What will I have tonight? Beefsteak? Yes, DELICIOUS! But what is it, and is it healthy?
The real beefsteak originated in the UK and spread to the US and other countries, but it’s often referred to as just “steak,” a thick beef slice cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers for broiling or frying, and usually served rare.
In this article, I’ll explain what a real beefsteak is, if it’s healthy, and how to prepare it.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Different Types of Steaks
- 2 Beef Steak Around the World
- 3 Grades of Doneness for Steak
- 4 Beefsteak: A Guide to the Three Schools
- 5 Conclusion
Different Types of Steaks
From the Chuck Section
- Beef Steak: A cross-cut of the shoulder blade, shaped like a “7” and served at the Restaurant Harald in Oulu, Finland.
- Chuck Steak: A rectangular cut from the top blade subprimal, containing parts of the shoulder bones. Best suited to braising.
From the Loin
- T-Bone Steak: A cut from the large end of the tenderloin, sometimes extra thick top sirloin.
- Filet Mignon: A cut from the small end of the tenderloin, the most tender and usually the most expensive cut by weight.
From the Shoulder
- Flank Steak: A cut from the underside of the cow’s abdomen, used in a variety of dishes including London broil and fajitas.
- Flat Iron Steak: A cut from the shoulder blade, also known as ‘butlers’ steak’ or ‘oyster blade steak’.
From the Round
- Cube Steak: A steak cut from the top round, tenderized by fierce pounding with a mallet or mechanical blades.
- Ranch Steak: A chuck steak usually cut no thicker than one inch, 10 ounces or less, and trimmed of all excess fat.
- Round Steak: A cut from the front belly of the cow, just below the rib cut.
From the Rib
- Rib Eye Steak: A cut from the rib primal of a beef animal, usually with rib bone attached.
- Scotch Fillet: A thinly-sliced rump steak, originating in Scotland and available in the UK.
From the Rump
- Sirloin Steak: A cut from the rump of the animal, can be tough if not cooked properly.
- Hanger Steak: A steak from near the center of the diaphragm, flavorful and very tender towards the edges.
Beef Steak Around the World
- In Oz, steak is just referred to as ‘steak’ and you can buy it raw from supermarkets, butchers and smallgood shops.
- Pubs, bistros and restaurants serving modern Aussie food usually have 3-7 different cuts of steak on the menu, cooked from blue to well-done.
- It’s usually served with a choice of sauces and either chips or mash potato.
- Plus, you’ll usually get a side salad or steamed veg.
- In France, steak is known as ‘bifteck’ and it’s usually served with fried potatoes (pommes frites).
- This combo is known as ‘steak frites’, and veggies aren’t usually served with it, but you might get a green salad.
- Steaks are usually served with classic French sauces.
- Bistik Jawa is a beefsteak dish influenced by Dutch cuisine.
- Selat Solo is another Indonesian beefsteak dish with Dutch-influence, and it’s a specialty of Surakarta, Central Java.
- Steak wasn’t widely eaten in Italy until after WWII because the countryside couldn’t accommodate large herds of cattle.
- Some areas of Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany were renowned for their beef though.
- Bistecca alla fiorentina is a well-known specialty of Florence and it’s usually served with just a salad.
- In Mexico, ‘bistec’ refers to dishes of salted and peppered beef sirloin strips.
- It’s usually served in tortillas as a taco.
Spain and Former Colonies
- Variations of ‘bistec encebollado’ (beefsteak with onions) can be found across Latin America.
- In the UK, steak is usually served with medium-thick fried potatoes (chips), fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.
- It’s also offered with a selection of cooked sauces like red wine, Diane, Bordelaise, mushroom, Hollandaise, au poivre (peppercorn) or Béarnaise.
- Plus, you’ll usually get a side salad or a small serving of cooked veg.
- Mustard is sometimes offered as a condiment.
- Steakhouses in the US serve the highest grades of beef and often dry-age it for weeks.
- A typical steak dinner consists of steak, optionally topped with sautéed onions or mushrooms, with a starchy side dish like baked or mashed potatoes, or steak fries.
- Chili, rice, pasta or beans are also common sides, plus a side salad or a small serving of cooked veg.
- Corn on the cob, green beans, creamed spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and onion rings are popular.
- Bread is generally served, usually a dinner roll.
- Steak is sometimes served with shrimp or lobster tail, giving ‘surf and turf’ or ‘reef and beef’.
- Special steak knives are provided, and prepared condiments like steak sauces are usually on the table.
Grades of Doneness for Steak
- French: cru
- Used in dishes like steak tartare, carpaccio, gored gored, tiger meat and kitfo
Seared, Blue Rare or Very Rare
- French: bleu
- Cooked very quickly
- Outside is seared, inside is cool and barely cooked
- Also known as “black and blue” or “Pittsburgh rare”
- In Germany this is also known as “English-style or bloody”
- French: saignant
- Core temperature of 52°C (126°F)
- Outside is grey-brown, middle is fully red and slightly warm
- French: entre saignant et à point
- Core temperature of 55°C (131°F)
- Reddish-pink center
- Standard degree of cooking at most steakhouses
- French: à point, anglais
- Core temperature of 63°C (145°F)
- Hot and fully pink surrounding the center
- Outside is grey-brown
Medium Well Done
- French: demi-anglais, entre à point et bien cuit
- Core temperature of 68°C (154°F)
- Lightly pink surrounding the center
- French: bien cuit
- Core temperature of 73°C (163°F) and above
- Grey-brown in the center and slightly charred
- In parts of England this is known as “German style”
- French: trop cuit
- Core temperature of much more than 90°C (194°F)
- Blackened throughout and slightly crispy
- Cooked to desired level and then quickly charred
- Diner orders by asking for the style followed by the doneness (e.g. “Chicago-style rare”)
- In Pittsburgh, this style is referred to as “black and blue” (black or “sooty” on the outside, and blue rare on the inside)
Beefsteak: A Guide to the Three Schools
Ah, the Garden State. Here, the beefsteak is as simple as it gets – just French fries and steak served on slices of sandwich bread. But don’t think for a second that it’s not delicious – it’s a tradition to stack the bread, so you can keep track of how much steak you’ve devoured!
If you’re looking for a true meat-lover’s feast, the East Side is the place for you. In addition to the main steak course, you can expect to find lamb chops, bacon-wrapped kidney and sliders, plus some French bread to soak up all that deliciousness.
This slightly more refined version of the beefsteak is the inspiration for many modern versions. To start, you’ll get a crab salad, crudité and maybe even some shrimp cocktail. Then, the steak course comes with liver, baked potatoes and toast. Yum!
Beefsteak is a classic dish that’s enjoyed all over the world. Whether it’s served with chips in Australia, steak frites in France, bistik jawa in Indonesia, or bistecca alla fiorentina in Italy, there’s something for everyone!
So, don’t be afraid to try something new and GRILL up some steak! Just remember to follow the proper steak etiquette and don’t be a COW-ard!