Steaks are arguably one of the most savoury culinary inventions around. Imagine the aroma, the succulence of beef, the rich flavour it has once you cut a portion of beef and place it on your tongue. I’m pretty sure many of you would be craving for some by now. Unfortunately, due to high beef prices here in Indonesia, consuming any dish made of beef; let alone steak have become a luxury for some.
Indeed, a plate of steak could take up a significant amount of your bank account. But no need to worry. If you find steak to be too costly but at the same time you are craving for one, you can still enjoy it once in a while, such as during special occasions.
Meanwhile, the serving of a steak is somewhat customized in the sense of how done the meat is. Anyone ordering a plate of steak should be informed what doneness is and decide how well it is when served for them. Doneness is determined through texture, taste and appearance of the meat. And then, doneness is achieved by cooking the meat at a particular heat and duration.
These are the 5 main doneness levels of steak including the characteristics it possesses.
- Rare (seared crust, but very red and cool for 75% or more of the centre)
- Medium Rare (seared crust, still red but warm for 50% of the centre)
- Medium (seared crust, pink and much warmer for 25% of the centre)
- Medium Well (seared for most part of the meat, with slightly pink and a bit hot centre)
- Well Done (cooked all throughout; no more pink or cool areas, becomes fully brown)
Despite all those above being a matter of personal preferences, but then of all five levels of doneness most recommend steak to be eaten at medium rare conditions. Why so? But before that, here are more information to medium rare steak.
Medium Rare Steak
Like what is written above, medium rare steak has seared crust, warm and still red in colour for 50% of the inside. The longer you cook steak, the harder and drier it has. Medium rare steak provides the best balance of heat, tenderness as well as juiciness of the meat.
Medium rare steaks are cooked at approximately 54.5-60⁰c for 10 minutes. Each side of the meat is flipped by two minutes in between. To get medium rareness, cook until its texture becomes bouncy and flip the meat using thongs instead of fork. It is done that way because fork punctures the meat, which gives way for the punctured areas to get cooked faster thus meat juiciness will not be at its best.
Why Medium Rare Steak?
Most chefs and culinary experts recommend having your steak medium rare because much of the flavour is in the unmelted fat of the uncooked parts, otherwise the more it gets cooked, the more fat gets melted, the dryer it is and the less flavour you will be getting. The fat that gives flavour to the meat is known as the marble, which also indirectly determines the meat quality. The more marble it has, the better the quality.
Medium Rare Steak’s Health Benefits
Besides, eating steak when it is medium rare turns out to be healthier in some ways, in which it will be discussed below.
- An Abundant Source of Protein
Meat is among the best source of protein available in the market, which also works to maintain your muscle mass. The amino acids inside protein is what helps to build muscles. Lack of protein can cause a sharp decrease in energy as we do our activities, which leads to muscle wear and tear, and also muscle deterioration as we age. Amino acids also help to replace lost muscular cells and heal muscle ache faster.
- Helps to Prevent Anemia
Anemia is caused by the decrease of red blood cells, which also reduces oxygen supply carried inside these cells. Red blood cells are made of iron, and iron deficiency slows down the creation of new red blood cells. Lack of these indicate symptoms of anemia, in which among them are ending you up in extreme fatigue, weakening body, lack of attention as well as consciousness. The iron and vitamin B12 inside beef can help you increase the supply of red blood cells.
- Anticipates Cancer
Cancer is one deadly terminal disease that gets more and more prevalent across the world every day. While then, treatment to cancer is minimal or costly if any. Steak can prevent cancer thanks to conjugated linoleic acid that blocks the growth and spread of tumors, riboflavin plus vitamin B12 that combats any free radicals as well as selenium that replaces lost cells and tissues.
- Increases Immunity
Steak contains vital substances to maximize one’s immunity, such as selenium that counteracts various viruses, and zinc as an antiviral agent.
- Maintains Heart Health
Myth has it that steak jeopardizes health and the heart due to its high fat plus cholesterol content and cooking method. But then things happen the opposite way. Nutrients such as vitamin B12 protects the heart from attacks and strokes, niacin reduces LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol on the other hand, and selenium works as an antioxidant as well as to increase blood flow.
- Upholds Bone Strength
Protein also helps to uphold bone strength, increase bone density, prevent symptoms of osteoporosis or any other orthopaedic disorders in the long term.
- Gets Over Thinning Hair
Almost everyone would like to have flourishing thick hair. One of steak’s nutrients, the vitamin B12 is good as a solution to thinning hair because it increases collagen to make hair strong and flourish.
Olive oil may taste good when used as a steak condiment, but is olive oil good for your hair as well?
- Eases Digestion
Cooked meat turns out to be much harder to digest compared to raw meat, which is partly due to the oil, salt and others that have been added in the cooking process. Cooked meat also loses 6 percent of amino acids, which also helps digestion in the long term.
How to Prepare Medium Rare Steak
Medium rare steak can be prepared in these five easy steps.
- Heat the pan on medium heat before adding the steak. While then, brush the steak using your condiments of choice to prevent it from sticking.
- Insert the steak into the pan, cook one side for 3-4 minutes.
- Flip the meat and repeat step 2. Use thongs to flip the steak over to reduce the risk of escaping meat juices.
- Press the centre of the steak using your thongs to test the doneness. Medium rare steak should feel bouncy when pressed.
- Serve it into a plate, cover it with foil and rest it for approximately 3-5 minutes to ensure maximum tenderness. Then only you can serve it.
Cautions of Eating Medium Rare Steak
Despite modern steak have been made from lamb, pork, chicken or fish, but then steak products out of those have to be well cooked for a number of reasons, making medium rare steak possible only on beef and not ground beef. Here are the health benefits of ground meat.
Raw chicken meat is plagued with salmonella which pollutes the inside. To effectively kill salmonella, chicken meat has to be well cooked. And then, the same situation also applies to ground beef, however ground beef is affected with E. coli.
Meanwhile, pork is even more dangerous to be consumed raw. Pork is much more likely to be infected with trichina worms, which can lead to trichinosis when consumed raw. These are the 11 health benefits of pork tenderloin.
Medium rare steak is one proof that healthy food can be tasty at the same time. So the next time you have the opportunity to eat steak again, cook or ask the waiter to make it medium rare to get the best of both worlds. Bon appetit!