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Americans can't agree if they want steak charred or still mooing

Longhorn Steakhouse, which (for better or worse) provides a cross-section of America, provided the data.
steak
How do you like your steak? Photo: Flickr/tarale

America is divided. Despite consuming about 25 billion pounds of beef per year, Americans can’t agree on rare, medium-rare or well-done.

The good folks at FiveThirtyEight followed up on a 2014 survey with data from Longhorn Steakhouse. In 2014, the survey found that most people reported steak preferences as medium-rare, followed by medium and then medium-well. The recent data from Longhorn Steakhouse, compiled over a year from all 491 U.S. locations, actually showed American talk a rare game but don’t put the rare steak where their mouth is.

Nearly 12 percent of Americans ordered their steak well-done and less than three percent ordered their cuts rare, according to the data. Most orders (37.5 percent) were requested medium, followed by medium-well (25.8 percent) and medium-rare (22.5 percent).

The best way to perfect your steak’s internal temperature is to buy a high-quality meat thermometer and follow cooking safety guidelines.

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Jens Dahlmann, the executive chef at Longhorn, said rare meat will reach 95 to 105 degrees; medium-rare meat should be about 115 to 125 degrees, “and, according to FiveThirtyEight culture writer and cantankerous elitist Walt Hickey, anything above that is ruined.”

Read the full report here.

Eater penned a piece earlier this year that purports that POTUS’ choice of well-done steak says a lot about the man in the Oval Office.

The authors wrote: “A person who won’t eat his steak any doneness but well is a person who won’t entertain the notion that there could be a better way; a person who blankets the whole thing in ketchup (a condiment that adds back much of the moisture, sweetness, and flavor that the overcooking removed in the first place) is always going to fix his problems by making them worse. A person who refuses to try something better is a person who will never make things good.”

Whether you buy into that analysis or not, food snobs and even dear, impartial science make the argument that the cooking process robs the meat of its moisture (which is what provides flavor).

We aren’t going to tell you how to order your steak. This author used to eat filet mignon well-done (Hey! The extra good cut made sure it stayed tender!) until she tried medium-well and then slipped further into foodie favor with medium and the occasional medium-rare.

So, do you, but be aware that well-done lovers are often looked upon with horror.

 
 
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