Everything You Need To Know About Steak
When we talk about steak, we can’t help but appeal to the innate carnivorous origins of man. No matter how it is prepared and cooked, the thought of having steak for lunch or dinner is truly appetizing to most people. And rightfully so, too, because this really is one of the most sumptuous dishes that anybody can enjoy at any given time.
Section 1: Introduction
What is Steak?
So... what is a steak? Generally speaking, steak refers to meat that has been sliced in a manner where the blade is perpendicular to the muscle fibers. In some cases, a bone may be included. There are a few exceptions, though, where the blade slices through the meat parallel to the muscle fibers. Examples of this parallel slicing are the “Silverfinger steak” (cut from the loin and includes three rib bones), the “skirt steak” (cut from the plate), and the “flank steak” (cut from the abdomen).
The usage of the word steak has become loose over the past decades in the culinary world. Traditionally, steak refers to a beefsteak - but it has branched out into other meats today, including fish, pork, ground meat, and other varieties.
Different Steak Cooking Options
The most common way to serve steak is by grilling it. However, masterchefs from all around the globe have gotten really good at discovering newer ways to enjoy this culinary treat. Now, steaks can be broiled, pan-fried, cooked in sauce, and even be transformed into minced meat (and later, patties) to create burgers! Honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to steak dishes.
The Most Popular (Beef) Steak Cuts
There are various cuts that can be used to cook steak. Here are the most popular ones that are beloved throughout the country and abroad.
This meat comes from the loin. It offers a very lean steak with minimal fat, making way for hearty beef richness.
This comes from the rib. It has a marbled appearance that bursts with juicy meat and rich flavors.
This comes from the strip loin. As a result, the steak offers tender meat with bold flavors - a truly rare combination.
It’s just like the ribeye steak, but bigger. Many patrons prefer the bone-in version because it is a lot more flavorful, thanks to its intense marbling.
A true classic, this one is a favorite in both high-end restaurants and home cooking. It comes from the tenderloin and produces an extremely tender and juicy steak. It is one of the most commonly demanded pieces of steak.
The really hungry and voracious diners love a Porterhouse steak. It comes from the short loin. Enjoy the rich flavors similar to a strip steak, a cut larger than a T-Bone steak, and tenderness like that of a filet!
Like its name suggests, it comes from the primal rib of the beef. It is cooked through roasting with a standing method. This one is a must-have for all traditional meat lovers.
Less Conventional Steak Origins
Steak comes from the meat of different animals. The most common ones are farmed, others are grazed more freely. The less common ones include bison, camel, horse, goat, sheep, kangaroo, pigs, sheep, turkey, deer, ostrich, reindeer and zebu - depending on your country and region. In fact, even fish can be used to make steaks, such as swordfish, salmon, marlin, and shark meat. Another source of steak is cured meat such as gammon.
For the vegetarian populace, steak comes in different forms. The most popular one is mushroom steak, although this technically is grilled portobello mushroom. They also grill fruits like watermelon, and because of its color and shape call it watermelon steak.
Others enjoy imitation steak, which is a product formed into the shape of a conventional steak using various pieces of meat.
Section 2: Step-by-Step Guide to Get Your Hands on the Best Quality Meat within Your Budget!
Now that we’ve learned everything that we need about steak, the next thing to do is to go out and get our hands on the best cuts in the market. In order to do this, there are a few pointers that we should keep in mind. Whether you buy your cuts at your supermarket or at your local butcher shop, allow us to guide you along your steak-choosing journey with these handy tips.
#Step 1: Take advantage of butchers’ knowledge and expertise.
The biggest waste done by most meat shoppers is pretty straightforward: they don’t talk to their butchers enough. Butchers, whether at local shops or gourmet joints, know more about meat than any other person. They have years of experience about different kinds and cuts of meat.
They know which ones are suited for which dishes, which ones are best for individual servings and which do well for large gatherings. Forget every preconception that you might have about meat. Chances are, your butcher knows better. They also have the most stock wisdom on which cuts can save you more money and more meat.
These days, there are SO MANY kinds of meats and steaks available to us. It can get pretty confusing for us shoppers, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. It will help a good deal if you have some idea on how much meat you need, or at least how many people you’ll be feeding. These can help you butcher give you the best advice possible. He can also educate you on which parts of the cow (for beef steak, in general) do better under certain kinds of cooking methods. The specific part of the cow also affects its pricing.
Depending on the kind of dinner or event where you’re serving your steak, you need to consider the kinds of cuts. For instance:
● Flank steak and flat iron steak cuts are great for large servings
● Thicker cuts with no bone (such as the New York cut) are good for multiple servings
● If you’re having a smaller, but fancier dinner party, opt for premium cuts such as the bone-in rib-eye or the porterhouse steak - simply return the sliced steak to the bone to create a pretty aesthetic effect
● Simple barbecue parties or Sundays with the family can do well with marbled cuts (Sirloin, Tri-tip, Ranch). These are very flavorful and cheap. These are great for grilling, plus they don’t overcook easily.
● If you’re celebrating something special with more people, try roasting an entire tenderloin instead. You can later slice it thinly and serve it with a side dip or sauce. This is definitely a crowd pleaser.
These are just run-of-the-mill tips. Surely, your butcher will have more pointers for you. If you are confused about the names of these cuts, you can ask him as well. In some cities and states, there are certain colloquialisms for cuts - a rib-eye may be referred to as something else, depending on where you are. It can be known as market steak, beauty steak, cowboy steak, Delmonico steak, Spencer steak, and so on.
#Step 2: Learn more about steak cuts.
Your butcher will have all the necessary information to hand over to you regarding these cuts. As a basic rule, it is nice to know that the CHUCK is the cow’s shoulder/front, while the RUMP is the back area. In the middle of the cow’s body, you’ll get the loin and rib areas. Here are some important characteristics you NEED to know about these parts.
Chuck and Rump
Muscles used for locomotionTougher meatBest used for stews and braises
Short Loin, Tenderloin
Tender meat Muscles don’t work as hard
Can be tough or tender, depending on location
- Tender meat, great for grilling
- Tough meat, perfect for slow cooking
- More tender, less flavor. It is leaner. If cooked properly, it is a good (cheaper) alternative to loin steaks.
- Includes the Tri-Tip steak, very flavorful.
Knowing these basic characteristics of meat cuts will help you buy the right type depending on what kind of dish you want to prepare. If all else fails, of course, you can always ask for help from your butcher.
#Step 3: Check the steak’s color, smell, and texture.
- Grass-fed beef has a darker red color than grain-fed beef
- Fresh meat will have a bright appearance. This is a result of the myoglobin in the meat’s exposure to oxygen for the first time. As it gets older, it will turn into brownish red.
- The marbling on the beef must be creamy or white. In grass-fed beef, the marbling is yellow. Either is fine. But make sure that there are no brown spots in the edges or in the fat.
Fresh meat will have a meaty smell.
Do NOT purchase anything that gives off a sour or stale smell, an ammonia-like odor, or anything that seems off in your opinion.If possible, return any meat that has these bad signals to let the store know, so that they can stop selling the bad meat.
Fresh cuts should not feel “sticky”.In the case of having a sticky cut, try to return it to the store and exchange it for a fresher one. It’s likely that this kind of meat has gone past its prime. This is kind of tricky because you can’t really touch your meat until you get home. Prepacked meat are covered up, and even the fresh ones aren’t allowed to be touched by the butchers.
#Step 4: Take a good look at the package if you are buying from the supermarket.
If you’re one of the many who do their meat shopping in the supermarket, then listen closely. Some - not all - supermarkets have “butcher counters”. Here, you can buy fresh cuts which are not pre-packaged. You can choose cuts from their selection, but you can also ask the butcher to cut something for you. This is helpful if you have a particular cut that you need. In a nearby area, you will likely find pre-packed steaks. These are placed on styrofoam containers and wrapped in plastic. While these are perfectly fine and safe, you need to be vigilant when buying them. Check the packaging for these signs:
- Excess liquid in the styrofoam tray - this means that the meat may have been frozen, then thawed already. Another indication might be that it has already been sitting around in the styrofoam tray for too long.
- Torn or cracked packaging - if this is the case, always look for another piece instead. If you can, let the salespeople know about so that they can remove it from their display.
- Past due date - most meats will have a “sell-by date”. Make sure you check this label to get the freshest and safest meat possible.
Steak is undoubtedly one of man’s favorite food. But even the best quality meat needs a little help every now and then. And this help comes in the form of marinating. Marinade makes meat more juicy, flavorful, and tender. Depending on the recipe, it can give the meat sweetness, saltiness, and even fragrance. Here are the basic steps on how to marinate your steak properly.
#1: Choose Your Steak Cuts
The best cuts for marinating are those with lower fat content. These are tougher pieces, such as sirloin, flat iron, skirt, flank, round, and hanger steaks. By adding marinade, you help tenderize the steaks.
CAUTION: If you have “premium” quality meats, think twice before marinating - cuts such as filet mignon, porterhouse, NY strip, T-bone, and rib-eye are better off on their own and can only get ruined by marinating.
#2: Allow the Marinade to Permeate the Meat
You can slice nicks into the meat, about halfway through its thickness, to allow the marinade to penetrate the steak easily and quickly. It will then break down the connective tissue and muscle fibers of the meat. This is a very slow process, so by cutting nicks through the meat, you help speed things up a bit.
There are hundreds of recipes when it comes to marinating steaks. But the most basic rules to follow are to include an acidic liquid (such as wine or vinegar, to break down the muscle fibers), oil, and your choice of flavorings (herbs, spices, or sweeteners). You can customize your own mix depending on your preferences. Make it salty, sweet, or even spicy. You can buy pre-made mixes in the store, but making your own will be so much better and healthier*.
Some home cooks substitute the wine, vinegar, or lemon juice with other products with tenderizing enzymes, such as papaya, pineapple, ginger, kiwi, and even dairy products like buttermilk or Greek yogurt.
*Scroll down to the end of this article for free steak marinade recipes!
CAUTION: Don’t go overboard with your acidic liquid, because marinating steak for too long in too acidic an environment (pH level of 5 or lower) can give you the opposite effect: tightened muscles and dried up meat, making it tougher to chew.
#4: Marinate your Meat Cuts
Once you’ve mixed your marinade, you are ready to use it with your meat.
- Simply place the steak into a clean plastic, ceramic, or glass container and pour in the mixture. Using a plastic bag with a zip lock is very handy for this step, because you won’t worry about cleaning up afterwards.
- Let the marinade cover the entire cut of meat. You can massage the meat to assist the penetration of the mixture, although letting it stand and rest in the marinade is sufficient if you’re not in a hurry.
- Place the container in the refrigerator. Make sure it is sealed properly. Keep it chilled between two to 24 hours. The stronger your marinade recipe, the less time you’ll need in the fridge.
Once you’re all ready, take out the container. Shake off any excess marinade and thaw the meat a little bit if it is cold. Once under room temperature, you can proceed to cooking it - grilling, pan-frying, baking, or whatever your recipe requires. Have fun with your tender and juicy steak dish!
BONUS: 2 Easy Steak Marinade Recipes that You Can Try Right Now!
Check out these two super easy and highly rated recipes for creating your own steak marinade at home! These marinade mixes are very flavorful that you won’t even need to use a steak sauce for your meat later on.
Recipe #1: Worcestershire Sauce, Vinegar, and Yellow Mustard Combo
This works amazingly well for strip loin, but can be used for most cuts as well.
You will need:
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
● 1 tbsp balsamic or white vinegar
● 1 tsp yellow mustard
● 1 tbsp soy sauce
● 1 clove of garlic, minced
● Pepper, to taste
Simply mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl. When you’re ready, pour the mix over the steak and refrigerate overnight.
Recipe #2: Steak Marinade with Dried Parsley and Basil
This is another recipe that is perfect for serving steak during family gatherings. Plus, it’s easy and simple to do. You’ll be ready to chill in just 15 minutes!
You will need:
● 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
● 1/2 cup olive oil
● 1/2 cup soy sauce
● 1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is better)
● 3 tbsp dried basil
● 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
● 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
● 1 tsp white pepper, ground
You can mix these manually in a bowl, or you can pop the ingredients into a blender and mix them on HIGH for 30 seconds. If you want a bit of a kick, you can add some dried minced garlic and hot pepper sauce to the marinade, too.
Once ready, pour over your steak. Seal in a container and keep in the fridge for about 8 hours or so before cooking.
Now we’re all ready to make our own steak marinade mixes! Feel free to customize with your own preference of spices, herbs, and sweeteners. Just keep in mind the basic parts of a steak marinade and you’ll be good to go!
How to Enjoy Steak No Matter What Appliance You’re Using
Aside from the different cuts and different marinades, there are also different ways to cook steak. Cooks from all over the world have become very imaginative and creative with their slabs of meat. Here, we’re highlighting four of the most popular and common ways to cook steak.
This recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown for the Food Network. For this recipe, you’ll be cooking steak on your stove for a little bit before finishing it off in the oven.
- 1 slice of rib-eye steak, boneless
- Canola oil
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven. In the meantime, thaw the steak down to room temperature.
2. Once you reach the temperature, take out the skillet and place it on your range over high heat. Keep the heat on for 5 minutes.
3. Drizzle the steak with canola oil. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of the steak. Season with pepper as desired.
4. Place the steak on the hot skillet. Cook for half a minute on one side, then flip, and cook for another half minute.
5. Immediately take the pan back into the oven and cook for another two minutes. Flip the meat over and cook for another 2 minutes. You should get a medium-rare finish. (Add another minute for each side if you want a medium cook.)
6. Take out the steak and wrap it loosely with foil. Let it sit for about two minutes before slicing and serving.
Serve and enjoy! You can pair it with a side dish or sauce of your choice.
#2: How to Cook Steak in the Grill
Grilling is one of the most common ways of enjoying steak. Families and high-end restaurants love grilling and barbecuing meat. This is Bobby Flay’s famous grilled steak recipe from the Food Network.
● 4 pieces of New York strip steaks, boneless rib-eye steaks, or filet mignon cuts
● Canola or extra-virgin olive oil
● Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1. Before grilling, take out your steaks from the fridge and let them sit and thaw on their own under room temperature for about 20 minutes.
2. Turn your grill on to HIGH.
3. Brush both sides of your steaks with canola oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. When ready, cook the steaks on the grill until you get a nice golden brown color. They should be a bit charred. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
5. Flip the steaks and grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes for a medium rare finish, 5-7 minutes for a medium cook, or 8-10 minutes for a medium well cook.
6. Place the steaks on a serving board or dish. Loosely cover with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
7. Enjoy with cold drinks and a nice side dish or dip.
If you want a quick stovetop steak recipe, check this one out from Julia Moskin for the New York Times. You won’t need an oven or grill - just a cast-iron skillet and a good old stovetop.
● 2 pieces of boneless strip, rib-eye, chuck-eye, hanger, skirt, or flat iron steaks
● Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1. Take out the meat from the fridge and pat it dry using paper towels. Let it rest and cool down to room temperature for about an hour or so.
2. Place a cast-iron skillet on your stove and sprinkle about half a teaspoon of salt on it.
3. Turn the stove up to HIGH heat. It’ll take about five minutes for it to be smoking hot.
4. Pat the steak dry again before placing on to the pan. Cook only one piece of steak at a time.
5. The steak should sizzle. Allow this for one minute, then flip it over the other side. Move the steak around the pan to soak up the salt in the pan. Press the steak down gently every now and then.
6. Flip the steak every half minute. After flipping for a few times, sprinkle two more pinches of salt. Season with pepper, if you’re using.
7. By now, the steak will have shrunk in size and looks dark brown. After about 4 minutes of total cook time, check for doneness. Use a meat thermometer to be sure. Medium rare should be at 120-125 degrees internally.
8. When you’re happy with the cook of the meat, remove from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes.
9. Slice and serve your steak. Make sure to slice against the grain!
#4: How to Cook Steak in the Microwave
YES, it IS possible to cook steak in the microwave. It definitely isn’t the best way to go, but if you’re running short on time, this is a great alternative method to enjoy some meat at home. Should you choose to cook via this method, know that cooking on HIGH will give faster results, but may compromise meat quality. It’s recommended to stick to MEDIUM heat and cook for a while longer so that you will end up with a juicier steak.
CAUTION! Do NOT use oil. This will burn your meat. If your microwave oven doesn’t automatically rotate, manually turn the steak every now and then to ensure even cooking.
- 1 piece of sirloin steak
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Take the steak out from the fridge. Let it sit for about two hours or until it comes down to room temperature. Use paper towels to pat it dry.
2. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper, as you desire. You can use other spices, too.
3. Place the steak in a microwave-safe dish and cook on HIGH heat for 5-7 minutes (longer if using MEDIUM heat) to get a medium finish. Adjust the cooking time depending on how done you want it to be.
4. Flip the steak on its other side halfway through cooking.
5. Once happy, transfer onto a plate. Let it rest for a bit before slicing and eating.
6. Serve with some veggies and refreshments!
These are four of the most common ways to cook steak. If you have no grill or oven, there’s no excuse for you not to be able to enjoy a good slice of meat whenever you want to. Now, you can eat steak any day of the week! Feel free to experiment through the different methods and use various spices, sauces, and side dishes to fulfil your cravings.
Section 5: The Best Secrets Food Experts Follow to Create the Perfect Steak
Check out these four tips from different food bloggers, restaurateurs, and professional chefs to create better steak dishes in your own kitchen.
Tip #1: Don’t Get Flip-Happy!
As soon as the steak hits the [hot] pan or skillet, it will sizzle. All you need to do is to gently press down the meat - just to ensure it is in full contact with the heat. Aside from this, you don’t need to do anything else. Do NOT jiggle it. Do NOT move it around. Do NOT stir it with a ladle. Do NOT flip it. Simply let it be. Don’t worry about sticking. The outermost part of the steak will caramelize, and the slight part that will stick will release on its own. If you do need to check how the browning is proceeding, wait for at least a minute for it to cook.
When it’s time to flip, there are two ways to proceed:
Cook the steak on one side until properly brown, then flip once to cook the other side until brown. This will leave you with a nice crust.
Here, you have to flip the steak every minute. The idea is to cook it as evenly as possible. This is pretty risky, though, and we recommend the two-flip method instead.
Tip #2: Get the Hottest Grill Possible
From: Cameron Ming, award-winning barbecuer and grill master in Oklahoma
Ming suggests that to get the perfect steak just like the prime steak joints and high-end restaurants do, get your grill going really hot. Pro kitchens reach 1000 degrees (or even higher), but this may be impossible for home cooks to achieve. Just get your fire as hot as you can. The goal is to create the most sear on your meat to lock in the most flavor. Don’t worry about burning the steak. The better quality your meat cut has, the longer it’ll take to burn it. As long as you keep your eye on it, you’ll be good to go.
Tip #3: Do Not Underestimate Preparation
From Chef Lomonaco, one of the best New York chefs in business
Cooking steak isn’t just about throwing meat into the grill (see our previous sections about preparing steak). Chef Lomonaco considers steak prepping an “art” - beginning from picking the proper cut for the specific dish you have in mind to finishing it off with the right garnish. Although there are particular perimeters, getting your steak to your ideal level of doneness isn’t just a science.
Check out his video where he explains everything you need when preparing a steak meal, from choosing cuts, preparing your meat, and bonus advice for perfect steak grilling.
From: Chef Robin Ho, Prive Group executive chef and former head of the Les Amis Restaurants and the Marmalade Group of Restaurants
It is true that not all of us can afford the most top-of-the-line appliances and cookware in our kitchen. However, there is one alternative solution: get a really, really good pan - one that can last a lifetime and will give you the best results with every cooking. Find one that is thick-bottomed. Chef Ho recommends cast-iron pans because these are exceptional conductors of heat, which is helpful in cooking steaks effectively. Although there is the temptation to buy non-stick pans, they prevent you from having a good crust, so avoid them if you can.
Section 6: The 8 Most Common Mistakes when Cooking Steak
We’ve talked about the right preparation, cooking, and even serving of steak dishes. However, there are many common mistakes that are done by home cooks all the time. Read along to learn about them, avoid them, and do the right thing instead - especially if you’re cooking steak for the first time!
What you need to do instead: Plan your dish ahead of time. 10 to 30 minutes before you are going to cook it, take your steak out of the fridge. Allow it to rest on its own. This will help it cool down to room temperature. As a result, you’ll get an evenly browned and more tender piece of meat.
What you need to do instead: Make sure your pan, skillet, or grill is as hot as it can be. The steak MUST sizzle on first contact. Otherwise, this means it isn’t hot enough. If it’s as hot as it needs to be, you’ll get the best sear and color that you want. If you’re worried about overcooking your steak, move the meat to a cooler part of the pan or lower the heat later on during cook time instead.
What you need to do instead: Since we suggested really high temperatures, your pan of choice must be able to withstand the heat without warping. Heavy pans and skillets are good for the job. The top choice are cast-iron griddles or pans, which conduct heat most effectively. When cooking, be sure that your pan has enough room. Don’t overcrowd the pan. If cooking multiple pieces, cook in batches instead.
What you need to do instead: Like we mentioned in our previous section, you will fare well by avoiding flipping your meat more than you should. The more often you flip, the tougher the meat will be. Before flipping, wait about half a minute of cooking at the very least. This way, you’ll let it cook evenly and create a nice crust.
What you need to do instead: Do not worry about over-seasoning your steak. There is no such thing. In fact, you should be able to see the salt and pepper with your naked eye! Don’t be shy, because sufficient salt and pepper is necessary in creating a beautiful crust as well as the overall flavor of the meat. Unlike other dishes, you can’t slice a steak open to season it. You can only do it from the outside. So be aggressive with your salt and pepper. The best choice for steak are “coarse” types of salt, such as Kosher salt and black pepper. You don’t need anything too fancy.
What you need to do instead: We’ve also discussed this a while ago. Once you are done cooking your meat, let it rest and stand on its own before slicing it and serving. This allows for the natural juices of the meat to redistribute evenly. Thin cuts of steak will require about 5-10 minutes, while thicker cuts may need up to 15 minutes. Do not fear - your steak will NOT get cold. Let it rest a while.
What you need to do instead: You’re almost there - you only need to slice and serve it. So don’t ruin all of your efforts by hacking and sawing your meat using a dull blade. Use a sharp knife to cut against the grain. We’ve talked about this earlier, and it’s worth repeating: always slice against the grain! It won’t just taste better, it’ll also have a lovelier presentation.
What you need to do instead: It’s perfectly understandable. Many people are intimidated by steak dishes. You may think that it’s too sophisticated for a humble home cook with a simple kitchen like yourself. But this is not the case. You’ve already spent good money on those cuts, so you’re going to want to treat them right and not let them go to waste.
It’s not just professional restaurant chefs who can whip up a good steak dish. You’ve come this far trying to learn more about this art, so all you need to do is relax, and breathe deeply. You can do this. You are going to cook your very own sumptuous steak dish!
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid making these crucial mistakes when cooking and serving steak. If it’s your first time, don’t worry too much. Cooking is supposed to be relaxing and fun! If you mess up once, at least you learned something. For sure, your next attempt will be more delicious and closer to perfect!
Section 7: The Best Steak Recipes You’ll Ever Need
We’ve compiled ten of the most sumptuous and delightful steak recipes from all around the country. Find out which among these dishes will be your go-to steak recipe!
Sliced Strip Steak with Arugula and Parsley
(Recipe by Bon Appétit, photograph by Christopher Testani)
Bavette with Chimichurri Sauce
(Recipe by Sophie Godwin)
Steak with Sweet Potato Chips
Seared Sirloin with Japanese Dips
Savory Garlic Marinated Steaks
Garlic Prime Rib
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mushroom Sauce
Butter-Basted Rib Eye Steaks
Wood-Smoked Tri-Tip with Sicilian Herb Sauce
Steaks are among the most beloved dishes all around the world. They are often grilled, but contemporary styles now include pan-frying, roasting, and broiling steak. When grilling steak, the goal is to replicate the flavor and richness that one achieves through glowing-hot coals from an open fire. Steaks are cooked in various times and temperatures, depending on the preference of the diner in terms of the meat’s doneness. The rarer a steak is, the colder, softer, and redder its center is. The more well done it is, the browner and tougher it gets.