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Do you eat, and enjoy, your steak rare?

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If so, may I ask what the appeal is?

When I say rare, I mean internal temp of 120F and the meat is still bright red and near raw.

I'm not talking tartare where it's either finely minced (or chopped), or sliced paper-thin.

No, I'm talking a full piece of steak (whatever cut it might be).

Every time I've tried steak cooked rare, and properly so, it's been chewy and the intramuscular fat and marbling is still, well, kind of icky and fat -- sort of oily on the palate and tongue.

Personally, I prefer my steaks to be somewhere between medium-rare and medium, an internal temp somewhere between 130 and 135F.

But, I digress ... for those rare steak lovers, can you kindly explain the appeal of rare steak? Am I missing something?

  1. Different strokes. I enjoy rare steak from time to time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tommy

      Thinner steaks, always rare. Thicker steaks, always medium rare......but the cut and dry aging is also a factor for me. Filet Mignon is ordered Black & Blue or rare....Rib Eyes, almost always medium-rare. Dry Aged Beef, I want to tast the concrntrated flavor, so usually rare.

    2. No!!! It has no appeal to me what so ever.

      1. Probably depends on the cut, but I like mine on the rare side of med-rare. I like the taste of raw beef. Ideally, the fat on the outside is rendered / crispy / charred, while the inside is still all irony, lukewarm raw meat flavor.

        Mmmmm. Glad we're having strip steaks tonight!!

        1. If answering the question with a simple yes or no, I'd say yes. I think the cut of meat makes all the difference in the world. When eating a porterhouse I like mine more rare, because the filet side needs to be to have any flavor. I think the problem with rare, when eating very large steaks is that you will inevitably be eating the last few bites at room temperature or cooler. I have ordered a strip at Morton's black and blue and was a little upset and the second half of the steak. When eating at good steakhouse it is also important to remember that the steak is on a very hot plate and is indeed still cooking as it sits.

          To get you your other question, I find that if cooked at a high temperature the fat takes on such an incredible flavor that is, at times, burned off by overcooking. I also find that leaner cuts of meat lose all of their flavor when done even to medium. When I order, I usually ask for it medium-rare/rare. Somewhere between, there is the perfect spot. Anything over medium I'm sending back!

          3 Replies
          1. re: jhopp217

            Very good points! There are a lot of factors. Generally, the leaner the meat, the more rare it should be -- on average I say I like mine "warm red" but I'll eat more rare on some cuts. But your comments about the cold, blue steak are spot on, too -- not very appealing.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Well said--spot on.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                im with you

            2. ipsedixit: I'm tempted to just say that it's a primal thing and leave it at that.

              But it's more than that. I enjoy the bloody jus, and the difference in textures between the seared outside and near-raw inside. I also consider a well-trimmed rare steak more tender than a medium or well-done one, all other things being equal.

              I don't get the "oily on the palate and tongue" thing.

              5 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                I order blue rare but few get it right. I love the taste
                of bloody meat and the flavour of the charcoal/wood
                smoke; then there is the wine.

                Like kaleo said, "it must be a primal thing."

                Oh, eh! I like bloody duck, too.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  +1. Totally agree with the blodd gravy/jus and find rare to be more tender. I prefer it pretty much just seared on the outside. Although it is hard to get it that way at home as my DH thinks I will dye from how raw I love my steak.....lol.

                  1. re: fryerlover

                    My husband has it down pat - just smack it 'til it ceases to moo and I'm happy.

                    And another +1 all around.

                    1. re: shanagain

                      Agreed! I like it well seared on the outside and raw in the middle. If you rub salt into the fat, it helps to brown it up nice and crisp, too. (I will ration the fat out so as to have a little with each bite of meat).

                      I once had to forgo my chosen hunk of meat at the butchers: the man picked it up and sliced the fat off of it before I realized what he was doing. Had to go for the second best piece - and he thought I was some kind of nut.

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Definitely a primal thing!

                  3. I guess I most prefer the flavor of beef before the meat begins to contract too much. Without a steak in front of me, I suppose I can best describe the taste difference as having to do with the raw minerality of the meat. At temps 130 and above, the meat tightens, striates, and the flavor changes a bit. To me, it dulls. While I think the additional melting fat at the higher temperature adds something to the taste, I find it also blurs the distinctive flavor nuances from the fat, char, protien separately.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: MGZ

                      I like that word dull MGZ. A rare steak (warm center for me please) has a bright flavor. And the juices! Tasty and beautiful.

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Isn't that medium rare? I was always under the assumption that a rare steak had a cool/cold center and that medium rare had a warm one. I could certainly be wrong, so please chime in everyone.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          In theory, rare is around 120-125 F, which is warmer than a hot day in India. So if you feel the interior of a steak it should feel warmer than your body but still be red. Most restaurants try and get away with a colder interior because it is difficult for an average cook to differentiate a rare steak and one that's closer to blue because the muscle fibers are only just starting to constrict, that and because it's faster.

                          1. re: Blueicus

                            Thanks. So most of these posters like an extra-rare steak, kind of?

                            I'm veg, so I know nothing about cooking meat, but I'd like to know what people's expectations are if I had to prepare it for them.

                        2. re: givemecarbs

                          I found the query raised in the OP to be immediately interesting. Upon reflection, I realized that it was a bit challenging. The immediate interest was borne out of the idea that it is always good to examine our stated preferences and what they are based upon. The challenging aspect of it came in trying to articulate it.

                          Certainly there are textural changes to meat as it is cooked. We can see this with our eyes, feel it with our tongues and teeth. But answering that I prefer beef at 120 degrees simply due to the textural factors seemed pretty superficial. My preference in steak, as with most foods, is not that one-dimensional. There is also a change in the taste of the flesh and that is very difficult to put into words.

                          Unlike wine, there is agreed upon vocabulary for the taste of beef. At bottom, I suppose I would note a ferrous quality, an earthiness, a rich creaminess, etc. I do feel that these flavors are diminished, muted with continued cooking. "Dull" was the best I could do. The subject still intrigues me and I'd welcome any other reflections.

                      2. I love red meat rare. By that I mean RED with a COLD center. Pink is overcooked as far as I am concerned. I like a nice crust on the outside, but want the real chew of a red steak or roast beef on the inside. The beef is muscle and I expect a workout when I eat a good steak. But that doesn't mean tough or inferior meat.
                        I don't like thin steaks or burgers as they cook much too quickly and it's hard to get them rare in a restaurant.
                        A rare porterhouse 2-3 inches thick is a thing of beauty and makes me very happy. A Rib Steak of 1-1/2-2 inches is also favored by me.

                        1. "the intramuscular fat and marbling is still, well, kind of icky and fat -- sort of oily on the palate and tongue."

                          lol that's one of the things I love about a rare steak. I have to say that here in the States I eat my steak medium rare, but I thoroughly enjoy a rare bistecca alla fiorentina when in Florence, Italy. It's the only way to have it.

                          1. I can't eat anything cooked more than medium; pink all the way through, warm center, I find the texture very unappealing. I'm with you, but I usually order steaks out med-rare so I don't get it overcooked, and I don't at all mind thin steaks cooked med-rare to rare, thinking skirt and flank...

                            1. I'm with you, ipse. Rare steak doesn't appeal to me. I prefer mine somewhere between med-rare and medium.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                I also agree with ipse, I know its proper to eat rare, but i do not enjoy it.. Medium rare is my limit as of now. Maybe once i eat med rare a while, a can transition easier. I will agree that anything over Medium just is painfull to eat..

                                I heard someone order a well done steak with ketchup the other day... made me cringe

                              2. Medium rare. Burgers medium. Don't care for raw beef, it just doesn't appeal to me.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  Same with me, I find the taste and texture of overly rare steak to be less than ideal, unless you're eating tataki or carpaccio

                                2. I like filet mignon rare. It's a steak with delicate flavor and the less it's cooked, the more flavor it has. With filet, things like marbling and intramuscular gristle isn't a problem.

                                  Other steaks I like cooked a bit more though.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                    tommy, toommy, ... What would you consider the "recommended" way to cook a steak? I was always under the assumption the medium rare to rare is the standard in the industry? ? Every cook book to every show on tv ( i had experience with) emphasizes to either cook medium rare to rare??

                                    1. re: Augie6

                                      I recommend you experience many things and use your free will to determine what you enjoy.

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        ditto what tommy said

                                        I never meant this post to either endorse rare, or medium rare, or any other temperature for steak.

                                        In fact, asking this question sort of indirectly affirms and confirms that there is more than one way to enjoy steak.

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          Extremely well said, Tommy!!! Looking back it was an improper use of words.. I just wanted to illustrate that not many would recomend a well done steak. Even Medium-well is shyed away from in most higher end steak places (my experiences)..

                                        2. re: Augie6

                                          "proper" is anything short of welldone. that'll get you a shit-cut of beef, that they keep just for the rubes.

                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                            This is what a gastropub chef friend said to me - order your steak well done and you will get the crappiest cut they've got. Me personally I like it blue - walk it by the grill!

                                        3. re: Avalondaughter

                                          Reading through this thread, I thought I was going to be alone in preferring filets rare, with the thinner steaks cooked closer to a medium rare. The first rare steak I ever had was a filet mignon, delivered to me by mistake, and I fell in love with the softness of the meat, and the taste of the blood. The longer a steak cooks, the more uniform in taste, to me.

                                          And as someone said up-thread, it *is* primal. When I realized I liked that steak, I felt . . . sexier. I was young, and my experiences with food had been so limited. It opened my eyes quite a lot.

                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                            I don't think it's actually blood.

                                            1. re: tommy

                                              I stand corrected. I fell in love with the taste of myoglobin. ;)

                                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                                And who wouldn't!

                                        4. I usually prefer my steak medium rare, but I made a beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner that was definitely rare in the middle. It was fantastic. I couldn't believe I loved such a rare piece of meat. It was butter-tender and didn't taste bloody at all. Maybe it was the quality of the meat, but that was a revelation to me.

                                          1. Although I enjoy tartare and carpaccio I prefer my cooked thick steak to be about 125F or 130 at the very most, served with a wonderfully crunchy finishing salt.

                                            1. Interesting question! Oddly, my tastes have changed somewhat in recent years. I used to love my steaks very rare, (a good vet should be able to bring it back-rare), but now I'm tending towards steaks that are pink in the centre, with possibly a tiny hint of red. I can't eat a steak that's cool/cold in the middle now.

                                              1. I like most of my steaks still mooing. Passed through a warm room, black and blue. It depends on the cut. Harder working muscles like flank and skirt need to be cooked to just slightly pink and no more or they are chewy. But ribeye, shell, strip and tenderloin I prefer with a cool bright red center. The appeal is that it tastes better, is moister and I prefer the texture to a more well done steak. Rarer and raw meat tastes more like meat to me if that makes any sense. For me the more you cook some of these tender, more lean cuts you lose the beefiness. I feel the same way about burgers, I prefer them rare cooked in a scorching hot cast iron pan.

                                                I don't know though, I seem to prefer most animal products in their raw form. I would take raw fish to cooked any day, I love tartare, capaccio and many other raw presentations. The couple of times I tried raw chicken, I loved it. Clams, prawns and lobster are better raw.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: MVNYC

                                                  Absolutely agree.

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                    I'm in this camp, too. It's a bit odd that I prefer steak to be rare. My father liked his steak well done, so my mother always prepared it that way when I was growing up.

                                                    I don't feel the same about ground beef. I like my burgers medium rare to medium.

                                                2. I prefer my filet a little rare, the stip medium rare and my ribeye medium rare but with a hint more heat; I find the fat needs a touch more cooking. Go figure.

                                                  Or, you could be like my friend says and tell the waiter to "just wipe its rear end and run it by the table for me".

                                                  1. Medium-rare for me.
                                                    Would be interesting to find out what the breakdown of people who like their meat cooked a certain way. You'd think there would be studies, but I've found nothing. Maybe someone else has seen something?

                                                    59 Replies
                                                    1. re: monku

                                                      I'll bet a majority prefer it more on the well-done side of the spectrum than the rare, or even medium-rare side.

                                                      I imagine the breakdown to be something like the below (just conjecture on my part):

                                                      Rare 10%
                                                      Medium Rare 15%
                                                      Medium 30%
                                                      Medium Well 30%
                                                      Well Done 15%

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        A major steakhouse chain probably would have reliable stats.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          As you noted, since most experts (i.e. chefs, steakhouses) suggest that meat should be cooked no more than medium rare, I'd find it surprising if it really broke down that way. In particular, I'm guessing there aren't many people who bother with medium well -- they either want it "done" or they don't. My guess would be more like:

                                                          Rare 10%
                                                          Medium Rare 30%
                                                          Medium 30%
                                                          Medium Well 10%
                                                          Well Done 20%

                                                          I suspect there are geographical differences and maybe even generational differences.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            Generational....maybe.
                                                            I like medium rare, my wife well done....I got my daughter down to medium well.
                                                            I notice some racial groups like well done.

                                                            Still looking for a statistical breakdown. Maybe the Beef Council(is that a group?) or some one must know. Maybe I can get a grant to do a study.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              I think amongst Chowhounds medium-rare is going to be the popular choice. In fact, I would say amongst foodies in general, choosing to have your meat more on the rare side is almost considered "cool" or "hip".

                                                              Amongst the hoi polloi, however, I think the general consensus would be more towards medium or medium-well.

                                                              And, yes, I think there definitely would be geographical and generational differences, as well as differences between cultures and ethnic groups.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                So ppl make these decisions based on looking cool and hip? I find that unlikely. In fact I've found the people who think other people make decisions based on such nonsense tend toward being people who actually do. They see this behavior in others, yet it cones from within.

                                                                1. re: tommy

                                                                  People undoubtedly make these decisions based on the approval of others. There's good data showing a strong trend toward rarer and rarer meat over the last 60 to 80 years. And anecdotes about a cook's disdain for anybody who eats a steak well done are bound to have some effect.

                                                                  So, yeah. Some "ppl" make these decisions based on looking cool and hip. I'd like to think I'm not one of them, but this isn't my night for Jungian self-examination.

                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                    Yer obviously really smart. Your use of "ppl" is, of course, not lost on me.

                                                                    But "foodies in general" doesn't equate to "some" to my mind.

                                                                    I, too, have little faith in "ppl" (there I go again), but perhaps not as little as the OP.

                                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                                      Ur no dummy yrself. But don't underestimate cultural context. For "foodies in general" or otherwise.

                                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Good data or cook's disdain are not going to convince the majority who prefer "well done" steaks to order it any other way.

                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                        I question your assumption that a majority of people prefer steak well-done. If it's true, it's not what I've seen...

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          If I wasn't clear I meant to say you would have a hard time convincing the majority of those people who like well-done steaks to eat it any other way.
                                                                          Everyone I've ever condemned for eating well-done steaks wouldn't eat it any other way despite what I tell them or any one else does.

                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                            Sorry for misreading your post. Punctuation saves lives:

                                                                            Let's eat Grandma!

                                                                            versus

                                                                            Let's eat, Grandma!

                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                              http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                                                                              I should have been more careful...and I read the book.

                                                                    3. re: tommy

                                                                      So ppl make these decisions based on looking cool and hip? I find that unlikely.
                                                                      _______________________________

                                                                      I don't make this stuff up. Money quote from a recent Slate article:

                                                                      "Eating rare meat now seemed imperative. Forget questions of taste or pretensions to hipsterdom; this was a matter of "conscious eating" (admittedly, a pretension of its own kind). It was about being attendant to the flesh in a big picture way, not just its texture on my tongue. Choosing well-done meat is pathological; choosing rare meat is ethical."

                                                                      Full article here: http://www.slate.com/id/2256610/

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Agree with ipse and Barnes here. The desire to appear "with it" is a powerful one.

                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                          Psychological pressures definitely come into play here for many diners. There are those who as you say desire to appear "with it" by ordering rare to blue meat as many chefs and food people suggest it this way. On the other hand you have many people ordering medium well and well done meat because rarer meats remind them more of the dead animal that the dish began with. Cooking the dish more changes it from the raw dead meat it used to be, taste be damned.

                                                                          1. re: MVNYC

                                                                            True. The sight of blood spreading across the plate causes many to blanch, quail and ponder. And I confess that I'm not entirely immune to that phenomenon.

                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                              I like to sop up that blood and juice with a crusty bread.
                                                                              As kids, we'd fight over it.

                                                                              1. re: Johnny West

                                                                                Same here. Our family used to pour the "blood juice" from the Sunday roast in a mug, add s&p, and pass it around the table. For s's & g's a few of us revived the practice this past Christmas and my little nieces and nephews thought it was barbaric. And of course it's now common knowledge to let the roast rest longer to redistribute juices blahblahblah. But I love the blood juice.

                                                                                To answer OP question, I always order rare. As another poster noted, rare beef with red wine (or scotch depending on mood) is otherworldly.

                                                                                1. re: Johnny West

                                                                                  It's not blood, is it?

                                                                                  1. re: Johnny West

                                                                                    I'm trying to cut down on the amount of bread I eat so I let my baked or mashed potato absorb the juices.

                                                                                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                    I don't know where you get your steak but a rare steak shouldn't have blood spreading out from it.

                                                                                    1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                      I think people mistake the juice for blood. Any well-prepared steak should have plenty of juice.

                                                                                      1. re: kevin47

                                                                                        I know the difference between blood and juice.

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                That's her opinion, not a fact based on any kind of evidence. That whole piece is basically an attempt to legitimize her preference with some bogus historical analysis. Bogus, because she takes facts and then attributes philosophies and motivations behind them based on her own biases. I could come up with any number of reasons to explain why meat has increasingly been eaten rare, including the fact that refrigeration means that -- e. coli paranoia aside -- rare meat is much safer than it was in pre-refrigeration days. You could just as easily posit that people who unlike their parents grew up with "safe" meat genuinely prefer it, rather than eat it because it's "cool."

                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                  I'm inclined to think it has more to do with education. People simply know a bit more about food than they did 20 years ago.

                                                                                  If you don't know anything about steak (other than it is delicious), then you probably don't have a strong opinion as to how it is cooked. Medium seems like the safest choice, and always results in edible meat, so that becomes the default.

                                                                                  Once you go rare (or medium rare), and you understand the impact this has on the flavor, you will either stick with it if you prefer it, or go back to medium if you don't. I doubt well-done steaks attract many new followers.

                                                                                  I used to be a proud rare/blue meat lover, but lately, especially as platings have gotten more sophisticated and cuts more diverse, I've been deferring to the wisdom of the chef. Usually, I get something on the light side of medium rare, and the results have always been good.

                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                    I agree with you that the author is intent upon persuasion and not disinterestedness, but I find it hard not to acknowledge that many individuals make decisions, including food and drink decisions, based upon what they think the impression of their choices will be on others. I mean why else is PBR ubiquitous? Sushi without fish? Vodka martinis?

                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                      I order medium when dining alone, medium rare when dining with a female, rare when dining with a group, and blue when dining with rugby players. I mean, you gotta be a man in that situation.

                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    has anyone considered that meat in the US has changed over the decades and possibly that is why people are trending toward eating rare steak?
                                                                                    the way cows are fed changes the flavor, texture and fat content of the meat
                                                                                    in more recent years cows are being fed (possibly) to produce meat that tastes better rare

                                                                                    Also think about the safety concerns that there were ages ago, that we do not have today.
                                                                                    "time was" where you were taking a risk not eating any kind of animal that wasn't cooked all the way.

                                                                                    I don't think twice about eating my rare steak, and it doesn't make me uncomfortable to let my 12 year old daughter eat her steak as bloody as she wants

                                                                                    and to speak to the idea that more people are eating stake rare because it's the "cool" thing to do:
                                                                                    my daughter is 12 years old, consider her a "blank slate" with an eagerness to try lots of different foods... she's had steaks anywhere from well done to bloody rare and she prefers bloody rare. You can't attribute that to being a hipster.
                                                                                    it's just what she likes

                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                      I'm 63 and my daddy ALWAYS cooked our steaks rare. Very, very rare.

                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                        cgarner: "Also think about the safety concerns that there were ages ago, that we do not have today."

                                                                                        What on earth are you talking about? Since Big Ag took over, there are many more food safety concerns. For instance, can you name the slaughterhouse that made your steak possible? Is it even in your state? What feed/drugs went into that animal?

                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                          I disagree. Food adulteration was a huge problem in the US less than a hundred years ago. Bread that had sawdust as a major component, milk that was little more than chalk and water, strychnine as a substitute for some of the hops in beer. While there are still problems with our food supply, they are nothing compared to what they were before the government began regulating the industry.

                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                            Not to mention issues with refrigeration and distribution. Food-borne/caused illness used to be a major public health problem. Nowadays problems with food are so rare they are considered news in our increasingly risk averse culture, and most recalls are precautionary.

                                                                                            This article is quite interesting: http://shm.oxfordjournals.org/content...

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              Good point. And then there are food handling issues - Typhoid Mary earned her nickname.

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/tr...

                                                                                                "Since the beginning of FoodNet surveillance in 1996, CDC has seen important declines in infections caused by six of the seven bacterial pathogens tracked—Yersinia, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, Shigella, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter.
                                                                                                Salmonella, the most commonly diagnosed and reported foodborne illness, continues to be a challenge. The incidence of Salmonella infections has declined by only 10% since FoodNet surveillance began.
                                                                                                Rates of infection were substantially higher for Vibrio in 2009 than in 1996–1998.
                                                                                                Rates of infection were at least 25% lower for Shigella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, and Listeria than they were a decade ago."

                                                                                                Changes in methodology may be responsible for any estimate reductions.

                                                                                              2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                alanbarnes: And today we have virulent strains of e coli (e.g., O157:H7) that were unheard of--as illnesses go--until the 1980s. And one mega egg farm today can put 380 MILLION eggs potentially infected with salmonella into the human foodchain within one "freshness" cycle. Today, a huge % of what "fresh" foods Americans eat come from single producers across great distances. Back when food was "adulterated", we didn't have ammonia in burger and carbon monoxide gassing of meat to keep it red longer, either.

                                                                                                Will agree that USDA was a good thing. Now they're pretty much a feel-good exercise like TSA.

                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                  So you really think that food-based morbidity and mortality are higher now than they were in 1920? Seriously?

                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                    Just imagine all that Listeria wafting in air
                                                                                                    in those packinghouses exposed by Upton Sinclair.
                                                                                                    We wonder if he ever met meat-lover Sandburg
                                                                                                    as Carl lauded Chicago "Hog butcher to the world."

                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                      alanbarnes: No, I don't necessarily think that morbidity or mortality is higher now than in the 1920s.

                                                                                                      The CDC estimates that 76 million foodborne illness cases occur in the United States every year. This amounts to one in four Americans becoming ill after eating foods contaminated with such pathogens as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter, Shigella, Norovirus, and Listeria.
                                                                                                      On an annual basis, approximately 325,000 people are hospitalized with a diagnosis of food poisoning, and 5,000 die.

                                                                                                      Yes, restaurants and producers are now inspected, but the producers are SO huge that unsafe handling can taint millions of portions in one production run. The pathogens get maximum exposure to vast quantities of food, and this IS different than in the 1920s.

                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                        Have you read "The Jungle"? Maximum exposure to vast quantities of food was the order of the day back then.

                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                          alanbarnes: Vast quantities then? Not per producer. Not even close.

                                                                                                          Today, four transnationals dominate the US meat biz: JBS ($30B), Tyson ($26B), Cargill ($120B) and Smithfield ($12.5B). This represents over 76% of all beef sold in the US.

                                                                                                          JBS alone has 10% of the GLOBAL market.

                                                                                                          More like a desert than a jungle.

                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                            Alan, is that "Jungle" the one that was written by Kipling?

                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                              FF: I think alanbarnes was referring to Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, which the author never intended to be about food safety. Of it, Sinclair later wrote: "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                Was it 1906? Dang, I thought it was '07. I guess I too should have embarked on a Google.

                                                                                                                But amidst all those sausages there are little cat' feet.

                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                  FF: Serialized in 1905 if it makes you feel better.

                                                                                                                  Yes, the Google... Shows in 1910, 92.2 million Americans ate on average 48 pounds of beef (4.425 billion pounds) vs. 2010, when 299.8 million of us ate an average of 65 pounds (19.5 billion pounds). Accounting for megabusiness market share (76%), four transnational companies now process more than three times the amount of beef than the entire national production when Sinclair wrote The Jungle.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                    Feel free to email. Address is on my profile.

                                                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                    " For instance, can you name the slaughterhouse that made your steak possible? Is it even in your state? What feed/drugs went into that animal?"
                                                                                                    ************************************************************************
                                                                                                    well, actually Kaleokahu for the most part I can, because I generally eat the steaks out of my freezer and Charlotte and Henry Rosenberger are the wonderful folk who raised the cow that I bought half of.
                                                                                                    Grass fed/Grass finished. less than a half hour from my house!

                                                                                                    I have eaten steak out at restaurants, but have found that I don't really enjoy red meat much out anylonger, since I have what I consider to be the best (for my palate) right at home

                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                      cgarner: Good for you, buying local.

                                                                                                      You and I are in the small minority, however, when it comes to buying beef. My dad had a small feedlot and slaughter operation until the late 1960s, supplying many local markets and restaurants. So folks could know their beef was locally raised and processed. Not so anymore, with a handful of huge operators and importers supplying the vast majority of what Americans consume.

                                                                                              3. re: tommy

                                                                                                if you can't make a good argument for why X is better than Y, then you're doing it b/c it is cool and hip.

                                                                                                I like my coffee fresh, because I like the alcohols. ymmv.

                                                                                              4. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                Trends never enter into my likes or dislikes merely on the basis of being such. I am grateful, however, when what is 'fashionable' on the plate gives me a chance to experience what I may have otherwise missed. Growing up in a part of the Midwest, in a circle, not known for expanding the pantry beyond what served as a part of a work-a-day culture, my choices were limited. If I am perceived as wanting to portray an image, as opposed to being someone who makes choices based upon their own taste and discretion, then so be it.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                  I would guess the average Cheesecake Factory lover would like their meat well done. Just from personal experience, no facts. I think you could probably divide it by preferred restaurant.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                    At fishing camp, we have a steak night for every group. Trust me, therse guys are hoi-definately-polloi, and our breakdown is approximately:

                                                                                                    Rare 10%
                                                                                                    Medium Rare 40%
                                                                                                    Medium 30%
                                                                                                    Medium Well 10%
                                                                                                    Well Done 10%

                                                                                                    The groups are about 85% male, age range 25-80, with more than a few former butchers in the crowd.

                                                                                                    Another consideration for hte statistical difference could be the predinner consumption of Crown Royal, Kokanee, and La Batt's Blue.

                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                    I worked in a big, expensivo steak house in MA. Our stats broke down into something like:

                                                                                                    Black/Blue: under 5%
                                                                                                    Rare: 15%
                                                                                                    MR: 40%
                                                                                                    Medium: 30%
                                                                                                    MW: 10%
                                                                                                    Well: under 5%

                                                                                                    I agree that this must vary hugely by region/race/economic status.

                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                      Thank you, this is something to start with.

                                                                                                      Could an assumption be that MW-W steakeaters don't go to high end steakhouses?
                                                                                                      Be interesting to see what percentages are at a lower end steakhouse kind of chain like maybe Sizzler.

                                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                                        I think serving a Sizzler steak anything short of medium-well might be a health code violation, or a human rights violation.

                                                                                                      2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                        I worked in a moderately priced steak chain in Canada. What struck me was how many people ordered "medium rare" (I'd say about 40% by memory), but when you brought them a perfect medium rare steak, they'd shy back in horror, and send it back until it was at least medium (i.e. no red at all) or even medium well.

                                                                                                        Personally, I love my steaks black & blue (Pittsburg, Chicago, whatever), but it's hard to find a place that does it properly. I love the taste of a good charred exterior, but when I get into the flesh, I find rare meat more flavourful, juicy, and tender. Most of the time, I end up with a steak that's charred a bit, but is rare, not blue, or even medium rare. And I never complain - I don't mind if it's cooked a bit more than I would like, and it's not worth the fuss sending it back. So I actually end up eating from all degrees on the rare scale. As long as the basic meat is good, I'm still happy.

                                                                                                        But in one of those weird twists that make us all different, I don't like rare burgers (and it's not a health thing; I've had 'em, don't like 'em) and I actually prefer them really charred and well done. Go figure!

                                                                                                        1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                          exactly the same for me. At home I cook steaks medium rare, as I find it easiest.

                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                            Different kitchens use slightly different terms. That is why I always try to explain my choice (pink and slightly above room temp for the center - never cold). I then let the server translate my request to the terms that the particular kitchen would use.

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                  3. As a mere youth, I liked my steak bloody rare. I don't quite know why or how, but tastes change and now I like my steaks mid-rare with a lean to the rare. Warm in the middle is ok; cold is not. The mid-rare meat seems to be juicier in a much more flavorsome way, and I like the chew of it. The one exception is filet mignon, which I find to be all but flavorless anyway, so that I'll eat rare, but if it's a great NY strip, Porterhouse or T-bone (and preferably 2"+ thick) it's got to be crusty brown on the outside and reddish pink and just slightly firm on the inside. No steak sauce ever please; unless it's true housemade sauce with demiglace, or a tarragon/red wine bernaise. Actually what I meant was, no ketchup, no A1, no Heinz' 57 - any cut of decent meat really shouldn't need 'em, IMHO.
                                                                                                    Caveat: at Gene and Georgetti's in Chicago I've learned to order my meat medium, because then it comes perfectly medium rare, whereas an order for medium rare comes out lowing from the kitchen. I do like my lamb chops more to the rare though.

                                                                                                    1. Depends on the grade and the cut.

                                                                                                      On the rare occasions I bring Wagyu ribeye home, rare is overdone. Seared is the only way to go. But I like a ribeye with less ubiquitous fat medium-rare, so the fat has a chance to melt and spread around a little.

                                                                                                      Tenderloin? Rare. Period. That or slathered with a sauce that covers up the mealiness of the meat. A good strip steak is flexible - it's good anywhere between very rare and medium. And then there are the braising steaks - they can be cooked to a fair-thee-well and still be delicious.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                        I'm glad to see that my preferences match someone elses. When I say I like my ribeye a touch more done than my strip steak people think I'm nuts. (I haven't had the pleasure of Wagyu). To me, anyway, there is something about the fat in a regular ribeye that wants a little more heat.

                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                          Good points, it does depend on how the fat is incorporated into the meat.

                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                            It seems to me that butchers are trimming too much fat. They need to leave it all on and let the buyer cut as much off as they want.

                                                                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                              Have you seen how much they trim off? I have a couple of times when I asked for some additional fat to grind into my beef. They trim alot, maybe too much but I don't want to pay for ALL of that.

                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                As much as they do trim, and it is too much, I doubt it would have much of an effect on the price. At several dollars a pound, a few ounces don't matter (to me).

                                                                                                          2. I used to enjoy just about all meats rare to raw (even the occasional chicken or pork), but I've come to realize that cooked that little, most meats taste the same and have a similar texture. Rare duck tastes the same as rare beef which tastes the same as rare lamb. Steak tartare tastes just like tuna tartare. Not only do they have similar tastes and textures, but they don't even taste that flavorful.

                                                                                                            These days, I think I prefer medium instead of rare or medium rare. I used to think duck breast prepared in the European manner was so bland compared to Peking duck, but now I tend to get it medium instead of medium rare so the meat can develop some of that characteristic gamy flavor (though it's still nowhere near as delicious as Peking duck).

                                                                                                            I think I may have just OD'd on rare and raw meat when I was younger because now I get most excited about crispy and charred meats like the burnt parts of roasts, carnitas, extra crunchy doner kebab and Malaysian style beef jerky.

                                                                                                            1. I eat (and enjoy!) my steak blue. Yes, blue. I don't measure the internal temp of meat, rather give it a prod with my finger to assess how it feels to decide if it's done. Ideally the steak should be brought to room temperature, seared quickly on both sides and taken off the heat. That way the meat is browned on the outside and red, but hot the whole way through.

                                                                                                              The appeal for me is the flavour. A beautiful steak has a wonderful flavour that is lost when cooked too much. Some people think it's strange, but I wouldn't eat steak any other way.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                                Huntress: I like the way you think. You come out and try some of my grassfed, grilled over kiawe.

                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  I totally agree with the Huntress, and am glad kaleokaha brought up grassfed beef. With so much less fat, it's a sin to cook a beautiful grassfed steak anyway but blue!

                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                    LOL Now that is an offer I would be tempted to take up!

                                                                                                                2. Many years ago, living on a farm
                                                                                                                  I patted a cow firmly on flank and on ass
                                                                                                                  and promised I'd never overcook them.

                                                                                                                  May we we all have such deals in our culinary history
                                                                                                                  of ingestion of ungulates
                                                                                                                  and a firm friendly slap on their rump

                                                                                                                  So today, kiss the roil of heavy hard boil,.

                                                                                                                  They arke kissed with the crust of fully deep sear
                                                                                                                  yet retain their sweet rareness.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                    FoodFuser: My steers won't let me pat them, but we have the same deal every year: I take their lives, and the least I can do is thank them and cook them right.

                                                                                                                    When a guest asks for a steak well done, s/he's not getting it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the twist on the mean of "well done".

                                                                                                                      An interior temp of 120 is done well.

                                                                                                                      Seared on the outside, but interior glistening rare.

                                                                                                                      I am glad to have had that youth opportunity
                                                                                                                      to stroke a beef cow on her ass.

                                                                                                                  2. @ipsedixit I lead a lot of steak tastings using beef from different farms. diets, breeds, etc. Some people don't like mouth feel that comes along with internal marbling and/or outside trim fat, typically but not always associated with grain-fed beef. They'll then try a grass-fed/finished steak at rare and like it quite a bit. Some also like chewier steaks than others. So it's probably not just generational, cultural, and regional, it depends on the beef itself - you might like beef from some farms at medium and other farms at rare.

                                                                                                                    As a rule, I personally prefer a rare steak and would choose raw over medium as I like the density of the texture vs. the fibrous texture of a more done steak. As for mouth feel, I prefer juicy to oily but overall I like them both. Super lean steaks can be juicier than super marbled steaks, which makes it tricky.

                                                                                                                    1. Several years ago we went out for a "celebration" dinner. We went to a restaurant that had been a favorite for years, but only for special occasions as it was very pricey. Ok - so we're splurging. I order the best steak on the menu - rare. It comes out medium rare. I send it back. Next, it comes out medium. I send it back. So I explain again, that I'd like my steak rare, just introduce it to the grill, put it on a plate, and send it out.

                                                                                                                      So now, I see the waiters in the dining room looking at our table through the windows (we were seated outside) as our waiter delivers the third steak. This steak was a warm breath away from being completely raw. Clearly, the kitchen is screwing with us, and everyone is waiting to see what will happen. Of course by now, I've had a few cocktails, so I decide to just try it. Well, that steak was the best I've ever had. It melted like butter in my mouth. It was just perfect. Heaven on a plate.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                                                        Not asking you to divugle the place, but I can't imagine it was a top notch steakhouse. They actually frown upon even medium. All the really good places I've been suggest rare/medium rare. I've been out with people who have said burn it at steakhouses and have been refused.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                          At the time, I guess we thought it was top notch. They even had a glass butcher's case in the bar/lounge area to showcase the fabulousness of their various cuts of meat. I think you were able to choose your steak, like you would choose a lobster from a lobster tank.

                                                                                                                          Normally, I wouldn't have sent back a medium rare steak if I had ordered it rare, but, I figured if you're gonna show off the product, you should be able to cook it properly. Plus, we had really been looking forward to this night out and I didn't think that a rare steak was too much to ask.

                                                                                                                      2. I like flavored beef. so, no, not rare. beef jerky, yes. flank steak with a good marinade, yah. stirfry, also good.

                                                                                                                        1. I guess I would prefer a steak med -rare.. a shade more on rare side..Best steak(s) I ever had were in Minneapolis MN (top surloin) and the Keg @ Airport Toronto ......

                                                                                                                          but, I have been seen noshing on a thin slices of raw roast beef or from a fresh raw steak, and eating fresh ground chuck ..there is a certain flavour in the steak & in raw ....

                                                                                                                          And, I use "Montreal Steak Spice" on all ... But have since moved to MSS without salt and use sea salt...when serving.

                                                                                                                          1. I love my steak blue rare. Seared on the outside--almost raw on the inside. A shake of salt, a shake of pepper, sliced thin. *eyeroll* Heaven. Second to Steak Tartare.

                                                                                                                            When I go to restaurants, I explain to the server that the steak "must" come out mooing. Spring Mill Cafe always gets it right!

                                                                                                                            1. I like a nice thick cut "Black and Blue" for me. Charred on the outside and rare at the center.

                                                                                                                              1. Curious that there has not yet been a mention of a steak ordered "Pittsburgh".

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                  That's for the *really* cool kids.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                                    But then I'd have to buy new shoes. And stop cutting my own hair. And start calling my dirty martini a vodka cocktail.

                                                                                                                                    Nah. I'll just say rare.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                    hah! gawd, I love west virginia!

                                                                                                                                  3. I eat red meat (including burgers) as rare as possible. I don't mind if that means the meat is cool and the blood is running. I love the texture and taste, and especially how the fat melts in my mouth. I like to use my tongue to mash it up against the roof of mouth, where I can feel it spread. Fat is where the flavor is after all. If I see pink I'm disappointed, but I'll sulk and eat it. If a hot brown center is presented to me I will send it back. The more well done, the more I'm confused why anyone would bother. The texture toughens, the fat melts away, and true meat flavor is traded for an all around burnt taste. So that's the appeal for me.

                                                                                                                                    I will end by stating I work in a popular chain steakhouse. I can say with confidence that the average diner chooses med well - well, especially where I am at because we cook to temp rather than by shade, which many people use. In other words, "a little pink in the middle" is commonly thought of as Medium, but our Medium has "a red center with pink througout". When I explain that, customers look mortified. Some will comment about it not being healthy or safe, others just make gag noises. It's funny to see preference at work. I still can't get over those who order a filet butterflyed extra well done. Someone explain the appeal of THAT to me!

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: MickeyB603

                                                                                                                                      Mickey... I doubt most people at a chain steakhouse are really that into steaks. I mentioned before at a Steak Chain, I heard someone order Well Done with ketchup....
                                                                                                                                      I will agree with tommy that there is a growing "rare raw" culture for the cool kids out there... However, I do not think if you order a rare steak you are part of the cool culture.. you never hear ANYONE (as in experienced chefs) telling you to get a steak above medium..

                                                                                                                                      Im from pittsburgh and never would dare to eat a pittsburgh steak..

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Augie6

                                                                                                                                        You're probably right about the customers that come to a chain. I get the "well done with ketchup" order and cringe. It's a shame though because while we are a chain, the quality of our meat is much higher than one might expect.

                                                                                                                                        As for this whole "cool" thing, I'm at a loss. I don't get how steak temperature preference heightens social status. I have vivid memories of eating raw chop meat out of the bowl with a spoon whenever my mother or grandmother made meatballs. I didn't know how much that would freak others out until I was much older. Background culture can be a factor in an individuals preference. Point is, maybe this whole cool thing is happening out there, but it does not apply to all that order rare and under.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MickeyB603

                                                                                                                                          Mickey... I doubt most people at a chain steakhouse are really that into steaks.....(Augie)

                                                                                                                                          You're probably right about the customers that come to a chain....(Mickey)

                                                                                                                                          There are good chains and poor ones.....I disagree with the above.
                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                          It's a shame though because while we are a chain, the quality of our meat is much higher than one might expect. ....(Mickey)

                                                                                                                                          I would agree with this for most chains

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MickeyB603

                                                                                                                                            Mickey, you have a good point about quality at some your chain. I dare to say this, but I frequent Texas Road House often, due to location and work meetings . Being a foodie type person, I got to know some of the managment and cooks.. Honeslty, they run a NICE STEAK PLACE (regaurdless of chain or not) not a morton or ruths.. but high quality and great execution.. (can't speak for every localtion)

                                                                                                                                      2. When it comes down to eating a steak "in the raw"
                                                                                                                                        I like my steak rare, rather than chopped to tartare.
                                                                                                                                        But I maintain my dignity as rambunctious beef diner:
                                                                                                                                        usually in pants... or at least in my underwear.

                                                                                                                                        1. I no longer eat meat - but when I did, and if I ever ate it again - I like my steak blue-rare.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                            When I was an apprentice and had to clean Beef Tenderloins I used to eat so much of it I'd make myself sick. But that was Tenderloin (filet). Some cuts should never be less than MR. But anything more than MR to a piece of the tender is a crime in my mind. I'd rather die than eat a burger less than medium well unless I personally bought and ground the meat though. If there's a lot of marbling in the cut I want the fat to be a bit on the cooked side but still evident. That's MR. As an aside. I sent a steak back at a Morton's 3 times once before I got what I was asking for. If you want 85 of my hard earned dollars for nothing else but an 8 oz piece of Filet then you bloody better give it to me EXACTLY as I asked. When it came back the 3rd time the chef visited the table. I told the lad I would be happy to grill my own steak (10 years as a grill chef can pay off). He brought it back perfect. I say eat it as you like it. You're paying for it. I don't like over cooked meat but I'll happily give my customers what they ask for even if I cringe a little every time someone askes for well done. I'm not going to eat it.

                                                                                                                                          2. I enjoy my steaks cooked to a medium rare, maybe slightly more. Seared outside, and warm red inside is perfect! That way the internal temp of the steak gets high enough to melt the marbling and disperse its goodness throughout the meat. This also allows the some of the protein to denature resulting in a more tender steak.

                                                                                                                                            My Dad on the other hand likes his steaks seared for 30-60 seconds per side. Just enough to get a slight char and start the Maillard reaction on the outside of the meat, while the inside remain cool and red. He loves them this way, but I find them to be tough and chewy.

                                                                                                                                            From an evolutionary standpoint humans that enjoyed the taste of cooked meat over raw on average lived longer, and therefore had a better chance of procreating. Over time the genetic predisposition for liking cooked meat became prevalent, but there still remains some vestiges of enjoying the flavor and texture of raw meat in our genetic code. I would assume that the degree to which these left over "raw meat genes" are present in an individual has some influence on how they like their steak cooked.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: daytonpilot

                                                                                                                                              "From an evolutionary standpoint humans that enjoyed the taste of cooked meat over raw on average lived longer, and therefore had a better chance of procreating. Over time the genetic predisposition for liking cooked meat became prevalent, but there still remains some vestiges of enjoying the flavor and texture of raw meat in our genetic code."
                                                                                                                                              _________
                                                                                                                                              That's an interesting theory, and it has a sort of obvious appeal, but I don't think taste preferences quite work like that. Surely there is some genetic aspect to it - humans in general seem to enjoy sweet flavors and avoid bitter ones. But within these very broad tendencies, formed associations and cultural preferences seem to play a much larger role in taste than genetics. For example, an ethnic Korean raised in Korea on traditional Korean food will typically have very different food preferences than another ethnic Korean raised in Milwaukee on McDonalds and Kraft Mac n Cheese. Tastes of the same culture seem to vary over short periods of time (steaks were typically cooked more well done in this country just 50 years ago, for example).

                                                                                                                                              Basically, I'm saying I doubt researchers will ever find a 'raw meat gene' or a 'cooked meat gene.'

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                I know using genetics, and evolution to explain why some people like their steak rare while others like it burned to a crisp is a very superficial explanation, and I am sure the environment that one is raised in has far more influence on their tastes than genetics. I just find it interesting that we are the only species that cooks our meat, and prefers the flavor of cooked meat over raw. Obviously we are also the only species that possesses the requisite knowledge and abilities to cook our food, but I wonder if given the choice would other animals choose a cooked rib eye over a raw one? And possibly someone has already done research on this, I will have to check out Wikipedia.

                                                                                                                                            2. "Do you eat, and enjoy, your steak rare?

                                                                                                                                              Yes, I do -- sometimes medium rare, sometimes very rare, but yes. Once in a while I'll venture off into carpaccio or tartare, but that's pretty rare. I eat very little beef, but enjoy what little I do eat.

                                                                                                                                              "If so, may I ask what the appeal is?...or those rare steak lovers, can you kindly explain the appeal of rare steak? Am I missing something?"

                                                                                                                                              Because I like it that way...you're welcome to sit at my table and eat your medium steak, and I promise not to make mooing sounds to upset you. ;P

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                also depends on where you are -- in Europe, beef tends to not be aged as it is in the US -- this, plus the considerably older average age of the beef herd at the time of slaughter, means that staying on the rare side of things keeps it edible...well-done will require laser-edged teeth to consume. (European beef is VERY flavorful...but a little chewy if you're not careful)

                                                                                                                                              2. Think we agree but the semantics may differ. l tend to get a rare steak with warm center. Makes it the medium-rare you always wanted but technically called something in the rare category.

                                                                                                                                                1. Pittsburghed, rare, medium rare, even medium - they all can be delicious IMO. Generally speaking, I prefer cuts without a lot of intramuscular fat/marbling on the Pittsburghed/rare side and cuts with a lot of marbling on the med rare/medium side. But even then, I'll often order a marbled steak rare if I'm not in a top-notch steakhouse (or someplace where I know the meat is prepped sous vide), just as an insurance against the dreaded well done piece of meat. I can eat and enjoy a steak rarer than my ideal, but overcooking it (med-well, well done) ruins it for me.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                    do people in pittsburgh understand "pittsburghed" or is that just a WV thing?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                      Not really sure. I've never ordered a "pittsburghed" steak in pittsburgh. I think the term is more widespread than just WV, at any rate. But it might be like 'Canadian doubles' in that the term is seldom used in its namesake area.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                        I've lived in Pittsburgh most of my life and still do. I've never heard of a steak ordered "Pittsburgh" (as mentioned upthread) or "Pittsburghed."

                                                                                                                                                        The actual term is "Pittsburgh Rare," and it is my favorite way to order a steak. Another term for the same preparation is "Black and Blue." The steak has a charred, burnt or almost-burnt crust, but is rare - cool and bright red - in the center. I have also seen this preparation called "Kansas City Rare."

                                                                                                                                                        The mythology behind the term "Pittsburgh Rare" is that when Pittsburgh was still a big steeltown, the steelworkers would bring raw cuts of beef to work for lunch. To cook them, they would toss the raw beef on slabs of iron or steel that were a couple thousand degrees. A couple seconds, a quick turn, another couple seconds, and they had a steak with a burnt crust and a raw center.

                                                                                                                                                        Any decent restaurant in Pittsburgh that serves steak will absolutely understand if you order your steak "Pittsburgh Rare." Many good steakhouses throughout the country will also understand the term "Pittsburgh Rare." In town, and at nice steakhouses throughout the country that is exactly what I say when I order steak. If I'm not quite sure the restaurant will understand the term, I order my steak "Black and Blue." Between the two terms, I've never had a restaurant ask for clarification - they understood what I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                    2. depends entirely on the cut of steak. Something really lean like a filet( or even a teres major), rare is good. Something fattier like a ny strip or a ribeye, or anything wagyu i prefer closer to a medium.

                                                                                                                                                      1. for those rare steak lovers, can you kindly explain the appeal of rare steak?
                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                        the more it's cooked, the less nuanced & complex the flavor...when cooked past medium it doesn't taste like much of anything to me, and all of the wonderful minerality is lost.

                                                                                                                                                        i feel the same way about raw vs cooked fish...sashimi or barely seared fish has a fresh briny flavor that gets lost when you cook it through.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                          I disagree with this. I think cooking meat tends to make the flavors more pronounced. Think of how long cooked meat can sometimes taste "gamy". Or what about mackerel? As sashimi, it's pretty mild, but broil it and it becomes intensely fishy.

                                                                                                                                                          I like the idea and texture of raw or medium rare meat, but often, the flavor is too subtle for me.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                            sorry for the delayed response - i'm just seeing this now. anyway, you're certainly entitled to disagree, as taste is subjective. i was simply offering my personal opinion, and IME, the flavors are more *complex* when meat or fish is raw or rare. it may be more intensely gamey or fishy when cooked, but that singular flavor component of gaminess or fishiness - *to my palate* - overpowers the other, subtler nuances that i appreciate/enjoy when it's less cooked.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I have always like steak cooked blue to rare...if cooked beyond med-rare i will not eat it...call me a steak snob, but I like what I like...My husband hates it when I sit there and tell him to turn my steak, but after 18 years he should know how i like it done ;)

                                                                                                                                                          My father's old say: Snatch his horns, wipe his ... and put'em on the plate

                                                                                                                                                          1. Ipsedixit, Baby, Honey Bunch, Sugar Plum, I'm having a problem with your question! Specifically where you write, " No, I'm talking a full piece of steak (whatever cut it might be)." That may just be your problem!

                                                                                                                                                            First off and foremost, "steak" is not just "steak." Equate the word "steak" with the word "car." What kind of car? Are we talking Ford, Cadillac, VW, Hot Rod, Little Deuce Coup, Fiat, Chevrolet, Masaratti, or maybe even Bugatti? It DOES make a difference! Steaks come in at least as many varieties and guises as cars.

                                                                                                                                                            Here are a few things to keep in mind where "steaks" are concerned:

                                                                                                                                                            1. The more tender the cut, the less flavor it has. Think about it. In classic Haute Cuisine, the ultra plus dishes like tournedos Rossini, steak Tartare, and other "high on the steer" cuts of beef are always heavily "flavor enhanced." In "The Escoffier Cookbook," Auguste Escoffier lists no less than 63 ways to prepare tournedos, the fat end cut of a tenderloin. Check out the list of ingredients for any steak Tartare recipe: It will not be short. All of these ingredients and garnishes do not come along because a tenderloin is so flavorful. Conversely, a chuck roast has lots of flavor but try a chuck steak without Adolph's Meat Tenderizer and you'll wish you had alligator jaws!

                                                                                                                                                            2, The breed of cattle makes a HUGE difference in how tender the steak is, as well as in its flavor. Today, Angus beef is broadly and loudly advertised as THE premium beef. Absolutely untrue. Unless you're a cattle breeder, then it is the animal of choice because it is smaller at birth (but catches up) resulting in less loss of life among calves and cows, doesn't have horns so they don't gore each other (or the cattlemen!), has a body shape that lends itself well to butchering, and it produces reasonably well flavored steaks. (If you like Angus.) Fifty years ago (and more) it was still possible to shop for beef in butcher shops and markets by cattle breed. Seventy years ago, Hereford were considered far more preferable than Angus in many circles. Today, Kobe/Wagyu is often touted as the gold standard for Top Quality Beef. Well, kids, there are lots of incredibly flavorful and delicious breeds of beef that can give Wagyu a run for its money. If you want an "over the top, my god, that tastes fantastic!" breed of beef, set your tush on an airplane and fly to Italy for a Chianina steak, because you will drive yourself bonkers trying to find Chianina beef in any American butcher shop! There are other over-the-top in flavor and texture breeds of cattle as well. The problem (in America) is that commercially produced and widely available beef, whether Angus or Wagyu or hamburger, is produced for cost effectiveness, from birth to plate. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain quality when that is your goal.

                                                                                                                                                            3. The diet of the animal donating the steak. This absolutely does play a major role in the flavor, texture and tenderness of a steak. True, real "grass fed" never-ever-ate-a-spec-of-grain-or-corn-in-its-lifetime beef DOES taste different that a beeves that have munched on grain/corn, whether a bucketful or a truckload. And cooking true grass fed beef is VERY different than cooking grain/corn fed beef. It cooks faster and at lower temperatures, and judging by some of the recipes I've found (and tried, thus ruining some wonderful grass fed beef), not a whole lot of people sharing recipes for grass fed beef on the web have a clue!

                                                                                                                                                            4. How the beef is aged, not to mention *IF* it is aged. The most luxurious (but used to be standard) way to age beef is dry aging. In my youth, way way back in the last century, dry aged beef was "de reguerre." In the dry aging process, whole dressed carcasses were hung in aging rooms kept at low (but not icy) temperatures, wiped down regularly with a mold retarding liquid (often water and vinegar) and allowed to hang for at least two weeks and up to three (or more) weeks for really premium carcasses. During this process about one third of the original weight would simply "evaporate" (think dehydrated fruit) and the natural enzymes in the meat would begin breaking down the muscle fibers, thus producing "truly fork tender" beef and a rich, deep flavor unattainable by any other means. Dry aging is almost prohibitively expensive in today's world where we need to feed billions. Wet aged beef was developed to cut some of the financial loss of dry aging, primarily the weight loss. To wet cure beef, the carcass is broken down into specific segments, cryovaced, then set in similar (but not "like") aging rooms. This cuts the weight loss to zero, but in MY opinion, it just produces "red jello." The enzymes don't work as well in a wet environment, and it's my personal opinion (though I'm NO scientist!) that is the reason for the "fishy" taste of a lot of wet cured beef. However, wet cured is still not the most cost effective way for agribusiness to bring beef to market because cryovaced or not, refrigerated storage ain't cheap! So we have "no-aged" beef. I don't know this for sure, but I highly suspect that a lot of non-aged beef is brought to market under the traditional dietary restrictions of Judaism and Islam, and then sold to the "outside world" because outsiders may assume it is "better." Because these dietary restrictions came about long before the age of refrigeration, for safety reasons both religions mandated that meat must be killed and eaten fresh. Read your Torah and read your Q'uran: NO mention of steak anywhere! Fresh killed meat, regardless of its designation, must be slow cooked for considerable time to be chewable. So this is a critical factor in how tender your steak will be, regardless of degree of doneness, and it greatly impacts on flavor

                                                                                                                                                            4. WHEN you salt your meat. I know. This is going to raise howls of protest. Things like, "ALL of the best chefs of our time say to salt steak before cooking. Emeril, Flay, James Beard, Julia Child, ALL of them." Well, they're wrong. I'm an iconoclast, so sue me, but sometimes I just have to test for myself. Since my original foray on these boards about what I found by not salting steak before cooking that resulted in what some have come to call "The Salt War," I have tested what salting does to steak before cooking with many cooking methods, and always with identical pieces of meat from the same steak. And always with the same result: Salting a steak before cooking produces tougher steak than if you don't salt until after it's cooked. I have tried this with broiled steaks, pan-seared-oven-finished steaks, charcoal grilled steaks, cast irons grilled steaks, and sous vide steaks. With no exception, the pre-salted steak was markedly tougher than the unsalted-but-salted-after-cooking steaks. If you don't believe me, don't argue with me. Just try it for yourself. Easy!

                                                                                                                                                            5. Doneness. "There's no accounting for tastes," said Mrs. Murphy as she kissed the cow." And so it is. I won't go into doneness because it's done so well and in detail here:
                                                                                                                                                            http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/03/ho...
                                                                                                                                                            While the doneness of sous vide steaks is addressed specifically here, I'm confident it will hold true for steaks cooked by other methods as well. Most people do prefer medium rare. It's that magic compromise temperature at which you have "the best of both worlds."

                                                                                                                                                            So to FINALLY to answer your overall question of whether and why I like a rare steak... YES! I LOVE rare steak ****IF**** it is dry aged, not pre-salted, charcoal broiled Porterhouse of at least USDA Prime (or better) cut of Hereford, Piedmontese, Wagyu or Chianina beef. And until you try THIS kind of rare steak, yes. You're missing something. Poor baby!

                                                                                                                                                            33 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                              Great post, C1. And how do you feel about accessory mushrooms?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                LOVE them! From buttons to truffles and all between. And you?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a shiitake guy, dried or fresh, and also the standard Agaricus, along with juvenile Portobellos called Creminis. We have a great mushroom factory right up highway, so fresh 'shrooms abound.

                                                                                                                                                                  Back in the hiking days, morels and chantrelles. Learned early to pack extra butter for that moment of finding a grove.

                                                                                                                                                                  A daily Shiitake is part of the dietary of keeping the doctor at bay. Time in Japan spent strolling through very utilitarian forests of tsugi as timber and oak logs on forest floor were racked to produce the Shiitake... might it be that I klepted just a few?

                                                                                                                                                                  Had a marvelous day of mushrooming with scientists in Japan, who took the approach that "we know those that are poisonous... everything else is clearly edible." At the end of the day, we sorted the species, and they boiled them with addition of soy sauce. I of course dived right, and kept full decorum, for no mention of possibilities of garlic and butter.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                  I've come back to share a tale with you that helps illustrate my points. Back in the sixties, when I lived in Las Vegas during The Rat Pack's fabled heyday, instead of buying my meat on base at the commissary (my husband was Air Force), I often bought it from a butcher who dealt in USDA Prime "overages" from some of the top restaurants and steak houses in town. My T-bone, Porterhouse, and rib steaks were so large they could not fit on a full sized dinner plate if served whole. A whole tenderloin? No problem making a beef Wellington to lavishly serve ten or twelve. And of course, it was all dry aged. I used to tease my butcher about selling steaks from Babe, The Blu Ox. <sigh> I wish those lazy scientists would hurry up and perfect time travel. I want to go back to the sixties for dinner! Been there done that and I want more tee shirts! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                    Wonderful post, as always well written.
                                                                                                                                                                    Would you be so kind to share where you shop for beef and are able to find such great breeds and cuts to choose from?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Piggin out

                                                                                                                                                                      My apologies!!! I don't know how I missed this post until today! I buy my organic grass fed beef online. Most organic beef ranchers who sell direct do excellent shipping in foam containers inside cartons, and have dry ice inside to keep the beef frozen for at least three days, which saves greatly when compared to overnight shipping. In my area there is one company that ships nationally, but they're just south of Fort Worth and deliver throughout the entire area every two weeks for a ten dollar delivery fee.... Or I think it's free delivery in some areas. If you Google things like "grass fed Charolais beef" or "grass fed Piedmontese" or "Texas long horn" or whatever (even organic grass fed American Wagyu) you'll find all sorts of shippers. There are also websites that list all of the cattle breeds raised in the U.S. with lists of breeders/shippers if you want a specific breed. Again, my apologies for overlooking your question for so long. It was an accidental oversight. Here are a few links to help get you started:

                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.baldwingrassfedbeef.com/sh...
                                                                                                                                                                      http://burgundypasturebeef.com/public...
                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.blackwing.com/index.php
                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.grassfedtraditions.com/gra...
                                                                                                                                                                      http://westdakotakobe.com/packages.html
                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.banderagrassland.com/

                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.thecattlesite.com/breeds/

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you so much. I as well am in DFW, what is the dealer over in Fort Worth? I will make a stop by there when I go for May Fest?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Piggin out

                                                                                                                                                                          Burgundy beef. They're in Grandview, and they raise Piedmontese. They deliver every two weeks in the Ft Worth and/or Dallas area. I think the schedule for home delivery is up on their website if you dig deep enough. http://burgundypasturebeef.com/public...

                                                                                                                                                                          There are several cattle ranches that sell from their farms in comfortable driving distance of the DFW metroplex. Well, assuming the drought didn't put them out of business. When Matador Meats opened here in Plano, they were offering locally grown organic grass fed beef across the counter. I bought some about three times, then it was gone! The drought had knocked their supplier out of the slaugher business and he was just trying to keep enough of his cattle to breed again when the drought was over. It's over! HOORAY....!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Piggin out

                                                                                                                                                                            Whoa...! I've just been all over Burgundy Beef's website and could not find the breed of cattle they raise anywhere. Only that it is grass fed dry aged. So I called them... They raise Black Angus! Which is great if you like Black Angus. I'm not crazy about it. I have obviously gotten my wires crossed somewhere because I was sure they bred Piedmontese. Sorry! But it is grass fed and organic and you can pick it up locally. But it's Black Angus.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                    so nice to see one of your well thought out posts again Caroline. It's been too long.

                                                                                                                                                                    my mom is of the no salt till you cook it school as well. i tend to think it doesn't make as much of a difference with wet aged beef, and i've even seen something on cooks illustrated as to why it wasn't a bad thing. still i avoid salting or only lightly salting before cooking. i keep expecting to hear mom shrieking 'what are you doing, you are going to ruin that meat.' she is alive and well, but that doesn't stop her from haunting me.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                      Ditto to Caroline for "Welcome back."

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                      So here's a question for you -- I can shop for beef by breed (Charolais, Blonde d'Aquitaine, Salers, Limousin, and Aubrac, mostly, though several others are available) -- but French beef is overwhelmingly NOT aged.

                                                                                                                                                                      The beef has fantastic flavor -- can't fault that for a second...but to sit down to a steak means sitting down to a long meal indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                      (yes, I know several of the Paris folk on the France board have a butcher in the city who ages beef....but I'm not in the city...!

                                                                                                                                                                      So what would be your suggestion for aging beef? Doesn't even have to be fork-tender...but there has to be some way to make that fabulous flavor a little more edible!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        If you google "aging beef refrigerator", you'll get some great answers.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                          I realize that...but I'm really not interested in siphoning through pages and pages of information from people who may or may not know what they're talking about, nor do I have any interest at all in sacrificing expensive beef and precious time to establish what they do or don't know...

                                                                                                                                                                          It sounds as though Caroine1 might know what she's talking about...so I'd be very interested in her answers.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          WOW...! You are SOOOOOOO lucky! I'm green with envy. (It isn't easy being Kermit!)

                                                                                                                                                                          I've checked out several websites on dry aging beef at home and here is the only one I've found so far that I trust!
                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.askthemeatman.com/is_it_po...
                                                                                                                                                                          Note that you do need to buy PREMIUM grades and in large segments with as much fat as possible still left in place. And follow the directions for changing and cleaning the "shrouds" (large dish towels) you will be covering the beef with as it ages. I would urge against directions for "dry aging" one steak at a time in the refrigerator. The dry aging process starting with fresh, gorgeous beef such as you will be using results in more weight loss than the above webpage states. A 21 day dry age, when I was a kid, resulted in 1/3 loss of carcass weight when we raised a steer for slaughter ourselves, which we didn't do often because you could readily buy dry aged beef back then. By the end of the dry aging period, the ends of the whole rib eye or loin strip (or full 7 rib standing rib roast, if you can get it!) will be in need of a shallow trim on the exposed meat surfaces until you get down to red instead of gray. If you have a refrigerator large enough to do a whole 7 bone prime rib, that would be ideal to my way of thinking because you have the fat cap protecting the meat from discoloration as it ages, and the rib bones and connective membranes doing the same thing on the bottom, so you only have the ends of the roast to trim for discoloration. You will end up with rib steaks, including the famous French entrecote de beouf, all tender and delicious. If you have the refrigerator space and can pull this off, Hey, you might end up with a cottage industry going for you if you want to!

                                                                                                                                                                          The other alternative is marinating. Enzymes are your friend! Fruits that have particularly high enzymes that will soften beef for better eating are papaya (many commercial meat tenderizers are made from their extract) and pineapple. Be sure to pierce a steak with a kitchen fork before marinating to help the marinade penetrate the full depth.

                                                                                                                                                                          If you have access to the web and can find reasonable shipping (or if you make occasional trips to the states or know people who do) Adolph's makes an unseasoned, MSG free institutional meat tenderizer that can be mixed at a ratio of 1 pound of Adolph's to 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) of water, mixed well, poured into a tray pan, then steaks are dipped in the solution after trimmed and in individual portions for one minute for steaks an inch or more thick and half that time for steaks less than an inch thick. The steaks are then drained on an inclined rack for two minutes before being wrapped and refrigerated until needed. I HAVE used Adolph's meat tenderizer. I HAVE NOT used this large scale method. I would suggest you try the method for wetting an individual steak, then liberally sprinkling it with the unseasoned MSG free tenderizer, then piercing it all over with a fork to help the enzymes penetrate. Experiment with methods one steak at a time so you're sure you will be happy with the results. Over tenderizing with Adolph's or papaya can result in a pretty sad over tenderized and extremely disappointing steak. But do it just right, and it really helps with tough beef you want to cook quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                          Another possibility for thinner cuts of steak an inch or less thick is the Jaccard meat tenderizer. They come in several sizes. I have this one:
                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.missionrs.com/SUPER-3.html...
                                                                                                                                                                          OR....
                                                                                                                                                                          http://tinyurl.com/7gof74j
                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know if tiny urls work from France!

                                                                                                                                                                          The Jaccard is used my many professional and home cooks. It basically creates old fashioned "minute steaks" like a butcher used to make on request by running a steak through a machine that pierced and broke the meat fibers with tiny knives mounted on an electric roller. If you're doing a lot of steaks, the Jaccard will be pretty taxing!

                                                                                                                                                                          There are recipes on line for marinades. Do not use brines unless you're doing something like a traditional old fashioned German sauerbraten. Be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS of ANYTHING that will bring salt into contact with meat before aging. Think about it this way: How did the ancient Egyptians make mummies? They used a carbonate salt as a desiccant to draw out moisture from bodies. How do you draw bitterness out of eggplant before cooking? You cover them liberally with salt and let the salt draw their moisture and bitterness out of them. Salt is a PRESERVATIVE and a DESICANT, not a tenderizer! If you want to make beef jerky, salt it! If you want to cook a tender steak, salt AFTER you cook. It's just that simple. So beware of brines or marinades that contain salt. If I were in y our situation, I would go for the dry aging. ALWAYS better than the alternatives.

                                                                                                                                                                          I wish you great luck, and let us know how your project goes! Hey, maybe I don't need time travel. Maybe all I need is to move to France and get a huge refrigerator!

                                                                                                                                                                          Here's to some delicious steaks in your future!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                            sadly, "France" and "huge refrigerator" are mutually exclusive...which pretty much renders me down to the tenderizer route or continuing on my current path of just not buying beef other than ground or that which is destined for a braising pot.

                                                                                                                                                                            (and yes, I can work with tinyurl -- thanks!)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              If you have access to an old, deep cellar, that might work. Especially during winter. When I visited a cousin in England waaaaaaaaaaaay back when, they had just bought a 400 year old National Treasure, and were updating it, but until they got a modern kichen, Lina used her "root cellar" as a refrigerator. Worked just fine! I think you want about 40 degrees or so. Not freezing. Or you can email the standing ribs of beef to me and I'll dry age them for you! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                In the meantime, just in coincidence, I saw a banner for artisan butchers...and one of them happens to be in the next town over...so perhaps I'll have a wander over his way....

                                                                                                                                                                                Sadly, our cold snap of below-freezing weather has just ended...so the cellar will be well above 40F....thinking...thinking....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  I live in north Texas. I have had the air conditioning running for two days now. So far, we have had three days of winter. We usually have at least one snoe per winter, sometimes more. Lot's more. The Super Bowl was here last year and hit hard by snow. Now this. If summer is going to be super hot, I'm going to run away from home. The artisan butchers sound great! Hey, maybe dry aged beef is catching on in France!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                              Unless there is some product that I don't know about, the primary ingredient in Adolph's unseasoned MSG-free meat tenderizer is salt. It also includes a tenderizer - used to include papain (from papaya) for tenderization, but that has been replaced by bromelain (pineapple).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                Use of Adolph's would make the steaks tough then.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                                                                                  No. The bromelain compensates for the salt. If you leave meat sitting in or coated with Adolph's longer than the recommended times you risk ending up with a digested mush! Bromelain works on the same principle as the enzymes in your digestive system.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                    So they even out, the salt and the bromelain?

                                                                                                                                                                                    If they wanted a tenderizer, why would they make one with salt, if salt toughens meat? Seems silly.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              Hi sunshine 842. I do a "mini" age in my fridge for a couple/few days for steaks that are already bought cut. I try and position them on their edge using toothpicks - so salt or anything, and very loosely cover. The fridge is usually a little to cool to do it properly, but that's all I got. I take them out a few hours before and dry them further under a ceiling fan (and, yes, I salt at that point, but that's a choice that I make). You are lucky to have those offerings in France. Oh, I wish to live there for a while....one day.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                oops - second sentence should say "...toothpicks - NO salt or anything, and loosely covered."

                                                                                                                                                                            4. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                              I disagree wholeheartedly with item 4 based on cooking hundreds of steaks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                No problem. Since all of those hundreds of steaks have already been cooked and eaten, there is no possible way to prove they would have been even more tender had you NOT salted them until after you cooked them, is there? There's likely little chance that someone with such an open mind will give just one unsalted-before-cooking steak a try out of honest curiosty, is there? Your choice. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                  You didn't read my comment properly., a good portion of those hundreds of steak were not salted. And cooked in all sorts of ways. My mind was always open to not salting, since so many people declare it so. For years, I didn't salt my steaks.until afterward. Now, I salt the steaks down well several hours before cooking and put them on my island under the ceiling fan. I put them on a cutting board that has a "moat." A lot of water drops out and doesn't interfere while cooking. I know, it is counter intuitive, but you have to remember that water is not where the "juices" come from. The primary reason for salting ahead is taste - water doesn't really have a taste. Also, I don't want water boiling in my steak while cooking. The heat of evaporation that water requires it too high, and the energy for actually cooking the steak is dissipated..

                                                                                                                                                                                  OK, I might use less or little salt on some sort of heritage, dry-aged organic fancy cow steak, but that's not what most of us are buying in the grocery store. It it is in a vac pak or wrapped in plastic film, you should definitely salt it. If you don't like salt, then wipe the excess off before cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                    hmmm... I don't think it's as much that I didn't READ your one-sentence comment properly as it is that you didn't EXPLAIN your one-sentence comment properly. Oh, well. I can understand (intelectually) where the salting/dehydration process you describe might improve on cryovaced WET AGED steaks. I don't like wet aged beef. If you do, live it up!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                      uummmm, okay......like I never tried it unsalted ever in my life. I never thought that someone would think from my one-sentence post that I've cooked hundreds of steaks in only one manner and declared that to be gospel. Furthermore, I never, ever, never, ever, never said that I like "wet-aged." In my parts (Texas), even at shops where dry-aged is offered, one doesn't typically see wet-aged as an offering. I avoid wet-aged at all costs because of the lack of increased quality you get with the increase in price. But if you can afford dry-aged steaks for you and your family/friends each time you eat steak, if sounds like you are already livin it up!

                                                                                                                                                                                      But to reply to psedixit (or is it "Baby, Honey Bunch, Sugar Plum?"), I'd hesitate to order a steak rare in a restaurant, especially when the server doesn't know the type of cow, whether is is aged or not, etc. In a real chop house where they will tell you these things, typically medium rare is less done than a medium rare somewhere else. But, I'm with you, I don't just love rare meat if it is still cool and gelatinous, even if it is dry-aged prime. So, us "poor babies" are in the same boat! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                        Just for the record, organic is the ONLY type of beef I can safely eat. Even small traces of hormones or antibiotics in meat, milk, or eggs will bring me down with fibromyalgia thar goes on for days, It's a type of allergy that allergists cannot treat, therefore avoidance is the safest option. So if I have to pay for organic if I want any beef at all, there's not that much price difference between organic wet aged beef and organic dry aged, so why not go for what tastes good? My kids live 600 miles away, so they buy their own steaks. Since moving to Dallas (Plano) from El Paso, I have given up on eating steaks in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                          Agree that the price difference isn't all that much (wet vs dry)......sorry about the fibromyalgia - I'm sure that going out for steak is like Russian Roulette. . My "goal" is to eat only organic, grass fed steaks in small amounts with TONS of veggies. And with the steak being dry and flamed properly, somewhere between medium rare and rare. But sometimes my pocketbook disagrees with my stomach and palate!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! No, for me going out for steak is nothing like Russian Roulette. It's exactly like suicide! Fortunately, I prefer a good oxtail stew with pearled barley to a steak, except for beef Wellington at the holidays. Oxtails, barbecued beef ribs. Cuts that are easier to find in grass fed dry aged buffalo than in beef.

                                                                                                                                                                            5. Corn fed prime, custom dry aged Ribeye seared over very high heat....preferably cast iron or mesquite.
                                                                                                                                                                              Rare.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                I can(and often do, when i am prepping steaks for the grill) eat filet with a bit of salt while merely thinking about fire- it really doesn't need to get any closer to heat than that- but will cook (or order) filet very rare or black and blue. Ribeyes are rare or on the rare side of mid-rare because of the extra fat, and burgers are mid- rare. This is pretty much all in theory now, though- I gave up meat (all animal protein excepts eggs and dairy) for Lent last year, and felt so much better I very rarely eat it now. I think I have only had 1 steak( a locally produced grass- fed filet) and a couple of burgers since last year.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I tell the waitress to ask the cook to throw my steak on the grill, wait 2 minutes, flip it, wait 2 more minutes, then put it on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I like my steak so rare, I only eat Unicorn.

                                                                                                                                                                                  (I saw that somewhere--mabye even here--and it just cracked me up) Sorry,

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I definitely prefer my steak rare. I have never found it chew or the intramuscular fat and marbling to be "icky and fat." To the contrary, I prefer my steak rare because I think it carries more flavor and has a melt-in-your-mouth quality, as long as you have a good cut of beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My personal favorite is ribeye seared rare. In fact, it may be my favorite dinner all time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. For steak, I prefer it between Rare and Medium Rare, and I try to order that way when possible. More often I just cook it myself. I almost never get steak at a restaurant, unless it is a top-flight steak house (or that is the only thing on the menu that I like/am in the mood for)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Medium rare is not too bad but far too often when you order medium rare it comes medium or even medium well if it has sat too long.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PenskeFan

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ideally, I like just a bit more cooked than rare, although, I'll gladly eat a quality rare steak. Used to order med-rare, but too many times it would be overcooked. I'd rather have it be a little under than over.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Simlar with my eggs. Over easy is often a little too under (runny whites make me queasy) and over medium is too done. Mr. S has the egg timing perfectly worked out for home breakfasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. OK, so this is a 2011 thread, but I will answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I take mine "Medium Rare," and that should translate to pink, but room temp on the inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I often give specific directions, as some kitchens have different ideas, and different terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Depends on the cut. I like Filet rare. I like Strips & ribs between med rare & rare. These can be a little chewy if too rare. Cook most steaks on a Big Green egg with lump charcoal searing at over 1000 degrees.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Oh yeah, use only top choice or better beef , min 28 day.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                              Caroline1,..the online sites you listed are awesome and as a steak lover I can't believe it's the 1st time seeing those. As a TX resident, I'm curious have you bought or heard of Strube Ranch? It wasn't on you list so I reckon not. They are my 1st foray into good beef I got their 15 lb wagyu sirloin at very reasonable price ...whereas before my only choices were LaCense which is "ok" to horrible from Kansas city steaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So glad I stumbled on this thread, my future with beef looks bright.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And from that list, what is your absolute favorite?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                There is a simple amazing method that my grandpa uses that doesn't use salt...just accent and garlic not even black pepper. The accent will enhance the meat and actually tenderize it. What he does is to give a good massage rub with the accent and rub some smashed WHOLE cloves of garlic and let it sit at room temp for about 30 min..then sear the heck out of it with a super hot pan and what you have is a super natural tasting piece of steak without the harshness of salt and you won't miss it because the accent in some way tricks the brain with invisible salt flavorings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not crazy about this method because accent is actually MSG but those who don't mind it and is trying to keep their sodium levels down this is perfect for you. Nothing gets in the way of the beef just a nice perfume aroma of garlic and smokiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I have a suspicion that the desire to eat raw meat is related to a latent gene for the disease porphyria. Porphyria is known as the "vampire disease" because those with it have very pale skin and get welts on their skin with very little sun exposure. Some note a odd desire to consume rare meat or blood while others think it makes them feel better. Oddly treatment of the disease even involves administration of some type of hemoglobin.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have an innate repulsion to raw/ rare meat. One date insisted I join him in a home "cooked" raw steak that he had prepared and I agreed after considerable protest. Upon making an earnest effort to chew the bloody meat, my stomach muscles started to contract involuntarily rhythmically. The contractions became more and more forceful and uncontrollable until I threw it and all the other contents of my stomach up on his white table cloth, carpet and dining room chairs. I had sincerely desired to consume the repulsive carnage in order to please my date, but my body refused to participate. When I see photos of raw meat on plates with blood oozing like gravy all over the plate, I can not help to think that the consumer may as well have just taken a cleaver to the buttock of a cow on a hot summer day and placed the slice directly upon a plate instead in the field.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Gael Greene once entertained several three-star chefs (Troisgros is one I remember) at Peter Lugar, and was appalled that they ordered theirs medium. And enjoyed it! Of course, Gael, whatever her other virtues, was a very trendy eater, and had hers very rare. Me? Rare to medium-rare, never blue or cold. Red,at least in the middle, but the inside must be warm. Just tastes 'beefier' that way. To me.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For me it depends on the cut & how it was aged. Generally I am ok with Med Rare to rare but prefer rare with dry aged steak. Nobody in my house will even eat steak or burger if its cooked beyond medium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. If I could eat it while it is still faintly mooing I would:) I love it seared on the outside and warm juicy and very pink inside or if I cook it a moment too long then medium rare is ok too.For me it is so tender juicy and full of flavor when it is rare.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, you have a better chance of catching a STD from another enjoyable endeavor that getting sick eating rare beef!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. When I was a kid, my mom always cooked steak to beyond well done but not yet burnt. Oh, and it was usually cheap round steak, so basically shoe leather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One night, she was grilling outside and it got dark before the steaks were "done."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Turns out she pulled them off the grill just as they hit medium rare (and they happened to be sirloins that night) and I finally got to taste a good steak! Been eating medium rare ever since. Which, by the way, since it seems to be a bit subjective, means (to me) dark pink and and warm all the way through.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My first good steak was made by my first boyfriend who was Creole from New Orleans. He soaked it in soy sauce, onions, black pepper (NO SALT) and fried in butter well done!! Elegant simplicity. Juicy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is how I cook mine now and I have yet to find any to top the recipe. Some times I make a roux with the soy sauce to make it even richer. The steak must be constantly stabbed and marinated while cooking. Adding more soy sauce to the pan and covering with a lid after browning and turning it constantly allows the proper juicy, moisture levels to remain inside. It requires some work to do it right but it is SO worth it. It is a taste of heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lesavan

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well done is too done for me, but to each their own!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. In France, I used to order my (grass-fed Charolais) steak "bleu," which is just shy of rare. In the U.S, I would never have ordered a (corn-fed) steak cooked this way, and always went for medium rare. Don't know if the preference is due to the feed, or the breed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Folks, this thread was started with the question posed to rare meat lovers asking them to share why they like their meat rare. While thread drift is a natural part of this site, this thread has drifted into a fairly antagonistic place, so we're going to close it at this time.