Here’s What Your Choice of Steak Says About You
Plus: How to perfectly cook all your favorite cuts.
It turns out there’s a bit of psychology behind the kind of steak a man chooses to order and even how he wants it done. And even if she didn’t major in behavioral sciences, chances are that on some level your date is assessing just what kind of man you are when said hunk of beef arrives tableside.
So we asked chef Wade Wiestling, VP of Culinary Development at New York’s renowned Mastro’s Steakhouse and parent company Landry’s Inc., to weigh on on what your steak says about you, plus give us tips for cooking these cuts right every time:
1. The Temperature Question
Rare: “Let’s just say you’re definitely not a vegetarian. If you order your steak rare, you want to keep all of its beefy natural flavors.”
Medium Rare: “You are a perfectionist who enjoys a perfect steak. If you want the most flavor and juiciness – without excessive moo-ing – this is the way to go.”
Medium: “You like things in moderation and like to stay within your ‘safe-zone’. You’re mild-mannered and don’t stray too far from the popular choice.”
Well-Done: “You are straight to the point and no nonsense. You know how you like your steak (burnt as hell) and there’s no second guessing you.”
2. Filet Mignon
“You’re a quality over quantity type of guy. You appreciate the finer things in life – in this case it’s a smaller, lean tenderloin cut. This is also the best cut for those who like to lead a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. The thicker the better.”
How to Cook it Perfect every time: “Look for a filet at least 1 1/2” thick. Rub it with olive oil, lots of salt and black pepper. Put the Filet, into a super-hot cast iron frying pan and seared on both sides – 4 minutes.
“Then finish in a preheated 500 degree oven an additional 3-4 minutes. Let it rest about 5 minutes under foil. This is a lean piece of meat with little fat, little flavor and little personality – so season it well and break out the steak sauce.”
“This cut is the ‘cheat day of steaks.’ Nothing is lean about this cut, since you’ll be getting ribbons of delicious and flavorful fat. You’re the carnivore that values flavor and the concept ‘Treat yourself!’. This ideal ribeye should be brown and crispy on the outside, pink and juicy on the inside.”
How to cook it perfect every time: “I prefer to grill the steak over an open gas flame, which is hot enough to sear it, brown it and put a nice char on the meat very quickly. The point here is to develop a flavorful char and not, as many people will say, to ‘seal in the juices’.
“That’s a myth, and a bad one at that because everyone buys it. The browning action and developing a deep char gives you that crisp texture and a complex nutty, savory, umami like flavors that we identify with a classically great steak.”
4. New York Strip
“You’re a simple and classic guy that doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. A no-brainer…But you have to start with the best prime-grade, dry-aged beef with plenty of marbling, i.e., visible grains of fat running through the steak. You want a more fatty steak here. As the steak is cooking, that lovely fat melts, naturally tenderizing the meat and building in that unmistakable juicy flavor.”
How To Cook it Perfect Every Time: “You have to start with the best prime-grade, dry-aged beef. You can substitute a 1 1/2″ thick choice steak from the supermarket, but you won’t get the same depth of flavor. Next, look for and identify the meat with the most marbling, i.e., visible grains of fat running through the steak. You want a more fatty steak here.
“As the steak is cooking, that lovely fat melts, naturally tenderizing the meat and building in that unmistakable juicy flavor. Also be sure to avoid vein steaks — the ones with a half-moon-shaped vein running through the cut — because they’re too tough.”
“Unlike those who prefer the New York Strip, you embody the idea that bigger is indeed much better. Go big or go home. The quintessential ‘Dad Steak’… Fat and bones don’t just deliver better flavor—they also insulate the meat. Using plenty of butter doesn’t hurt either.”
How To Cook It Perfect Every Time: “Because the tenderloin is leaner, it’ll always cook through more quickly than the strip side; the smaller it is, the faster it will do so. To ensure the filet section of the T-bone comes out to a respectable medium-rare, porterhouse size tenderloin sections of 1 1/2” or larger are definitely the way to go.
“Once the steak is cooked, and while its resting, go ahead and melt a few tablespoons of whole butter in a small saucepan, add some fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme, chopped garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice and let those come together as they cool down. Slice that that t-bone up and drizzle that magic butter over the meat to take that flavorful steak from mere greatness, to a culinary masterpiece!”