What a letdown, the first tie in my short polling career. I thought the ‘goes’ where going to pull through against the old timers, but in the end a few stray votes made things neck in neck. My vote…well…I guess those of you who know me, know my opinion already, but for sake of conversation I’ll leave my personal feelings out of this one. I want to examine the many ways to judge temperature of a steak.
The cheek method, where one pushed his/her finger against the steak and moving from rare to well, feels similar to pushing against ones cheek from the middle of the cheek up towards the nose. The cheek part has a lot of give, where the nose area is stiff.
The thumb web theory; here is an example of the same tactile extrapolation just starting at the inner web of the thumb and forefinger and working up toward the wrist where the wrist area is rather stiff signifying well done, and the web area rather soft and thus signaling a rare temperature.
The thermometer holds a whole new mathematical realm to the equation, where cooking something to 90 degrees is medium rare, assuming a resting period in which the heat permeates the meat. Kind of scientific, but only as good as the thermometer, and the thickness of the steak.
Lastly, and the overall best way to judge steak temperatures at any restaurant is to have a great broiler man. This person is willing to throughout his own perceptions of doneness and based on experience provide a consistent doneness based on the clienteles desires. The broiler man has a lot of pressure, every steak he cooks gets judges, and it either passes or fails, and when a steak fails it gets paraded back into the kitchen, managers poke at it, the expo gives it a nod, other cooks wince and count their blessings it isn’t one of their plates. Other areas of the brigade don’t always fall under such scrutiny. Working the broiler is no glorious job, it’s the hottest spot in the kitchen, it’s bloody, and very much underappreciated. Can a great broiler man provide a steak that is something between medium rare and medium? Absolutely. So why not ask him to do it? I can’t think of one, sorry broiler man, your job just got a little bit more difficult.
Enjoy this podcast from linecook blog, including a discussion about steak temperatures.