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How To Order A Steak Or Burger - Different Types Of Beef Cuts

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by Forklift & Palate on August 30, 2018

When you sit down to order a filling, juicy cut of meat from a fine restaurant or a steakhouse, you might be overwhelmed by the options at first glance. Your steak menu will show varieties like NY strip, T-bone, ribeye and more. Your waiter will ask you how you want your meat cooked. Medium? Rare? Well-done?

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How Do You Order A Steak?

When it comes to the perfect steak, there are many options. But what do all those meat terms really mean, and how do you choose? From degrees of doneness to the difference between cuts of meat, here's everything you need to know about steak.

Doneness of Meat: The Gradations

When a waiter asks how you want your steak cooked, he or she is referring to the degree of the cut's doneness. When meat is raw, it is pink, juicy and soft to the touch. As it cooks, however, it undergoes an oxidation and protein denaturation process that makes the meat turn brown and become firmer. If it's overcooked, the meat can become tough, but when it's cooked properly, it can be various degrees of color and juiciness. These gradations in the cooked state of the steak are its "doneness." These are the most typical degrees of doneness for a steak:

  • Rare: A rare steak is lightly cooked with a core temperature of 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It is soft and especially juicy with a red center.
  • Medium-Rare: Slightly firmer than a rare steak with an internal temperature of 130 to 140 degrees, medium-rare steaks are still juicy and relatively soft with a warm red center.
  • Medium: With a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees, a medium steak is pink — but not red — and reasonably firm.
  • Medium-Well: With a temperature of 150 to 155 degrees, a medium-well steak is well-browned while still maintaining a pink, juicy center.
  • Well-Done: At 160 degrees, a well-done steak is brown, fully-cooked and firm throughout with no red or pink.

While some restaurants will serve steaks extra-rare or overcooked, these gradations of doneness are your best options for a delicious steak.

Different Cuts of Steak

As opposed to the degree to which your meat is cooked, the cut of the steak refers to the portion of the cow the meat comes from. While all those fancy terms can seem intimidating, each has a specific flavor and best way to be cooked, so once you're familiar with the cuts, you can figure out which is your favorite and know what to order in the future. Here are the four most typical, premium steak cuts:

  • Tenderloin: Also commonly known as filet mignon, a tenderloin cut comes from the sirloin and short loin under the ribs and is boneless. A full tenderloin begins wide and tapers to a tail at the end, and the smaller filet mignon cut comes from that smaller end. Tenderloins are typically cut thick, taste mild and buttery and are best seared.
  • NY Strip: Also known as the Manhattan, top sirloin or simply the strip, a New York strip steak cut is a boneless short loin cut of meat from behind the ribs. It is fine-grained in texture with fat on one edge. These cuts taste beefy, are somewhat tender and are best grilled or pan-seared.
  • Ribeye: Sold either boneless or bone-in, a ribeye steak cut comes from the upper ribcages. It's juicy, beefy and tender with plenty of fat marbling. These cuts are fine-grained in the center and fattier on the outside and are best grilled or broiled.
  • T-Bone: Also known as a Porterhouse, a T-bone steak is a cross-section of the short loin with the bone still in. The T-shaped bone with tenderloin meat on one side and New York strip meat on the other side is marbled with fat, tender in texture and tastes especially juicy, buttery and beefy.

Dig Into Your Perfect Steak at Forklift & Palate

All this reading about steak has probably sparked your appetite — now that you have a firm grasp on meat terminology, it's time to try out your knowledge by ordering a steak yourself! Stop by Forklift & Palate, located in the Spooky Nook Sports complex, for the freshest flavors in meat and more. Whether you drop in for lunch or bring your date or family for dinner, you're sure to find your perfect steak and other delicious dishes to satisfy all your cravings. Browse our menus today. We can't wait to see you order that steak!

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