There are many ways to cook beef: Chinese fried beef, corned beef, and braised beef, each cooked using a unique practice, and each having their own distinct flavour. Cooking steak Western style is a completely different world, the results of high temperature frying exudes a charming aroma, maintaining the juicy texture, and retaining the unique sweetness of the beef itself.
Many people are hesitant about eating a rare steak thinking it is too raw or even unsafe to eat. Before we discuss this aspect, let’s talk about the different degrees of ‘done-ness’ and the corresponding internal temperatures, as well as the color and touch.
Rare: the internal temperature is 52-55 degrees Celsius; the meat is cherry red on the inside and feels very soft.
Medium Rare: the internal temperature is 55-60 degrees Celsius; the inside is still red, but looks a little warmer; a little more flexible to the touch.
Medium: the internal temperature is 60-65 degrees Celsius; the inside is pink; feels more flexible than medium rare.
Medium Well: the internal temperature is 65-69 degrees Celsius; most of the inside is gray-brown with only the central part a little pink; feels very flexible.
Well Done: The internal temperature exceeds 71 degrees Celsius; the inside is gray; firm to the touch.
There are two more alternatives, one of which is close to raw, Extra Rare, with an internal temperature of only 47-49 degrees Celsius; and the other has an internal temperature of more than 100 degrees Celsius, meaning burnt, and requiring a lot of courage to try. I don’t, of course, discuss these two options here.
HOW TO EAT BEEF SAFELY
The two food safety aspects to note regarding beef are bacterial contamination and parasite infestation. Bacterial contamination is generally E. coli and Salmonella, which reproduce on the surface of the steak and are killed instantly by high temperature frying.
Parasites, such as Toxoplasma gondii, live in the interior of the beef, well-concealed and difficult to eradicate. FoodSafety.gov, the official US website for food safety, gives two solutions. One is to freeze the beef at minus 18 degrees Celsius for nine days to kill parasites.
Of course, after the beef is frozen, the flavor may be reduced. The other way is cooking the beef to 63 degrees Celsius and maintain this temperature for 3 minutes, which also kills the parasites. So, according to this information, steak cooked to Medium is safe to eat.
How to Identify the Pros and Cons of Beef
Fresh beef has a normal fresh beef smell.
If the beef smells bit of ammonia or sour, or has a rancid smell, do not buy it.
Look for Color
The color of fresh beef should be bright red, shiny, and uniform in color. The fat should be white or milky yellow.
If the color is a darker red and the fat appears dull, or has any greenish tinge to it, it is not fresh and you should not buy it.
Look for Elasticity
You should be able to press down on fresh beef with your fingers down, and have it bounce back immediately.
Avoid beef that recovers slowly or not at all when pressed down.
Look for Viscosity
The surface of fresh beef should be moist, yet dry and when touched and will not leave residue on your fingers, or make them sticky.
Do not buy beef that has a sticky surface.
Look at the Juices
When thawed, high-quality beef should exude a clear, transparent liquid with cellulite floating on the surface, which will produce a delicious flavor when cooked.
If the liquid produced after thawing is a little muddy, and has fat droplets floating on the surface, it will produce an inferior flavor.
If the liquid is cloudy, with yellow or white flakes floating on the surface, and has an unpleasant odor, do not use it.
Steak is usually fried and eaten as one piece and accompanied with a sauce and side dishes. However, today I’m going to introduce a different way of eating steak, cut into thin slices, and served with delicious sliced onion marinated in apple cider vinegar, vegetable salad, and cheese all wrapped in homemade tortillas.
So next time you have your buddies over for steak and drinks, diverge from the normal steak and give this a try. Who doesn’t like steak? Who doesn’t like tortillas? My Steak Tortillas are bound to be a hit!
Mexican Tortillas (makes 12 x 20 cm diameter tortillas):
List of ingredients:
- 420 g ordinary flour. Tortillas do not need the same quality of flour as bread or pizza. Originating in the northern part of Mexico, tortillas are particularly popular in the southwest United States. The wheat quality in this region is lower than wheat used for bread flour, which makes it cheaper, and perfect for tortillas.
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder. Baking powder is composed of baking soda and a biologically weak acid, is very safe, and we can rest assured that the use of baking powder will make the tortillas taste softer.
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 70 ml grape seed oil. You could also use peanut oil, sunflower oil or other light flavored vegetable oil. If the weather is cold, it’s best not to use lard, butter or other animal fat, as it will make the tortillas drier.
- 250 ml warm water. ‘Warm’ is 35-40 degrees Celsius, and feels a little warm. To warm the water, place cold water in the microwave for 30-40 seconds.
For the Steak:
- 3 New York steaks, totaling 750 grams
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 purple onion, about 170 g
- 90 ml apple cider vinegar
- 40 g sugar
- ½ – 1 teaspoon (3 g) salt
- 180 g lettuce
- 12 slices cheese
- 60 ml tomato ketchup
Thank-you to Tiana Matson for this post