If you want a quick and surefire way to start a fist fight in a group of men, start talking about individual steak preferences.
Start a debate about which cut is the best, prepare for a hilarious shitstorm of bone-in ribeyes vs. filet dudes, and then watch the awkward London broil fan pipe up (probably a couple minutes before he confesses to you and all your friends that he’s been on a “hot yoga” kick lately). Talk about cooking methodology and preferred seasonings, and watch literal fireworks go off.
But one thing I think we can all agree on without any punches being thrown is that a well-done steak is nothing short of a tragedy. You might argue with us, but we’re fans of the medium range. And here’s why:
1. Medium rare means succulent and tender.
If you’re the kind of asshole who enjoys a well-done steak, I can only presume it’s because you simply don’t know any better. Whether your favorite cut is a New York Strip or a ribeye, the fact is, any steak cooked well done becomes tough and dry. Period.
And steaks that are too rare can also be tough, believe it or not, because undercooked meat is naturally very fibrous. When exposed to adequate heat levels, that fibrous tissue softens, and the proteins in it break down and allow it to flex and move.
So, that leaves medium. Medium rare yields the most tender and succulent and edible steak—because science.
2. Medium steaks are the least offensive.
When I’m cooking for guests, I won’t ask them what they like or how they prefer their steaks because, frankly, I’m probably cooking for a group, and I know that medium is the general consensus.
If you like your steak rare and someone hands you a medium, you certainly won’t scoff at it. In fact, I imagine you can respect a good medium steak. And if you’re the kind of person who likes your steak well done, well then, I imagine it’s because you’ve never had a proper medium steak. I’m fixin’ to change that, and you’ll most likely enjoy the results.
Of course, if you want to be the GG Allin of your cookout and offend all your guests, feel free to dish out char-burnt bullshit or bloody messes. Whatever. GG Allin threw shit—literal shit—all over his audience members, so I guess that’s fitting.
3. Remember the juices.
I know we talked about the level of doneness above, but real quick, I just want to remind everyone of why juices are so critical to the cooking process. Juices naturally cook out of a steak the more time it spends on a grill. But juices aren’t just meat water; they blend and bond with the seasonings you’ve used in order to create a kind of baste that goes perfectly with the meat you’re cooking—because they’re from the meat you’re cooking.
If you cook your steak well, those juices cook out and you never get to savor them. Too rare, and that juice is basically blood, and we aren’t vampires for fuck’s sake. But from a solid medium steak, you’re getting exactly what the meat gods intended when they blessed you with that beautiful, beautiful slab.
If you don’t believe me, please, I implore you to just try it.