Ordering a well-done steak: Unsophisticated?

Personally, I think it’s dumb, but that’s because I like my steaks rare-to-medium-rare-but-mostly-rare. If someone else likes their meat charred. . .well, hell, I don’t have to eat it, so what do I care?

The only exception, of course, is when someone doesn’t ask your steak preferences first, and serves me well-done meat. I love me a rare steak, but the flavor completely changes when it’s well-done. To me, it’s just so much protein, and I’d rather not eat it, if it’s all the same to you. I choked down more than one well-done steak from my ex’s mom–that kind of steak will literally make me gag, but I was trying to be a good guest.

. . .just as an aside, I’ve noticed that people who have grown up with well-done meat tend to be bigger fans of steak sauce. My ex–who still eats it well done–likes it, and my husband–who has converted to the bloody side of the fork–still puts it on his steaks. Even at Outback. I wept ;).

Excuse me, but WTF?

“I think people who like oranges are brilliant. But anyone who dares like apples is obviously nothing but ig’nernt white trash.”

Different peoples’ taste buds like different tastes. Why is this even an issue?

Personally, I can’t stand a well-done steak. I order mine medium, or medium rare if it’s a nice filet.

And I’ve always gotten a kick out of the “Ewww, blood!” people. My father was a food science major, and managed a steak house for a few years after he graduated; he was always glad to explain (in detail) that the tasty juices coming out of the steak weren’t blood.

Of course we are all different… I like my steak medium rare, but then again I like my beer at room temp… most people would call me crazy, but thats ok, because that is how I like it… boo hoo to anyone else.

Eat your steak like a piece of leather, if you want, no one else should care but you. = )

No, it’s more than “different tastes,” overcooking a really good steak actually destroys the elements that make it a quality steak. It is an ignorant and unsophisticated thing to do. It’s like mxing fine wine with ginger ale. Go ahead. It’s your wine. It’s not hurting me but you are depriving yourself and wasting your money.

I grew up eating a lot of steak, and once I was older than about six years old I wanted mine half-mooing. I’ve had well done steak and IMO, it tastes like crap.

And I also believe if you feel like you need to use ketchup or A1 etc on your steak, then you are eating a crappy steak. Might as well just eat a hamburger.

Many people think that well-done steaks are less tender. They think this because many chefs are so unprofessional that they’ll actually use a poor-quality cut of meat when someone orders well-done. The chefs do this because, well, everyone knows that well-done steak is terrible anyway.

If you take two pieces of meat of the same quality, and cook one to well and the other one rare, the well-done piece will be more tender. But most food snobs will never know this, because they’ve never had the opportunity to compare two such pieces of meat of the same quality.

Nonsense. I say this because I have been to a quality steakhouse many times, and one time they gave me the wrong order… yes, a well cooked steak, not the medium rare I always order.

The well done was like cutting through shoe leather (no hyperbole in this post).

Trust me, it was quite a different experience.

I’l order steak well done for the same reason I note the fire exits when I’m in a restaurant: self preservation.

Well done steaks are kind of beside the point. Eat them if you like, it’s your dollar, but IMO over cooking beats the hell out of fine meats. It’s like ordering some delicately seasoned dish and throwing ketchup all over it. It’s not “unsophisticated” as the people doing it aren’t stupid, its just a bit of a waste of of high quality meat.

According to this, it is not a matter of taste alone.

But, as has been mentioned numerous times already, it’s unlikely you got prime steak because the chef gave you shoe leather to begin with and only made it worse by overcooking it. What Chronos is saying is that a well done steak of identical quality to a rare steak can be just as good.

Personally, though, I have no idea. I prefer rare steaks because the meat is much sweeter but won’t turn down a well-done steak, either.

Nonsense. My father in law likes well done, and I can see the difference. When I cook steaks, and screw up and make a piece well done, I can taste the difference.

Bourdain emphasizes that restaurants are businesses. When you get a range of cuts, why waste money giving a good cut to someone who demands it cooked so that they won’t be able to tell the difference between a good cut and bad?

Those of you who don’t want a steak to taste like steak - why not order something else? If well done were the only choice, I’d order fish or pork or lamb.

Wow, people read “well done” and immediately start throwing around terms like, “overcooked” or “cooked until the flavor’s gone.”

I think the way people view well done, and the way a restaurant prepares a steak well done, are the signs of sophistication. I should be able to order a steak well done, or do it myself, and what I should expect is a steak that is still juicy & flavorful.

If you, or your favorite restaurant thinks well done means shoe leather, then you and your chef probably think quality TV is Jerry Springer.

You should expect a well done steak to still have pink in the middle, just not red, unless it’s the tiniest sliver of red. If you really want no pink in your steak at all, you should say so.

Is some languages, the term you use when ordering rare steak is “bloody,” so I can understand if people confuse “juicy myoglobin” for “bloody.” who cares what it is, if it looks like blood, and people don’t want to eat it, good. Personally I don’t like eating eyeballs, testicles or monkey-brains. That make me unsophisticated because you enjoy eating something I don’t, or is it really just a low-class macho game of one-upmanship?

Finally, rare steak is warmed to an internal temperature of 140 degrees fahrenheit, medium is 160, and 160 is AFAIK, what’s considered “safe.” The odds of getting sick off the 140 degree rare steak are slight, and mostly depend on food handling/clean utensils. So, in restaurants, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

No. Some time ago, one of my kinfolks had a neighbor who liked steaks bloody raw, but in my family we have a tradition of using fire. After you take the skin off the beast, suspend the carcass over the flame, and you’ll see it change color and drip a bit into the fire, and after a while it smells marvelous and gets more tender and tastes far better than if you don’t bother to do that. We don’t consider it to be unsophisticated, we consider it to be downright civilized to cook yer meat. We also picked up on the notion of tanning the critter’s hide before wearing it, which explains in part why our cave doesn’t stink like the neighbor’s, but that’s another story.

Seriously. The current snobby trend re: rare to ultrarare steak is an affectation. Do you eat your chicken rare? Your pork? Your game hens?

There is no culinary talent involved in not cooking your steak. Nor does it require any kitchen skills to speak of to turn a nice piece of steak into a dried-out piece of shoe leather. The skill is evident in the art of taking a large steak and cooking it well-done and having the result be a piece of meat moist and so tender you can eat it without a knife.

You are right in the sense that a well-done steak need not be chewy and leathery. I’ve served many a well-done steak to my mom, and they are perfectly edible. However, for me to accomplish this requires a little bit of marination to help break down some of the…whatever it is marinating meat breaks down.

If I took a good quality piece of meat, and cooked one to medium rare and the other to well, you would no doubt agree the medium rare is more tender. No question about it.

However, if you don’t have a particularly good piece of meat to start with, you may find well-done to be better than medium rare. The example I use is from living in Eastern Europe. The way they butchered and kept meats in Hungary, the only piece that was really tender when cooked properly (i.e. medium-rare) was the filet. The sirloin was a chewy mess when cooked to this temp. The well-done wasn’t much better, but it was edible, even then, I had to use meat tenderizer or pound the hell out of the meat to make it digestible. I just completely gave up on finding I good steak out there.

So, in summary, I do think that it is possible to find a steak that is more edible and digestible when well done than medium rare, but if you have a decent slab of meat, medium rare is more tender, always.

You’re not using the defintion of doneness I’m familiar with. I consider that “medium.” This is the general rule:

Rare - cool red center
Medium rare - warm red center
Medium - Hot pink center
Medium well - tiny bit of pink in the center
Well - uniform color

Here’s a link.

Speak for yourself.

I happen to like my dead cow just barely past “moo”, icky juices and all. I also like Polish duck’s blood soup and sushi, which isn’t even warmed up.

That said, I also appreciate that not everyone shares my preferences, and some even (inexplicitly) find them revolting. Therefore, when dining out and wishing to indulge vampiric/werewolf tendencies I usually ask my dining companion(s) if he/she/they will be offended by underdone/raw animal flesh and if so I will make a non-offensive selection because I feel having consideration for others is a mark of sophitication and civilization. Likewise, whatever my personal feelings about burn-- >cough< - well done meat or ketchup on meatloaf or what have you, I’ll keep them to myself while dining. For that matter, I’ll forego animal origin foods altogether for a meal becuase I also like my fruits, grains, and vegees with the only caveat that I not be fed those things I am allergic to. Not just for my sake, but because needing to call 911 in the middle of the meal is just too disruptive and not at all good for the digestion.

Actually, I do like raw pork from time to time. And how’s about sashimi?

I think the best balance of the charred flavor and juiciness is acheived in a medium-rare steak. I’ve had rare before and, while much better than well-done, wasn’t better than medium-rare. That level of doneness gives me everything I love about steak. The taste of fully cooked and charred meat on the outside, with the taste of meat on the inside. It’s nothing I can describe. The taste of the juices and the texture of the red meat on the inside is just so intense, so enjoyable, damn meaty. And it’s completely missing from well done meat.

And while I do agree that the trend toward rawness may be an affectation for some people, I think many are quite sincere. Ever have a good carpaccio or beefsteak tartare? Those are positively epicurian delights, and there’s nothing affectatious about liking it.

Chicken: Occasionally, in some Japanese preparations.
Pork: Depends on the cut. Medium-rare pork loin can be quite good.
Game hens: I tend not to see real game birds, but the standard preparation for duck breast (for example) is rare or medium-rare.