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Steak-or mistake

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Post Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:46 am
jayeffel well done
well done

Posts: 337
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
I ran across this website via a friend's note on Facebook; http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/06/the-food-lab-7-old-wives-tales-about-cooking-steak.html.

Waddaya think? :bbq:
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Post Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:47 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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I read them and I guess I don't really care one way or the other how true or false they actually are, and to be honest some of what was written came across as bit nit-picky. Frankly, I kind of like the myths, old wives' tales, or whatever you want to call them because they add some fun, color, and personality to cooking.

Post Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:33 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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That's a very interesting article indeed, jayeffel! Nicely done!

What's also interesting is that I buy other grilling books by a few other authors and they perpetuate a few of these myths (umm, including Steven). But being a bit of a grilling mythbuster myself (as many of us on this board are), here's what I've come up with on these 7 myths:

Myth #1 (letting steaks rest at room temperature for 30 min. before cooking): BUSTED. For example, I just cooked 2 thick sirloin steaks last week. I rested one for 30 min. and cooked the second one right out of the fridge. There was no difference between the two.

Myth #2 (searing a steak to "lock in the juices"): BUSTED. But we all know that anyway, and Steven has been busting this myth fo \r over a decade now.

Myth #3 (bone-in meat is tastier then boneless): PLAUSIBLE. Yes, the author says it's myth, but I'm not entirely sure. He makes a good point about why meat closer to the bone might seem tastier, though.

Myth #4 (only flip the meat once): BUSTED. But I don't think that's all to the story. He doesn't go into much detail about killer grill marks, and the more you flip a steak the less distinct they become. However, if I'm not looking for grill marks I'll flip a piece of meat multiple times.

Myth #5 (don't season meat till after it's cooked): BUSTED. This is another one we've known for a long time.

Myth #6a (don't use a fork to turn meat): CONFIRMED. This is one point on which I disagree with the author, who says it's a myth. I've actually seen meat juices dribbling out of fork holes in a piece of meat. Besides, I prefer a good set of tongs anyway.

Myth #6b (don't cut into a steak to check doneness): PLAUSIBLE. The author says it's "busted" but I'm not sure as I've noticed a very slight difference in juiciness when I've made a cut in a steak. It's not very noticeable though.

Myth #7 (use the "poke test" for doneness): CONFIRMED. He makes a good argument here about different cuts of meat, their fat content, and so on, and he does say that an instant-read thermometer is the best way to test doneness. But I find that in general the poke test works fine for the types of meat I cook. And besides - who wants to check each steak with an instant-read thermometer to check doneness all the time. This can be a pain if you are cooking for a dozen guests.

So yes, it's a good article, but as Brad mentioned above some of the points are a bit nit-picky. I don't necessarily care one way or another either, though, as it's my day off and I'm just waiting for the lawn to dry out a bit before I do some more yardwork. :lol:
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:00 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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CharredGriller wrote:
Myth #6b (don't cut into a steak to check doneness): PLAUSIBLE. The author says it's "busted" but I'm not sure as I've noticed a very slight difference in juiciness when I've made a cut in a steak. It's not very noticeable though.
The obvious solution is to cook an extra steak to serve as the test subject. Nothing wrong with leftovers and the dog will undoubtedly approve! :lol:

Post Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:23 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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CharredGriller wrote:
Myth #7 (use the "poke test for doneness): BUSTED. He makes a good argument here about different cuts of meat, their fat content, and so on, and he does say that an instant-read thermometer is the best way to test doneness. But I find that in general the poke test works fine for the types of meat I cook. And besides - who wants to check each steak with an instant-read thermometer to check doneness all the time. This can be a pain if you are cooking for a dozen guests.
I gave this one a little more thought and I understand original argument, but it seems that the poke test can still be reasonably accurate provided all the variables are accounted for. For example, 1" ribeyes are usually fairly similar so they're going to cook up roughly the same, right? So now at this point it becomes a matter of remembering or writing down how the poke test compared to the actual doneness and using that as a reference point for the future.

If I have 2 steaks that are identical except for the fat content and I cook them to the exact same temperature, will the steak with more fat be softer than the one with less? And is the answer (regardless of whether it's yes or no) is an absolute? And will the meat be equally done between the 2 steaks as well?

Post Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:08 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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ScreamingChicken wrote:
CharredGriller wrote:
Myth #7 (use the "poke test for doneness): BUSTED. He makes a good argument here about different cuts of meat, their fat content, and so on, and he does say that an instant-read thermometer is the best way to test doneness. But I find that in general the poke test works fine for the types of meat I cook. And besides - who wants to check each steak with an instant-read thermometer to check doneness all the time. This can be a pain if you are cooking for a dozen guests.
I gave this one a little more thought and I understand original argument, but it seems that the poke test can still be reasonably accurate provided all the variables are accounted for. For example, 1" ribeyes are usually fairly similar so they're going to cook up roughly the same, right? So now at this point it becomes a matter of remembering or writing down how the poke test compared to the actual doneness and using that as a reference point for the future.

If I have 2 steaks that are identical except for the fat content and I cook them to the exact same temperature, will the steak with more fat be softer than the one with less? And is the answer (regardless of whether it's yes or no) is an absolute? And will the meat be equally done between the 2 steaks as well?


And that's when CharredGriller's head exploded, officer..... :twisted:
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:02 am
phillyjazz well done
well done

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Location: Philly

The "Poke Test" comment is bogus. I ALWAYS use my own thumb, when I do the test, and my thumb is consistent. I never "borrow" someone else's thumb, and thus don't have to worry about physical difference between thumbs. I have found this to be generally accurate, and has never failed me. I cook all kinds of steaks from select to prime, and still find it close enough.
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Post Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:32 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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phillyjazz wrote:
The "Poke Test" comment is bogus. I ALWAYS use my own thumb, when I do the test, and my thumb is consistent. I never "borrow" someone else's thumb, and thus don't have to worry about physical difference between thumbs. I have found this to be generally accurate, and has never failed me. I cook all kinds of steaks from select to prime, and still find it close enough.


Sorry, I fixed the original post - I should have said his comments were "busted". Steak is the most common meat I cook and I find that the poke test works just fine. It also works quite well on pork, too, as long as you keep in mind that you're aiming for medium-well.

Here's a thought: if you are using an instant meat thermometer on a steak, doesn't that mean you are going to get holes from the probe? And in that case, isn't that a little bit like poking a hole in it with a fork? I know that there are some thermometers out there with very thin probes, but most of the ones I have seen are about the diameter of a Maverick temputature probe and that's big enough to make a hole.

Incidentally, I cooked a couple of nearly identical steaks last night so I figured I'd turn one with a grill fork and see what happened. Once again, I could actually see the juices leaking out of the holes, so I'm sticking with "confirmed" on this one.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:03 pm
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
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I used the poke test on 3 ribeyes today and it worked just fine. :wink:

Post Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:32 am
sroach well done
well done

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Location: Warrington, PA
CharredGriller wrote:
That's a very interesting article indeed, jayeffel! Nicely done!

Myth #1 (letting steaks rest at room temperature for 30 min. before cooking): BUSTED. For example, I just cooked 2 thick sirloin steaks last week. I rested one for 30 min. and cooked the second one right out of the fridge. There was no difference between the two.



Interesting, I have been doing this for a while and thought it made a difference. Okay, how about because it come to room temp the rub sticks better... Ok maybe I am reaching...LOL
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Post Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:35 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
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sroach wrote:
CharredGriller wrote:
That's a very interesting article indeed, jayeffel! Nicely done!

Myth #1 (letting steaks rest at room temperature for 30 min. before cooking): BUSTED. For example, I just cooked 2 thick sirloin steaks last week. I rested one for 30 min. and cooked the second one right out of the fridge. There was no difference between the two.



Interesting, I have been doing this for a while and thought it made a difference. Okay, how about because it come to room temp the rub sticks better... Ok maybe I am reaching...LOL


I usually coat my steaks with a very light coating of EVOO to help the rub stick. It also helps bring out the killer grill marks too. But I haven't noticed a difference at all with a steak that comes out of the fridge at 38°F and goes right on the grill. or a steak that is at room temperature (about 70°F) that goes on the grill. If there's a difference in cooking times I haven't noticed it.

I think the whole myth is based on cooking times anyway, in fact, rather than the poke test or internal temperatures. I find that the latter two methods are more reliable ways to tell how well-done a steak is. :D
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.


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