JUST when you thought you seen enough of me of Facebook, the good souls at the Portadown Times offered me a food blog to talk to you lovely meat freaks about all things meaty and succulent. Before I delve into the dangerous world of recipes Im gonna go back to the basics on how to actually cook a steak and decide is actually eating a steak rare better?
Before I delve into the dangerous world of recipes Im gonna go back to the basics on how to actually cook a steak and decide is actually eating a steak rare better?
If you grew up in a household like mine, your meat was sat down to you cremated ( sorry mum ). Growing up I knew no different and it wasn’t until about five years ago that I got relentlessly shouted at by a stereotypical french chef for ordering a sirloin steak extremely well done that I then entered into a world of pink fleshy goodness! ( im a meduim rare kinda guy ) But is eating rare/raw steaks really better? The answer of course depends on the cut of beef!
We live in a world where the more rare you cook your steak, you are deemed to be ‘hip’ and ‘cultured’ but is that in fact true? Aren’t steaks rare more juicy and tender? Not necessarily my friends, but we have fat, collegian and plain old chemistry to blame for that.
Let’s take the ‘en vogue’ cut at the moment - the Ribeye steak. Cooking these bad boys really rare or ‘bleu’ is just plain wrong and gut wrenching! There is probably a lot of old school chefs turning in their graves right now but the science behind it backs it up. Because Ribeye has juicy fat marbling through it (the best part of the steak) it doesn’t really render when barely cooked and makes the taste very pasty. Medium rare is the way this loveable rogue should be enjoyed.
Yet another reason why the ‘cultured’ and rare-eating individual may want to delve into the dark work of medium cooking is of course aroma and flavour. Everyone knows a good crusty sear is delicious. I visit a certain restaurant regularly that have this down to an artform and no doubt anyone that has came into The Meat Cleaver will have heard me raving about it time and time again. Anyway, the flavour of meat changes and improves as its cooked and while rare steaks may be more tender and juicy, the more it’s cooked (within reason of course, ‘well done’ ruins a steak) the more flavour it produces from a scientific perspective.
Now before I walk down the high street of Portadown and get shin kicked repeatedly by the rare steak lovers of the province let me back it up. Am I saying all steaks taste better pink than ‘bleu’ and still with a pulse? Absolutely not. Although I must tell all you loveable foodies out there that it’s not the best option for every cut of steak. Below is a list of my favourite temperatures to serve these cuts of moo meat.
BEST RARE: Flatiron steak
MEDUIM RARE: Ribeye
MEDIUM: Skirt steak (taken from the flank)
So the next time your hauling out your barbecue grill from the shed or poking for your crusty iron skillet in the cupboard first consider what you want and what your willing to give up for the perfect steak. Find your own balance depending on cut of steak between rare and medium. A steak well done is not an option in my book or life anymore due to the staff sergeant of a French chef I had the pleasure of meeting! What a guy!
Dwaine Smyth is co-owner of The Meat Cleaver, a trendy butcher shop on the Armagh Road, Portadown. He loves good meat, good music and good whiskey, but not necessarily in that order.