Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cooking: Doneness

A steak master honors the axiom that we feast first with our eyes.

To achieve steak perfection, the steak master presents the guest a steak which, when first sliced, reveals an interior which is grilled to the exact measure of doneness requested.

This is a challenge, even for a steak master. Success would be much easier if the guest always requested the same doneness. But guests are never constant, so the steak master adapts. To adapt to differing guest preferences, the steak master uses a secret. The steak master varies the steak's thickness in accordance with the requested doneness.

Before cutting a steak, the steak master first learns of the measure of doneness desired by the guest.

Doneness may be one of several ranges. The rarest is called "bleu" by the French and means that the interior is so rare (raw, really) that the center is cool to the touch and the color is dark purple. The next is "rare", in which the center is warm and the color is purple or very dark red. The "medium rare" doneness means that the center is warm and that its color is either red or very dark pink. The "medium" doneness means that the center is hot but the color is medium pink to light pink. "Well done" means that the center is very hot and its color has no trace of pink.

If the guest requests a strip loin steak grilled to "bleu", then the steak master will cut the steak 2" thick or more; for rare, 1.5" to 1.75" thick; for medium rare, 1.25" to 1.5" thick. No fine steak should be cut to less than 1.25" or grilled to medium done or more.

Note: A steak master never wants to serve a USDA Prime+ Grade, dry-aged steak, which is grilled beyond medium rare. When grilled beyond medium rare, fine steaks suffer a loss in texture and juiciness that. Therefore, a steak master tries to educate guests to appreciate the rich taste and texture of a great steak which is grilled perfectly.

SteakPerfection is a complex process that involves every detail, from pasture to plate.
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