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Baste: To moisten steak during cooking with a boiled marinade, sauce or pan drippings. Basting steak adds flavor and helps to keep the steak moist.
Blue Rare: Steak with a 100 degrees F core temperature. The outside is seared but the inside is barely warmed. Also known as very rare, blood rare, black, and blue or Pittsburgh rare.
Braise: To cook a tough cut of steak slowly in liquid, in a tightly covered pan.
Broil: To cook a few inches away from a direct heat source in the oven or over hot coals.
Choice: According to the USDA's steak grading system, Choice is a cut of steak with more marbling than Select but less than Prime.
Grading System: The USDA's grading system assesses the quality of steak, according to the amount of visible fat. Richly marbled beef has a higher grade because it is juicier and more tender, as well as being tastier. Fat insulates which helps to prevent well-marbled steak from being overcooked. Small and evenly distributed fat specks are preferred to big, sparser ones.
Grilling: A method of cooking steak over a gas, electric or charcoal grill. Grilling is the best way to cook many different cuts of steak and grill marks on a steak makes it look especially appealing. Most steaks require about eight minutes on the grill.
Marbling: Visible specks of fat streaked through the muscle tissue on a steak. The fat melts during cooking, basting the flesh, and improving its juiciness and tenderness.
Marinade: Steak marinade recipes are used to tenderize and add flavor to steak. A marinade is a liquid and different cuts of steak have different marinating times.
Medium: Steak with a 135 degrees F core temperature. The steak will be red and hot in the middle with pink around it. The outside is grayish brown.
Medium Rare: Steak with a 125 degrees F core temperature. The steak will be red and warm in the center. The outside is grayish brown.
Medium Well Done: Steak with a 145 degrees F core temperature. The steak is light pink on the inside and the outside is brown.
Pan Broil: A good cooking method for a thin T-bone or thin sirloin steak. Pan-broiling means cooking over a direct heat in an uncovered, ungreased pan or skillet.
Prime: The highest US meat grading system grade. Prime steak is produced in limited quantities and has the most marbling. Prime steak is exported to upscale restaurants abroad or sold in fine restaurants or specialty meat markets.
Rare: Steak with a 120 degrees F core temperature. The steak is red and slightly warm inside and grayish brown on the outside.
Raw Steak: Uncooked steaks, used in dishes like carpaccio and steak tartare.
Resting: You should leave steaks to rest for at least five minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute. The rested steaks will still be warm and they will be extra juicy.
Roast: To cook uncovered and without liquid in the oven. Roasting is the same as baking but the word roasting is used instead of baking when talking about meat.
Scoring: Scoring the surface of steak is a way of allowing flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat. This helps with tenderizing the steak too, since the marinade can penetrate further into the meat. Some steak marinade recipes call for the steak to be scored in a crosshatch pattern a quarter inch deep.
Sear: Searing is when you cook a steak hot and fast to brown the outside and seal in the juices. Some chefs believe that searing does not seal in the meat juices but it does create a crispy surface texture and kill any bacteria that might be on the outside of the meat.
Select: According to the US meat grading system, Select steak has the least amount of marbling so it is leaner but less juicy, flavorful, or tender than Prime or Choice cuts. Select is not recommended if you want a top quality steak.
Tenderizing Hammer: Also known as a meat mallet, this handy piece of kitchen equipment is used to pound a steak. It is made of metal with lots of points on the end to break up the connective tissues and makes the steak more tender. You can use a tenderizing hammer in addition to a steak marinade recipe or instead of it.
Well Done: Steak with a 165 degrees F core temperature. This steak is grayish brown throughout and is a bit charred on the outside.