Monday, February 13, 2012

How Do You Like Your Steak?

We have a tradition with my parents, whenever it is someone's birthday they treat us to dinner out.  Whenever it is on the menu, I order a steak!  Usually a ribeye if they have it, medium well ... closer to the medium side.  (I am becoming braver and might just go medium next time!)  My mom usually has the same two remarks; first that she doesn't like steak and then a squeamish look and a "yuck" when she sees the pink in my meat.  I tell her that the reason she does not like steak is because she's never had a good one and she's never had a good one because she won't eat it less than well done.
As you can probably guess, growing up I was not fed steak and I was certainly not fed any meat that was less than well done!  It took a while, but I finally gained the courage to try a steak with some pink a few years ago.  It was AMAZING!  I never thought I could stomach the idea of eating raw (as I called it back then) beef!
I am trying to learn how to make and amazing steak at home.  I think I am definitely getting there!  An important thing to know is the differences between the levels of doneness, which in my experience is not always consistent from one chef to another. 
Through my research, I have found this to be consistant through cooking websites, magazines, restaurants and steak companies. 

Levels of doneness:
Rare - 125 degrees; very red, cool center; 75% red
Medium Rare - 130 degrees; red, warm center; 50% red
Medium - 140 degrees; pink, hot center; 25% pink
Medium Well - 150 degrees; hint of pink, hot center
Well - 160 degrees; no pink at all
I found a great "Doneness Chart" at Cook Perfect Steaks.  It also shows you how to test the meat while cooking it with out cutting into the meat.  I didn't want to risk copyright infringement by pasting their picture here.

When cooking meat, you should remove it from the heat when it is 5 degrees below desired temp and then let it rest.  The residual heat creates what is known as carry-over cooking and will bring it up to the desired temp.

So there you go!  Be brave, try something new!  I did!!

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