Steak (not to be confused with 'stake') is a slice off a larger piece of meat, usually beef. In North America, steaks are usually grilled. They are also often pan-fried or broiled. The most tender (softest) cuts of the animal are usually used for steak. This also means that steaks have a high price. The pieces of meat used for steaks are usually cut across the muscle fiber, not along it. This makes them appear more tender.
A restaurant that mainly makes steaks is known as a steakhouse. A well-known side dish to steak is prawns or a cooked lobster tail. This combination is often called surf and turf or reef and beef (the words "surf" and "reef" refer to the seafood and "turf" and "beef" refer to the steak). Special steak knives are used to cut steak. A steak knife is sharper than most table knives and is usually serrated.
Fish is not the only side dish for steak. Other common side dishes are baked potatoes, dinner rolls, salad, and corn on the cob. In France, steaks are often served with french fries. This combination is known as steak fries or steak-frites. They do not come with vegetables, but sometimes a salad is served with them.
Often, steaks are served with a special sauce called "steak sauce", but sometimes steaks are served with a spicy sauce called horseradish
A common cut of steak is between 4 and 12 ozs, but some places serve steaks that are much, much bigger.
Cuts of steak
Steak comes in a wide variety of cuts, which come from different parts of the cow. Some different cuts are:
- Filet Mignon
- New York Strip
- Rib Eye
Degrees of cooking
Meat that is cooked less will appear to be more tender and soft. The usual degrees of cooking for steaks (and some other meats) are:
- Raw/Uncooked - for example in tartare.
- Rare - cooked very quickly, mostly red inside.
- Medium Rare - cooked quickly, mostly pink inside with some red.
- Medium - moderately cooked, mostly pink inside, but no red.
- Medium-Well - Mostly cooked, with some pink remaining inside.
- Well-done- thoroughly cooked. No pink remains inside, may be blackened on the outside.