- Posted September 20, 2013 by
How Rare is too Rare with Cooking Steaks?
Some people like their meat so rare that it is still cold inside. Other people like theirs so well done that it is brown throughout. A lot of people are happiest with a medium rare piece of meat, which is halfway between these two extremes.
Cooking times are actually just down to personal preference. A shorter cooking time results done in barbecue weber in a juicier piece of meat but there might be concerns about bacteria. A longer cooking time eliminates any concerns about disease but dries out the steak and makes it tougher, which is why a lot of professional chefs are unhappy about cooking beef to well done.
It can also be served totally raw, in dishes such as carpaccio cipriani, tiger meat, kitfo and tartar. Steak tartar is finely chopped raw beef fillet with parsley, capers, onion, a raw egg and Worcestershire sauce. Not everybody is happy to eat raw beef but it does have a lot of fans.
Perhaps the idea of a blue steak is not attractive to you. This type of beef is seared quickly so the outside browns but the inside stays cool.
A very rare cut of beef with a charred outside is also known as a "Pittsburgh rare." The unusual thing about this though is that a Pittsburgh-style cut can take longer to cook that medium or well done cuts because some chefs put it in the oven to warm the inside which takes a while because the process is done slowly.
Most restaurants will be happy to cook a "Pittsburgh rare" for you but you might have to explain what you want and make sure the server does not confuse charring with blackening. A Pittsburgh rare has a charred outside and nothing rubbed on to the meat. Spicy Cajun beef has a blackened outside because of various spices which are rubbed on to it.
Another variation in North America is known as Chicago-style. This beef is cooked to the required doneness and then charred, so you would order, for example, a "Chicago-style medium rare."
The answer to the question "how rare is too rare" is that it depends on the person. Since many meat lovers are happy to eat dishes like carpaccio, apparently there is no such thing as "too rare."
Guide to Doneness
Rare is 125 degrees F inside with a brownish gray exterior. The middle will be red and lukewarm. Medium rare is 130 degrees F inside and has a red, warm middle. This is how most steaks are cooked at good restaurants unless the customer specifies otherwise. Medium is 140 degrees F inside and the center is red and pink.
Medium well done steak is 150 degrees F inside and the center is light pink. Well done has a core temperature of 160 degrees F and the meat is brown all the way through.
If it is more than 160 degrees F inside, the meat will taste a little bitter and it will be tough and dry. If you cook your own dishes at home, you will find that the more practice you get at cooking them the better they will turn out.