Wednesday, July 12, 2006
First off, I need to give due to James Manning for inspiring me to write this with his post about gas versus charcoal grilling. (Charcoal IS better, by the way)
I have long been a fan of meat cooked as rare as humanly possible. In the words of a close friend, "Just knock the horns off and walk it through a warm kitchen!" Yummy. No, this is not just a macho male thing, where we eat something we really find disgusting to prove how manly we are. A steak, especially a Ribeye, but of pretty much any cut, tastes better rare than it does well-done. It's like comparing fine cuisine with eating the sole of a shoe.
I believe strongly that the only people that really enjoy a well-done steak are those that are "grossed out" by the sight of a little blood on their plate, which is no reason to sacrifice flavor and moisture in your favorite cut of beef.
The whole fear of diseases excuse doesn't hold water either, as any chef will tell you, as long as the internal temperature of the meat reaches a certian number of degrees, there is no harmful bacteria. How else could EVERY steak house offer rare meat as an option?
There are certian establishments that will not serve meat cooked rare. I have been to more than one place that, when asked to prepare a steak or burger rare, the server responded with, "I'm sorry sir, we can only do meduim."
My wife can give personal testimony of conversion from well done to rare. She was of the lot that was offended by red juicy goodness on her plate until one day, before we were married, she came to the house so that I could prepare a couple of ribeyes. When I asked her preference for doneness, she answered, "Well done please." I asked why of course as I am always concerned when people choose not to really enjoy their food, but would rather chew on a baseball glove, to which she responded, "It just grosses me out!" I talked her into trying it rare, and she has never eaten a well done steak since! So don't tell me people can't convert!
Let me take a moment to rate some local steak houses according to their preparation technique (the flavor of the meat also has alot to do with how the raw meat is cured and every place has a different method), in order of preference:
1. Black Angus: by far the best, they have been in San Diego as long as I can remember and are still doing it right. I always get grilled onion and mushrooms on the side of a big ol' ribeye steak.
2. The Turf: this local eatery actually just hands you your cut of choice and lets you cook it yourself! Great for getting your steak the way you want and meeting new people with a love for dead flesh. It is cheaper than having someone else prepare it too.
3. Chili's: I know, it's not even a steak house, but for a non-steak house, they have the best ribeye around, and will prepare it pretty rare if you ask with a healthy side of grilled mushrooms, onions, and veggies.
4. Outback Steakhouse: purposely at the end of my list AND below Chili's because, in my opinion, they are the most overrated steakhouse around. This is what I call a trendy establishment, and for those meat lovers who haven't found out for themselves, don't bother.
1. How do you order your steak? And more importantly, why?
2. If you are a "well done", have you, or could you be persuaded to, try a rare cut of meat?
3. What is your favorite cut of meat, and what do you get on the side?
4. Take a moment to let us know about some good steak restaraunts in your neck of the woods.