Worldwide popularity of well-done meat
A recent conversation has gotten me thinking about the relative popularity of rare and well-done meat in different parts of the world. I tend to like medium-rare meat myself, but the preference seems largely cultural. It would be interesting to breakdown of meat rareness by region.
As far as I know, most people in South Asia, China, the Middle East, and South and Central America tend to cook the pink out of meat most of the time, often marinating or cutting it in smaller pieces than western-style steaks. Raw or rare meat seems popular in Japan, parts of SE Asia, parts of Africa, Western Europe, and North America. Does this sound about right? And does anyone know how they (dry-)cook their meat in Eastern Europe?
If we're just talking about Western style steaks (because most Asian and African countries do not eat beef in that manner -- i.e., one big anvil-like slab), then I would say people who enjoy their steaks rare or medium-rare are in the minority. A solid minority.
Reading Chowhound one would think that rare/medium-rare is the norm and those that prefer their beef any shade the other side of reddish-pink is a barbarian.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Remember, the Chowhound community is not representative of the general populace. In fact, I would surmise that Chowhound is probably one of the least representative samples of the general populace one can find.
<As far as I know, most people in South Asia, China, the Middle East, and South and Central America tend to cook the pink out of meat most of the time, often marinating or cutting it in smaller pieces than western-style steaks...>
I think, beside countries, it has a lot to do with the cut of meat and preparation. Many cuts of beef which are prized in say Chinese cuisine have some fats in them. Well done cooking for fatter cut of meat does not taste dry.
I once witnessed a friend pull a chunk of completely raw burger meat -- from a conventional grocery store -- and eat it. It made me a little ill. I often feel like I'm in a tiny minority in America for preferring my meat well done _invariably_. I don't even want my steaks very pink. But I know I'm in a majority for the rest of the world. After all I'm certain people would get sick a lot more often from 'improperly cooked' beef if that were not the case. Maybe beef is generally 'safer' than chicken, or so some have told me, but not only would I rather not risk it -- I PREFER the taste of fully cooked beef. I'll still eat sashimi, in moderation, though!
I assume the OP is referring more generally to beef and to beef steaks in particular. Now, I don't eat a lot of steak but, on the occasions I do, I prefer it medium rare (depending on the cut). That said, I'd reckon that most people I dine with order their steak medium or well done.
FWIW, I'm a western Europe resident.