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Apr 19, 2013 11:45 AM

what is happening to my steaks?

So I like to think I know my way around a steak pretty well, but the last 2-3 times I've cooked one I've been confronted with a pan filled with juice at the end of the cooking time. What am I doing wrong? I use high-quality, thick steaks, usually ribeyes.
I usually follow the same pattern-
Season heavily with course salt, sometimes garlic and worchestershire
Let sit out 30-45min to come up in temp
Sear on a blazing hot cast iron pan, 2-3 minutes/side
Into 375 oven until Rare/Mid-rare
Rest 10 min

Used to produce perfect results, however, the last couple times I've cooked I've pulled the pan out of the oven and my beef is swimming in the juices I want to keep inside the meat! Experiments with Strip steak and top Sirloin produced the same result.

Help! Good beef is pricey, I want to treat it the way it deserves!

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  1. I wonder if they are "enhancing" the beef with lots of salt water like they do with pork and chicken.

    24 Replies
    1. re: chileheadmike

      I think the label has to reflect a % solution but it may be very inconspicuous.

      1. re: chileheadmike

        Adding water to beef will make it turn dark. No one "enhances" beef with saline.

        1. re: Brandon Nelson

          I could be wrong but I believe I read that Walmart had been selling individual vacuum sealed steaks that were enhanced / pumped.

          1. re: Tom34

            If one does a search for WalMart beef enhanced, one does find that indeed, their beef has been injected with a solution. I can't find anything current, other than they introduced a select or choice that isn't.

            1. re: wyogal

              Isn't language interesting? What they call "enhanced" I would call...adulterated...or ruined.

            2. re: Tom34

              You are not wrong. I have purchased them and they are very good but they have some saline solution in them. I cooked them on the barbeque last summer and got many compliments on them all asking where did I purchase them.

              1. re: Ruthie789

                If I remember correctly they were injected select grade. Many chains like Applebees have been using similar products for years. Chinese takeout restaurants are king of tenderizers. Usually prolonged thirst following the meal is a give away.

                Like anything else food wise, the degree of pleasure lies in the mouth of the chewer. For me, any form of injection reduces the intensity of the products nature flavor and I prefer non-enhanced meats & seafood.

                1. re: Tom34

                  I do too Tom but the price was right and sometimes that is a consideration. I had several visitors last summer so I did my best to feed them according to my budget without going overboard. It's almost a rooming house here in the summertime.

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    I hear you Ruth on the cost of feeding frequent company. I have been known to blade several London Broils with a Jaccard and pump them myself with tenderizer for large crowds.

                    Having a few inexpensive vacuum sealed pumped strip steaks in the freezer can also be good for the guest who likes a well done steak as they are more forgiving of being overcooked. I always have a few cheap select grade fillets in the freezer for the same reason.

                    1. re: Tom34

                      You don't feel all your guests deserve the same quality steaks?

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Its not a matter of deserve, its a matter of what works. Many surveys have shown that people rank tenderness & juiciness as the most important factors. I have found that it is very difficult to grill a well done non pumped strip steak that remains tender & juicy. IMHO, pumped beef is better suited for well done cooking.

                        As I mentioned, filet is another option as it still remains relatively tender even when cooked well done. Having said that, I see no reason to cook $12.00 lb choice filet well done only to have all the fat melt and end up in the fire leaving the equivalent of a select steak.

                        As for multiple London Broils for a large crowd, thats just a convenience thing. EX. 1 rare, 1 med rare, 1 med & 1 well.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          Where do you get filet with any fat?

                          1. re: mcf

                            I know your not a fan of feed lot beef (and I respect that) but a top choice / low prime grain finished filet does have nice lightening bolt marbling but you won't see it in the supermarket. Occasionally, NY wholesalers get stuck with high prime beef (abundant marbling) that was slated to go to Japan and a friend who is an old school butcher (40 plus years) says, they drop their pants and he swoops in and buys a skid of it. Having never been a fan of fillet, I was converted by porterhouses that had more fat than lean . Never in my life did I eat such a delicious piece of meat.

                            1. re: Tom34

                              Porterhouse can be good, but it's just never been my fave, even before I stopped eating grain fed beef. I don't really care for NY strips or for filet. Gimme ribeye, flank, skirt, especially gimme ribeye on the bone.

                              1. re: mcf

                                I like it all but prefer the strip. A friend bones out a lot of whole ribs and I get the 7 bone rack of ribs from him & smoke them over plain lump charcoal. Very rich and delicious.

                                Don't know if you have tried it or can get it but sirloin flap meat is also very good if properly cooked. Very beefy and some nice fat too.

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  I have heard that sirloin flap is very good, have not had it, though.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    The NAMP# is 185A....whole flap is between 2 - 3 lbs....kind of flank shaped.... slightly triangular......kind of flat....about 1 3/4 inches thick tapering to about 1 inch.

                                    I sear both sides over screaming heat which chars the outside and cooks about an 1/8 inch on each side. I then pull it, slice across the grain into 3/4" thick strips & sear both sides of the strips over screaming heat and pull at med rare.(Not good rare). Then season with S/P/G and serve.

                                    A grass finished strong beefy flavor person would probably like it.

                          2. re: Tom34

                            My point is this. You do not hide the fact you enjoy your beef and pride yourself to enjoy the best. You invite some friends over to enjoy your passion....but you deem some are worthy of the beef you choose to eat.....but deem others who enjoy their beef....unlike you, or well done, get inferior graded meat.

                            If I were your friend, I would be pissed. if you did that to me.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              High choice / low prime cooked well done is no different from select as the fat melts and goes to the fire. Having read many of your posts, you already know this!

                            2. re: Tom34

                              Wow, choice filet has not been that cheap in my area for years.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                Your right, I haven't bought individual steaks in a very long time and always have sub primal prices in my head. $12.00 p/lb is for a whole PSMO filet. Trimmed out center cut at a private butcher or high end market is probably closer to $20 - $25 p/lb. for a CAB or Sterling Silver product.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  Do you live near a Costco?

                                  A few Costcos near me here in Georgia sell USDA Prime whole ribeyes for $8.49/pound. Woo woo!

                                  I'm not sure about the USDA Prime whole tenderloin prices though as I only buy the whole ribeyes.

                              2. re: fourunder

                                My guests deserve what I can afford. Sometimes I can feed a guest a faux filet or a mass group Walmart's steak, I do my best according the meal's budget.

                2. maybe you're seasoning too heavy on the salt which is drawing liquid to the surface of the steak.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: treb

                    I agree and would not salt before cooking to see if there is an improvement.

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      Meat salted after cooking just doesn't taste "right" to's not the same. But you might be right about the oversalting. I wonder if the OP is letting the meat rest so it can reabsorb some of the juices?

                  2. Are you buying supermarket steaks? You may be paying for more oz/lbs of fluid.

                    Try seasoning them and dry aging on a rack over a pan in the fridge for two days, then bring to room temp for a full hour before grilling.

                    Or try buying from better sources. :-)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mcf

                      This is exactly what we do. We buy from our local butcher, then put on rack in frig for about 2-3 days. Amazing results.

                      Your steaks are probably steaming instead of pan searing like they should be. Hence all the juices.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Nope, buying at a minimum Prime beef, generally from Whole Foods or a local specialty butcher!

                        1. re: jdwdeville

                          Then I think you need to ask questions about tenderizing they may be doing, or how long they're dry aged.

                      2. The steaks could have undergone a tenderizing operation, which name escapes me. There's a thread on it on the general topics board, but apparently most of the beef sold in US supermarkets goes through one processor, which subjects most of the beef to this tenderizing process (and, to make it worse, the process is apparently likely to spread nasty bacteria). Anyway, if the steaks you're buying have been tenderized in this manner, you would not be informed on the label and you might not be able to detect it by looking at the steak. But that procedure would break down the meat fibers which would result in the mean juices escaping as the steak cooks.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: janniecooks

                          That's what I was thinking. "Needling," or "blading" are the terms, I think.

                          1. re: wyogal

                            Yes, thank you ! That's the term I was blanking on. Here are two links to bladed beef discussions. Though some posters on those links feel that blading had no ill effects on the steak, I would be inclined to disagree.


                            1. re: janniecooks

                              Needling a traditionally tough cut of meat such as London Broil has benefits. I have a small Jaccard tool which works very well.

                              Having said that, a traditionally tender cut of beef such as a rib or strip that grades out high choice or low prime does NOT need to be needled/bladed.

                              IMHO, the trend toward needling high value cuts is an attempt to make up for lower quality beef with minimal age.

                              1. re: Tom34

                                While rib or strip "does NOT need to be needled", it would appear that most beef steaks sold in US groceries ARE needled. It is indeed the producers/processors doing it to compensate for low quality beef. It is not listed on the package or label, and thus is thrust upon the consumer without his knowledge or consent.

                                1. re: janniecooks

                                  I buy only sub primals and I don't think I have bought a high value cut / steak from a chain store in close to 10 years. The subject has been discussed previously on Chowhound and somebody posted pictures of steaks they got at Costco and when stretched a little the blade marks were plainly visible. Very sad. I do believe that if they actually inject it with a solution like Walmart was doing they have to declare it on the label.

                          2. re: janniecooks

                            We would be surprised at how many meat cuts go through that tenderizer.

                            1. re: Ruthie789

                              Yeah, I had often thought my steaks appeared tenderized, and was shocked to be proven correct when I read the article linked in the general topics thread. Consumers ought to be given a choice, at the very least the label should state whether meat has been bladed.

                              1. re: janniecooks

                                Many folks have raised safety concerns with bladed meat, specifically transferring potentially dangerous bacteria on the surface that normal cooking methods kill to the center of the steak that often is not heated sufficiently to kill such bacteria.

                                Maybe chemicals are being used to prevent this, I don't know. Either way, IMHO bladed meat should be labeled.

                                1. re: janniecooks

                                  Totally agree, it is a sneaky little thing that goes on in the industry and it should be labelled if tenderized.

                            2. Look for ingredients on the package. There should not be any.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Nope. If it is meat and meat only, there will not be an ingredients list.