AskDefine | Define steak

Dictionary Definition

steak n : a slice of meat cut from the fleshy part of an animal or large fish

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A slice of beef, broiled or cut for broiling.
  2. By extension, a slice of meat of other large animals; as venison steak, bear steak, pork steak, turtle steak.



slice of beef
slice of meat of other animals


Extensive Definition

A steak (from Old Norse steik, "roast") is a slice of meat, typically beef. Most steaks are cut perpendicular to the muscle fibres, improving the tenderness of the meat. In North America, steaks are typically served grilled, though they are also often pan-fried. Because steaks are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole, the most tender cuts of the animal are usually used for steak. This also means that steaks have a premium price and perception; the idea of eating steak is a signifier of relative wealth. For people from Asia, steak is regarded as one of the quintessential dishes of Western cuisine.
A restaurant that specializes in beef steaks is known as a steakhouse. In the United States, a typical steak dinner consists of a steak, with a starchy side dish, usually baked potatoes, but occasionally another potato dish, rice, pasta, or beans. A small serving of cooked vegetables accompanies the meat and side, with green beans, creamed spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and onion rings being popular. A well-known accompaniment to steak is shrimp or a cooked lobster tail, a combination often called "surf and turf" or "reef and beef". Special steak knives are provided along with steak; steak knives are sharper than most table knives and are usually serrated. Prepared condiments known as steak sauces are generally on the table in steakhouses.
In France, beef steak is usually served with French fried potatoes also known as "pommes frites", and the combination is known as "steak-frites". Vegetables are not normally served with steak in this manner, but a green salad may follow. In the United Kingdom they are also served with French fried potatoes although they are often thicker than the French variety and the combination is called Steak and Chips. Peas, half a tomato or a fried onion ring often feature on the plate too.
In Italy, steak was not widely eaten until post-WWII due to the relative ruggedness of the countryside inhibiting the space- and resource-consuming raising of great bovine herds, but some zones of Piedmont and Tuscany were still renowned for their beef. Bistecca alla fiorentina is a well-known specialty of Florence; it is typically served with just a salad or Tuscan beans. From the 1960s onward the so called "economic boom" allowed more and more Italians to switch to a red meat-heavy diet.

Degree of cooking

The amount of time a steak is cooked is a personal preference; shorter steak cooking times retain more juice, whereas longer steak cooking times result in drier, tougher meat but reduce concerns about disease. A vocabulary has evolved to describe the degree to which a steak is cooked. The following terms are in order from least cooked to most cooked:
  • Raw - Uncooked. Used in dishes like steak tartare, Carpaccio, Gored gored, tiger meat and Kitfo.
  • Blue rare or very rare - (37.8°C/100°F core temp) Cooked very quickly; the outside is seared, but the inside is usually cool and barely cooked. The steak will be red on the inside and barely warmed. Sometimes asked for as 'blood rare'.
  • Rare - (48.9°C/120°F core temp) The outside is gray-brown, and the middle of the steak is red and slightly warm.
  • Rare plus - The outside is gray-brown, and the middle of the steak is mostly red and warm, with some pink. Often ordered by those who prefer medium rare and don't mind rare but worry about overcooking towards medium.
  • Medium rare - (52.2°C/126°F degrees core temp) The steak will have a fully red, warm center. Unless specified otherwise, upscale steakhouses will generally cook to at least this level.
  • Medium - (57.2°C/135°F degrees core temp) The middle of the steak is hot and red with pink surrounding the center. The outside is gray-brown.
  • Medium well done - (62.8°C/145°F degrees core temp) The meat is light pink surrounding the center.
  • Well done - (73.9°C/160°F degrees core temp) The meat is gray-brown throughout and slightly charred.
A style exists in some parts of North America called "Chicago". A Chicago-style steak is cooked to the desired level and then quickly charred. The diner orders it by asking for the style followed by the doneness (e.g. "Chicago-style rare"). A steak ordered "Pittsburgh rare" is rare or very rare on the inside and charred on the outside. In Pittsburgh, this style is referred to as "black and blue" (black, i.e. sooty on the outside, Blue rare on the inside).
In Taiwan, a number system from "0" to "10" is commonly used to specify steak doneness, with 0 as raw and 10 as "well done."

Types of beef steaks

  • Chateaubriand steak — Usually served for two, cut from the large head of the tenderloin.
  • Chuck steak — A cut from neck to the ribs.
  • Cube steak — A cut of meat, usually top round, tenderized by fierce pounding with a mallet.
  • Filet mignon — A small, choice tenderloin, the most tender cut.
  • Flank steak — From the underside. Not as tender as steaks cut from the rib or loin.
  • Flat iron steak — A cut from the shoulder blade.
  • Hanger steak or (French) onglet — a steak from near the center of the diaphragm. Flavorful, and very tender towards the edges, but sinewy in the middle. Often called the "butcher's tenderloin."
  • Rib eye steak — A rib steak consisting of only the longissimus muscle. This is the same cut used to make prime rib which is typically oven roasted A fish steak is a portion of cut perpendicular to the backbone, as opposed to a fillet, which is cut parallel to it. For the steak to hold together during cooking, the flesh must be rather firm; fish that are often cut into steaks include salmon, swordfish, halibut, turbot, tuna, and mahi mahi. The larger fish make boneless steaks; smaller fish (such as salmon) make steaks which include skin, meat, a section of backbone, and rib bones. Smaller fish such as mackerel are sometimes cut into similar portions for curing, but these are usually not called 'steaks'. Fish steaks are usually grilled, baked, or pan-fried (with or without being breaded or battered).

See also

steak in Arabic: ستيك
steak in Czech: Steak
steak in Danish: Bøf (mad)
steak in German: Steak
steak in Spanish: Filete
steak in Persian: استیک
steak in French: Steak
steak in Korean: 스테이크
steak in Indonesian: Bistik
steak in Hebrew: אומצה
steak in Dutch: Biefstuk
steak in Japanese: ステーキ
steak in Polish: Befsztyk
steak in Portuguese: Bife
steak in Russian: Бифштекс
steak in Simple English: Steak
steak in Slovenian: Biftek
steak in Finnish: Pihvi
steak in Thai: สเต๊ก
steak in Vlaams: Bustik
steak in Contenese: 牛扒
steak in Chinese: 牛排

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

London broil, Salisbury steak, T-bone steak, beefsteak, bifteck, chopped steak, club steak, cubed steak, fillet steak, flank steak, ground beef, ground chuck, ground round, hamburg, hamburg steak, hamburger, porterhouse steak, rib steak, round steak, rump steak, shell steak, sirloin steak, tenderloin steak
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