood has knives as well and mrs jfood once hired a famous NY chef to give jfood a private in-house cooking lesson for his birthday. The chef was impressed with jfood's knife skills. Bring it on baby. :-))

                          Have a great sunday E.

                  2. jfood has been broiling and grilling steaks right out of the fridge for 40 years. Crisp outside, med-rare and juicy inside.

                    Always viewed this as an old wives tale and the emperors new clothes.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jfood

                      "jfood has been broiling and grilling steaks right out of the fridge for 40 years. Crisp outside, med-rare and juicy inside"

                      You and every restaurant in the US. The health department tends to frown just a tad on us storing decaying flesh even for a short time out side of HACCP temps. Not to mention that I don't think many customers would appreciate waiting the extra few hours for their steaks to warm up before they hit the broiler.

                    2. The relevant principle is heat transfer, which is a modeled by a partial differential equation. Without getting into any mathematical detail, when heat is applied to the exterior of a steak, it takes time for the heat to diffuse to the center. Intuitively, it makes sense that the colder the steak is, the longer it will take to get the center to the desired temperature.

                      Here's the problem with a very cold steak. You can get a crusty exterior, but the risk is that the region of well done meat will extend deeper towards the center. There is a way to mitigate this that we all know about. Resting the meat, which besides allowing the juices to be reabsorbed, gives time for the residual heat to keep migrating to the center. So the solution for a refrigerator cold steak is to cook at high heat, take it off more rare than you would a room temperature steak, and let it have a good rest.

                      I'm sure we've all been served a disappointing steak that looks well done almost all the way through with only a thin line of red at the center. Sure the temperature at the center might be 135. That's what happens when a very cold or frozen steak is poorly cooked.

                      30 Replies
                      1. re: PorkButt

                        Totally understand the elements of heat transfer Likewise there is the contrributing factor of whether the grill is closed or open. If the grill is open and the ambient temperature is 70 degrees while the heat source is located on the bottomonthe grill side, there will be a tremendous difference versus a steak grill with the cover down and the ambient temperature 350-400 degrees.

                        1. re: jfood

                          As I added earlier the process of cooking is a mainly a chemical one, not purely a physical one. You cannot apply straight heat transfer equations to a material which is undergoing dramatic chemical change. If you cook it then the length of time taken to cook does affect the texture and flavour. The initial temperature drastically affects the length of time to cook and the temperature 'profile' of the meat. As an extreme example, try cooking from frozen. There is more time for additional 'closer-to-the-surface' chemical reactions to take place the colder the steak.

                          I did try searing a frozen steak to see if I could induce pretty sear marks. I then allowed the meat to come to room temperature and cooked it.

                          It was not particularly successful.

                          1. re: Paulustrious

                            Although my doctorate is not in physics, I like to think that I understand that there is heat transfer from grill to center of meat. This is driven by Delta T, the difference between the temp of the fire and the center of the meat. I like a uniform medium rare throughout the depth of the meat, as opposed to more cooked the closer to the surface, or a gradient. The method of warming to room temp before cooking lessens the contrast in temp (Delta T). On a thick (3 lb. rib steak, 2") I cut off the top muscle near the end of the cooking, around 115. Grill another 5 degrees and let rest at least 10 min.

                             
                             
                             
                             
                            1. re: phantomdoc

                              We appear to be violently agreeing here. Just a BSc in Mechanical and Aeronautical engineering here, and then working in the aircraft industry - did a reasonable amount of thermo and heat transfer stuff. Of course, there is heat transfer. So simplistically our infinite uniform planar steak would transfer heat with a formula approximating

                              α.δT+ β.δT.δT

                              ...where the delta T is the temperature difference of the outside of the meat and the inside.

                              This would be fine and dandy for a lump of steel in a steady state. Unfortunately the constants aren't. Not only would they change as the temperature rises, but as the steak cooks, they would change radically as the chemical composition alters.

                              My suspicion is that the method chosen depends of one's taste. I am not a great fan of 'blackened' exteriors, but others are. So I allow meat to rise to near room temperature before cooking.

                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                We agree a good steak should be cooked from room temp. Now how cold should the beer that goes with it be?

                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                  I'm British.

                                  Don't ask.

                                  You wouldn't believe my answer anyway.

                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                    I'm asking.

                                    (Either to laugh or to make note, because the beer is definitely better in Britain, even if you guys are seriously impaired on proper drink temperatures, like that continent next door.)

                              2. re: phantomdoc

                                "I like a uniform medium rare throughout the depth of the meat, as opposed to more cooked the closer to the surface, or a gradient."

                                Then you must not have been very happy with those steaks. The steak in your photo is cooked uneven. It's obvious it was cooked the vast majority of the time on one side. The steak is M+ coming down from the top edge but MR from the middle all the way to the bottom edge. Additionally your steak is pushing Rare in the lower right corner while it is pushing Medium on the left hand side.
                                Cutting a steak part way through the cooking process is a cardinal sin not to mention cooking on huge flare ups either of which will greatly impact your ability to cook a steak evenly.

                                1. re: Fritter

                                  I did not cut through muscle, I separated the two distinct muscles. The steak was juicy, tender and delicious.

                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                    You cut the cap off after you started cooking it no matter how you slice it. The cap is part of the rib eye or prime rib. If you are going to remove the cap the norm is to remove it prior to cooking especially when using steaks from the chuck end so you remove some fat helping to avoid those nasty flare ups that create so many problems.
                                    While your steak may have been tender it certainly was not cooked a uniform medium rare as you describe but rather the exact way you stated you do NOT want your steaks to come out , IE ;
                                    "more cooked the closer to the surface".
                                    Again I'm not trying to be unpleasant here but I'm at a loss of what your trying to show as your results are the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve.

                                    1. re: Fritter

                                      I see some variation from surface to center, but less, much less than if cooked right from fridge. Alas, all that is left are the memories, pics and posts.

                                      1. re: phantomdoc

                                        No PhD here Just 30+ years as a professional Chef and all I can say is you surely see some thing very different than I do. If my guys served a steak like that once they would get a cooking lesson, twice a come to Jesus meeting and after that the rules of Baseball apply. That steak is unevenly cooked and it has nothing to do with pre-salting or whether it was pulled from the fridge or sat on the counter for hours in advance.

                                        1. re: Fritter

                                          I admit it. I'm out of my league. Just a lowly amateur who likes to cook and eat.

                                          1. re: phantomdoc

                                            Phantom, I share your pain as a fellow amateur who simply hopes that each steak I make will be better than the last one.

                                            In that vein it would be welcome for those who critcize to rather put forth a pictorial tutorial, even a youtube vid, since they are seasoned professionals. If they would make the choice to instruct us in their honed and perfected methods for TPS (The perfect steak), it would help all of us in perfecting the way that each of us like to approach our own TPS.

                                            Hopefully the video would include quantitative info on temperatures, (initial and applied heat), salting, weight and thickness of the meat, sensing when the preferred Medium rare is achieved, cross-section of the finished product, etc.

                                            That would help us much more, and be more within the spirit of Chowhound, than to present a series of posts that criticizes another's good efforts.

                                            And doc, your pictured rib steak passed the muster of my "right elbow reflex" test. When I see a pic of a steak, if it's one I'd want to devour, then my right elbow jerks subconscously and uncontrollably, to reach for the steak knife. Bonus points since there was twitching in the left hand, seeking the fork. Olfactory response was also present, as my favored sauce of horseradish-A1-mayo filled my senses.

                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                              "In that vein it would be welcome for those who critcize to rather put forth a pictorial tutorial"

                                              How about some basic cooking friendly advice?
                                              1) If you have a flare up or grill fire get your product off the grill until you get the fire under control. Clean the grill, start over. You never cook a steak on a flare up.
                                              2) Don't cut your steak apart half way through. It's not going to cook evenly.
                                              That includes removing the cap on a rib eye.
                                              3) Don't cook a steak 90% of the way through on one side. It won't be evenly cooked.

                                              "include quantitative info on temperatures, (initial and applied heat), salting"

                                              Steaks come out of the cooler in a restaurant in the USA operating to the letter of the law at under 45 degrees. Cooking temps vary by a huge margin depending on equipment but most swing broilers and infra-red units operate between 1850-2000 degrees. As for salting not even Chef's agree. No steak house I'm aware of in the USA has a SOP of salting steaks hours in advance then bringing them up to temps above HACCP requirments before cooking.
                                              As for photos lets take another look at that steak. I don't have the worlds greatest photo software but I think even with a standard crop any one can see that steak is burnt, and I mean to a cinder on the right and raw on the left. That is the result of cooking over a flare up but hey the photo with the grill on fire looks cool I guess.
                                              Pre-salting or pre heating yield minimal improvements at best and can not even under the best of circumstances conceal improper cooking.

                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                I guess the pic is deceiving,
                                                There was no burnt to a cinder bite in any of the 6 lbs. of meat. Each bite was juicy and delicious from the bottom of the bone,(my personal favorite part) The entire rib eyes (mostly for Mrs. Doc) and the deckle, (mostly mine again)
                                                The part that looks raw to you had just been cut, not finished. I guess i will have to load the last of the series of pics. I would appreciate advice from other pros too, and armatures. Please chime in with comments.
                                                As to you Jfood. I always enjoy your posts, but, it is not my intention to provide you with food porn, haha.

                                                 
                                                 
                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                  "The part that looks raw to you had just been cut, not finished"

                                                  I'll buy that as I can see where you removed the cap but the area to the right is very black.
                                                  Setting all of that aside you can clearly see your steak was primarily cooked on one side and is done from the top down. This is specifically what you stated you were trying to avoid and I'm doing my best here to help show you ways to avoid that. For a steak that thick you will get a more even cook by searing or marking on the grill and then finishing in the oven which is SOP in many restaurants.

                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                    Ok, so when cooking outdoors after searing I should move it to cooler part of the grill?

                                                    1. re: phantomdoc

                                                      Yes and with a super thick steak like this you may not want your initial sear to be as complete as a thinner steak. A 3# rib eye is a small roast so if your grill closes you can benefit from that as well. I've seen the photos of your other steaks and they were cooked perfectly. A fillet or tenderloin is another example of a steak that just doesn't finish nearly as well under a broiler or 100% on the grill as in the oven with a more even controlled heat from all sides. Most restaurants mark them on the broiler but finish them in the oven (except petite fillets or Pittsburgh Rare).
                                                      If you try this again you may want to consider doing a tomahawk to your rib eyes. Remove your cap and most of the fat then french the bone. This removes a huge portion of fat on a rib eye and reduces the likely hood of a flare up. You can also ask your butcher for steaks cut from the sirloin end of the Rib so you get a smaller fat eye than the Chuck end but unless you have hit a sale you will probably be better off buying a whole bone in rib eye, aging it in the cryo and cutting your own steaks. It's very easy to remove the chine bones on a rib and cut your own steaks. 6# for your two steaks was approximatley 50% of an average rib after the chine bones were removed.

                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                        Thanks for that reply. T^he steaks were a sale at $5/lb. but were custom cut to my request. Your frenched steak looks very nice but it seems to be missing my favorite part of rib steak, chewing the meat off the bone. I guess I am a peasant at heart, or maybe part dog, or in this case hound. I will strive avoid flair up in the future. One trick I have devised when grilling porterhouse steak is to put a foil shield under the fillet after searing to slow the heat under the smaller muscle so that both sides are ready at the same time. Thanks again Fritter.

                                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                                          That's a very good idea with the Porterhouse. I have two dry aged PH's waiting for tomorrow evening.
                                                          If you ever make it to the greater Detroit area drop me an email. We'll throw some steaks on the BGE and I'll have you converted to charcoal before you go home.
                                                          .

                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                            An offer I can't refuse.

                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                              Umm, I get to Detroit on occasion...hint hint

                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                Hey drop me a line.
                                                                My email is in my profile just be sure you put your CH handle in the title so It doesn't hit the junk mail bin! :)

                                    2. re: Fritter

                                      OK, here's another take on flareups: you can use them to your advantage. Sometimes when I haven't cleaned my gas Weber off very thoroughly, the grease buildup on the lower grates flares up. It's usually in one area, though, so if I move the steaks off to another part of the grill - away from the flames, that is - and close the cover, the heat from the flareup really cranks up the ambient heat inside the grill, cooking the steaks really fast. I mean, probably less than 5 minutes for a 2-inch thick ribeye fast. I take them off on the rare side of rare, by feel, and let them rest; they're so hot at that point that after a nice 10-minute rest they're perfectly medium-rare all the way through, with just a nice crust on the outside: basically the Platonic ideal of a well-cooked steak. Of course, it's a fine line between perfection and disaster, so you gotta be careful. It takes a bit of nerve, and an ability to withstand the waves of heat coming off your grill (beer helps), but if you do it right the results are great.

                                      1. re: Bat Guano

                                        Yes, flare-ups can be fun. To do the dance between on-flame and off-flame is good. It connects me with ancestors who had worked hard to bring down the game and hack off the joint of meat with napped flint tools.

                                        In these days of thermostatic calibration of our various infrared oven-salamander-gas grill tools, I sometimes take solace in collecting the downfalled limbs of the oak in my front yard, and build a fire that rages hot then reduces to red coals. At that point I apply the slab of factory-produced meat directly to the coals, with a modern grill-grate on the side, which receives it for resting during this caveman-cooking dance.

                                        There is a place for flare-ups. As we gathered in a circle long ago around the intense fire, and watched this newly butchered meat, flare-ups gave light, flare-ups meant fat and we knew that the fat meant heavy food as a reward for our hunting labors. I imagine the dance of the designated pitmaster (a position earned through long success over long time, now entrusted with this hunting harvest), and the eewws and aahhs of the hungry crowd as he balanced the meat twixt the flaring flame and the resting perimeter.

                                        There are lots of ways to cook the perfect steak, that meet our own definitions. Mastering the variables is why we share our knowledge here.

                                        I'm gazing at that oak-limb woodpile.

                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                          Interesting vision. I can see you all dancing naked in the flickering light. Charcoal henna figures whooping every time a flare erupts. Unfortunately in my part of suburbia this is not really an option.

                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                            You need to pick your self up a copy of "Seven Fires". Right now Costco is carrying the book.
                                            I will warn you the author feels the same way about flare ups as most of us. Of course there is a bit of difference between a grill grate loaded with grease burning and a flare up over a wood fire. Once you lose the loin cloth and pop back into this century cooking on grates burning with grease ignited by a flare up is probably not any ones ideal. A squirt bottle filled with water can come in mighty handy for such occasions.

                                            http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Fires-Gri...

                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                              I have seen Alton Brown throw a slab of meat right on the coals, no grate. I think it was skirt steak.

                                            2. re: Bat Guano

                                              "beer helps"

                                              Truer words were never spoken!

                                  2. If what you want is dark, crusty outside and rare inside, then start it cold. As you note, starting cold means its on the fire longer.

                                    But if you what a more uniform doneness inside and out, then start it warm.

                                    Starting warm makes more sense for someone who wants medium to well done meat. That science article demonstrates that such meat will be more tender, than if it started cold. The less time it takes to get the interior to the inside, the less chance there is that the outside will over done.

                                    1. Two major points seem to emerge from the 1981 Texan Beef Ag School article that has been provided early in this thread by C Oliver:

                                      {"Six steaks from each of 24 loins (from electrically stimulated and control sides of each of 12 steers) were thawed to produce steak temperatures of 2, 7,13,14,18 or 26°C just prior to cooking. After cooking to 70°C steaks with a starting temperature of 26°C were 30% more tender than those with a starting temperature of 2°C. Electrical stimulation increased tenderness of steaks from all treatments (an average of 23%), and no interaction was found between electrical stimulation and starting steak temperature. Tenderness and cooking loss can be optimized by electrically stimulating carcasses and by starting cookery when steaks have high internal temperatures."}

                                      1) Electrical stimulation (ES) of the carcass is an important component of final tenderness. This process takes place, just after death, on the killing floor, where electrodes are placed usually at the throat and the ankle. I've seen figures as high as 550 volts at 5 amperes.

                                      Remember the almost-urban-legend of the twitching dead frog in the now quasi-clandestine Biology 101 experiment? Muscles are enervated by nerves (fibril by fibril), and nerves are electrical in function. Meat suppliers are trying to find a way where, once electrical supply from the now-dormant brain is shut down upon killing, they can supply electrical stimuli to move the muscles fibers into a best final "position" where they afford greatest tenderness of tissue and other advantages for presentation at market.

                                      So, this is something that is done while the neurons are still functioning soon after death. Once the decay of those neural pathways has set in, electrical stimulation offers no benefit. In other words, there is no reason to rig a cathode-anode contraption to your 220 voltage just to zap a steak 2 weeks dead.

                                      It would be interesting to survey your your preferred purveyor/butcher as to whether the source carcass was ES'd, and if so, at what voltage or amperage. Are we chuckling yet?
                                      Yet deep back in the wholseale chain, these figures must be well discussed, as preferential selling points. Does this merit investigation? Many hounds have huffed with pride that they only buy from a butcher they know, but does that butcher know the full wholesale trail of his meat? If tenderness was increased 23% by ES, is it worth bringing ES to the table in our quest for the finest steak?

                                      2) Base temperature from which grilling ensues.
                                      This is the component that we can do something about. And this is the one that we will argue about. Based mostly upon "the way I've always done it, and got good results."

                                      For me, I'm glad that at this point in a fairly successful steak-life, I am for the first time presented with real data regarding the time-temperature curve of heat application and the resultant tenderness. (And there must be more data out there... there are billions of dollars in this industry and they want to know). I will modify my next steak preparation from my older method to fit these credible results.

                                      Please rebut, augment, or hopefully present more data. For example, thickness of the cut has not been discussed, but is of extreme importance in temperture movement over time. It would be interesting to see peered references for e.g. "linear regression of plotted curves of temperature penetration of beef loin, at incremental thicknesses". Also, the cited study collected rheological data for steaks at 70 degrees C; it would be nice to see the data for the Medium rare/Rare zones too.

                                      Let's don't "regress" to the normal numerous mundane steak threads based on "this is how I've got good results". Good results are easy. Let's go for great. Let's see data.

                                      1. If I want a black and blue baseball cut top siroin my husband saves back big pieces of beed fat scraps and builds an inferno pile on the grill with them. When it is just about out of control he makes a hole in the center and plops in the meat. It is fantastically charred on the outside, but a cold beauty on the inside. No freezing necessary. I imagine the same can be done for a regular thick steak!

                                        Now, as for grilling fresh from the fridge or semi frozen steaks. Here is my take. The main good reasons for not doing this is that they take longer to cook and most assuredly will not cook evenly. They are more likely to be colder on once side than the other. That means that it will be cooked more thoroughly on one side and then the rarer section will be closer to the other side. I suppose that last bit can be overcome by suspending the steak in a bag, perfectly flat within a ziploc in a vat of ice water. But what a bunch of silliness.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                          Do I connect the grounding jumper cable to the side of the grill?

                                          1. re: Cinnamon

                                            I have a microcurrent machine that I use in my practice to treat muscle injuries. Maybe my steaks can benefit.

                                            1. re: phantomdoc

                                              True story...in 1974 jfood started college and he took with him a gadget that youplaced prongs in the two ends of a hot dog and plugged it into an electric socket. The electrocuted the hot dog.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                I have seen forks put in a pickle hooked up to ac outlet and the pickle lights up.

                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                  cool, with appropriate disclaimer.

                                                2. re: jfood

                                                  Really easy to make one of these hot-dog cookers, by the way; I did it about the same time period. All you need is a couple of large nails, a piece of wood, and an electrical cord with the female end cut off and the wires stripped... maybe not, perhaps, the safest of kitchen appliances, and the hot dogs really didn't taste very good cooked on it, either. Never tried using it to tenderize meat, though.

                                                  1. re: Bat Guano

                                                    Gary Gilmore baby...let's do it.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKG2rG...

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        Gary Gilmore chose a firing squad, the last to do so.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          Heartening to know that in Utah you get a choice!

                                            2. A little late comming to the party, but I got this e-mail from Lobel's, a very high end butcher shop on the high priced upper east side of Manhattan. They do mail order prime meats.

                                              http://www.lobels.com/recipe/PerfectS...

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                                Just hold on to your wallet. There are other high end butchers on line as well but you will pay dearly.

                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                  Lobel's is a great butcher, but they lost all credibility as a reliable recipe source in the first few lines. "Seal in the juices"? Sure.

                                                  1. re: embee

                                                    Are you thinking as per Alton Brown's experiment of how much of the juice is retained due to searing?

                                                    1. re: Paulustrious

                                                      Which Harold McGee wrote about in Curious Cook much earlier.

                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                        I was thinking of McGee. The sizzling of juices expelled from the meat were embarrassingly obvious when I thought about. Can't beat the seared flavour, though.