All About Steak

January 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM | Posted in BEEF, diabetes friendly, Food, grilling | 4 Comments
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A steak (from Old Norse steik, “roast”) is generally a cut of meat cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers, or of fish cut perpendicular to

Rump steak cooked to medium rare

the spine. Steaks are usually grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. Steak can also be meat cooked in sauce (cf. steak and kidney pie) or minced meat formed into a steak shape (cf. Salisbury steak, hamburger steak).

The word “steak” by itself generally refers to beefsteak. The more tender cuts from the loin and rib are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole. Less tender cuts from the chuck or round are cooked with moist heat or are mechanically tenderized (cf. cube steak).

Steaks from other animals are usually qualified as, e.g., ‘swordfish steak’ or ‘venison steak’.

In the United Kingdom, steak is typically served with chips (french fries) , fried mushrooms and a fried tomato. Other vegetables such as peas, carrots or a green salad can also be served. English mustard and ketchup are condiments sometimes used.[citation needed] The country has a long history of beef eating and was once known for its beef and beef cooking methods, earning the English the nickname, “Le Rosbif,” from the French.

In the United States, a restaurant that specializes in beef steaks is known as a steakhouse, and typical steak dinner consists of a steak, with a starchy side dish, usually baked or mashed potatoes, but occasionally another potato dish, rice, pasta, or beans. A side salad or a small serving of cooked vegetables often accompanies the meat and side, with corn on the cob, green beans, creamed spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, and onion rings being popular. A well-known accompaniment to steak is shrimp or a cooked lobster tail, a combination often called “surf and turf” or “reef and beef” and “pier and steer”. Rounding out an American steak dinner is some sort of bread, usually a dinner roll.

Special steak knives are provided, which are usually serrated, though straight blades also work; they also often have wooden handles. Prepared condiments known as steak sauces are generally on the table in steakhouses. Tenderized round or sirloin steaks, breaded, and pan-fried or deep-fried, are called chicken fried or country fried steaks, respectively. Thinly sliced ribeye or other tender cuts, cooked on a hot griddle and shredded slightly, and served on Italian style rolls are called Philly steaks, named after Philadelphia, the city in which they became famous.

The amount of time a steak is cooked is based upon personal preference; shorter cooking times retain more juice, whereas longer steak cooking times result in drier, tougher meat but reduce concerns about disease. A vocabulary has evolved to describe the degree to which a steak is cooked. The following terms are in order from least cooked to most cooked:

Raw — Uncooked. Used in dishes like steak tartare, carpaccio, gored gored, tiger meat and kitfo.
Seared, Blue rareor very rare — Cooked very quickly; the outside is seared, but the inside is usually cool and barely cooked. The steak will be red on the inside and barely warmed. Sometimes asked for as “blood rare” or “bloody as hell”. In the United Kingdom sometimes asked for “still mooing”, meaning so rare that the animal is alive. In the United States, this is also sometimes referred to as

Steaks on a grill

‘Black and Blue’ or ‘Pittsburgh Rare’. In Germany this is also known as “English Style or bloody”. It is common for chefs to place the steak in an oven to warm the inside of the steak. This method generally means ‘blue’ steaks take longer to prepare than any other steak degree, as these require additional warming time prior to cooking.
Rare — (52 °C (126 °F) core temperature) The outside is grey-brown, and the middle of the steak is fully red and slightly warm.
Medium rare — (55 °C (131 °F) core temperature) The steak will have a reddish-pink center. This is the standard degree of cooking at most steakhouses, unless specified otherwise.
Medium — (63 °C (145 °F) core temperature) The middle of the steak is hot and fully pink surrounding the center. The outside is grey-brown.
Medium well done — (68 °C (154 °F) core temperature) The meat is lightly pink surrounding the center.
Well done — (73 °C (163 °F) and above core temperature) The meat is grey-brown in the center and slightly charred. In parts of England this is known as “German style”.
Overcook — (much more than 90 °C (194 °F) core temperature) The meat is blackened throughout and slightly crispy.

A style exists in some parts of North America called “Chicago”. A Chicago-style steak is cooked to the desired level and then quickly charred. The diner orders it by asking for the style followed by the doneness (e.g. “Chicago-style rare”). A steak ordered “Pittsburgh rare” is rare or very rare on the inside and charred on the outside. In Pittsburgh, this style is referred to as “black and blue” (black or “sooty” on the outside, and blue rare on the inside).

In France, steak is usually served with French fries or ‘pommes frites’ as they are referred to in French. The combination is known as ‘steak-frîtes.’ Vegetables are not normally served with steak in this manner, but a green salad may follow or (more commonly) be served at the same time. This is also the case in Argentina.

In Italy, steak was not widely eaten until after World War II because the relatively rugged countryside does not readily accommodate the space and resource demands of large herds of cattle. Some areas of Piedmont and Tuscany, however, were renowned for the quaility of their beef. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a well-known specialty of Florence; it is typically served with just a salad. From the 1960s onward, economic gains allowed more Italians to afford a red meat diet.

In the Balkan region, steak is often rubbed with mustard and pepper, and marinated in vinegar and vegetable oil for up to a week. It is then fried in butter, and a slice of toast is then used to soak up the pan drippings. The steak is served on the toast and topped with optional fried egg and a sprig of parsley.

Types of beef steaks:

*Chateaubriand steak
Usually served for two, center cut from the large end of the tenderloin. Sometimes it’s extra thick top sirloin.

American cuts of beef.

*Chuck steak
A cut from neck to the ribs.
*Cube steak
A cut of meat, usually top round, tenderized by fierce pounding with a mallet or mechanical blades.
*Filet Mignon
A cut from the small end of the tenderloin; the most tender and usually the most expensive cut by weight.
*Flap steak
A cut from the bottom sirloin.
*Flank steak
From the underside. Not as tender as steaks cut from the rib or loin.
*Flat iron steak
A cut from under the shoulder blade.
*Hanger steak or (French) onglet
A steak from near the center of the diaphragm. Flavorful, and very tender towards the edges, but sinewy in the middle. Often called the butcher’s tenderloin or hanging tender.
*Popeseye steak
Thinly sliced rump steak, originating in Scotland and available in the UK.
*Ranch steak
A chuck steak usually cut no thicker than one inch, 10 ounces or less, and trimmed of all excess fat.
*Rib eye steak, also known as Scotch fillet, and Entrecôte
A rib steak consisting of the longissimus muscle and the spinalis or cap. This comes from the primal rib used to make prime rib which is typically oven roasted as opposed to grilled as is typical with rib eye. Also known as a Spencer Steak.
*Round steak, rump steak, or (French) rumsteak
A cut from the rump of the animal. A true grilling steak with good flavor though it can be tough if not cooked properly.
*Sirloin steak
A steak cut from the hip. Also tends to be less tough, resulting in a higher price.
*Outside Skirt steak
A steak made from the diaphragm. Very flavorful, but also rather tough.
*Inside skirt steak
A steak from the flank or bottom sirloin similar in appearance but more tender than the outside.
*Strip steak, also known as New York strip
A high-quality steak cut from the strip loin, a muscle that is relatively low in connective tissue, so it is particularly tender.
*T-bone steak and Porterhouse
A cut from the tenderloin and strip loin, connected with a T-shaped bone (lumbar vertebra). The two are distinguished by the size of the tenderloin in the cut. T-bones have smaller tenderloin sections, while the Porterhouse – though generally smaller in the strip – will have more tenderloin. T-bone and Porterhouse steaks are among the most expensive steaks on a menu because of the large individual portion size.
*Tri-tip steak/roast
Also known as a Triangle Steak, due to its shape, it’s a boneless cut from the bottom sirloin butt.

Several other foods are called “steak” without actually being steaks:

Beef tips
Small cuts of high or medium quality beef left over from preparing or trimming steaks, grilled and served in a manner similar to the cuts they were taken from. Common as a “budget conscious” option for those who want to eat steak but cannot afford (or cannot consume) a whole steak.
Salisbury steak
Not a steak, but rather a burger from ground beef made with onions, usually bread crumbs, and occasionally mushrooms. Also known as “Hamburger Steak” or “Minute Steak” (due to its shorter cooking time). It is the least expensive “cut” of steak, usually because it is made of lower grade meat.
Steak tartare or tartar steak
Finely chopped raw fillet of beef, onion, parsley, capers, a hot sauce (usually Worcestershire) and raw egg.


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