Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fahrenheit 148: Is My Steak Request Helping or Bossing?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 5:26 AM

click to enlarge thermometer_in_steak_cutout.jpg

Last summer, Big Fella and I and another couple had dinner at a steak place, where I ordered my steak at 148 degrees.

"Is 146 or 150 okay, or does it need to be 148 exactly?" asked the server. It's a good question. I like that temperature so the meat is juicy and pink, without a bloody flavor. Temperatures down to 143 give a good result, but above is too done and the meat is chewy and gray.

It seemed like a helpful gesture and a clear mandate for the kitchen, but my friend said, "Are you crazy? They're back there laughing their heads off, probably spitting on your steak."

I'm so naïve. Is it true? I asked some cooks around town.

Andy Hunter at The Acorn: "I'll cook a steak any way someone wants. Even when I get upset about outlandish requests, there's a door between the kitchen and the dining room. I would make fun of you from behind the door. "

Alan Horsnell at Ombi: "We have a list of meat temperatures, and according to it, your steak is near medium and that's how I'd cook it. The more information we have as cooks about what your preferences are, the more likely we are to nail it."

Brian Uhl at Cabana: "I'd probably get a chuckle out of it. We don't use a thermometer, and to be honest, I don't think you'd find many places that do, because you don't want to pierce the steak."

Uhl added that the Cabana kitchen has also been asked for salmon at 135 degrees. Is this something I should know about? Cooks and chefs, be brutally honest: Is a specific temperature request your fondest hope or an eye-rolling annoyance?

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