“How would you like it cooked?”
This is asked repeatedly every time someone orders steaks. In a way it’s a multiple-choice question with five possible answers, a) well done, b) medium well, c) medium, d) medium rare, and e) rare. The correct answer, according to food aficionados, is d), i.e., medium rare. The difference between the medium rare and the rare is few degrees, and translates into someone who knows their beef (shit) and someone who’s just crazy.
Except for steakhouses, most of the restaurants in the United States don’t cook their beef exactly as promised. They overcook! These cooking temperature designation have shifted towards overcooking, i.e., if you order medium rare, you’ll most likely get medium.
This overcooking may be due to health scare of red blood. Cooking meat perfectly also needs skill. Many cooks are not qualified; their job is transitory which doesn’t need any special training. Whatever the reasons, we have a generation of Americans who think medium is medium rare, and don’t appreciate nuance of cooking a red meat perfectly. Many people simply don’t know what medium rare is supposed to be like.
So how should non-steakhouse restaurants cook their steaks? They should change that multiple-choice question into a simple true or false question;
“Do you want it all the way cooked or pink in the center?”
This is a simple widening of cooking scale, recalibrating how we order meat. If you don’t have skills to cook medium rare, don’t cook it! I have seen this masterfully applied at a few restaurants that don’t specialize on steaks. Restaurants save money on recooks and cooks need to know how to cook well done versus medium/medium rare. Most importantly, guests feel their meats are cooked the right way, and those who know don’t have recalibrate their medium rares.
Posted in: Food Culture | Tags: Medium rare, medium Rare vs Rare, Pink in the center, Steak Temperature Chart, Steak Temperature Infographics, Steak Temperature United States, Steak Temperature USA