Why do restaurants ask how you like your steak cooked?


I’m always confused as to why it is only steak where the restaurant asks how you want it cooked. I mean, when I order chicken, fish, pork, and other types of meats, the waiter doesn’t ask me how I want well-done I want it cooked, but for some reason they do that for steak? Even other forms of beef products don’t get this kind of treatment. Nobody asks how well I want a hamburger cooked, or the beef slices in beef noodle soup. So why is steak special in the regard?

In: Biology

It’s actually common for a lot of places to ask how your hamburger is cooked if they don’t use frozen and are a decent place. And it’s about luxury and history. The different cook styles alters the flavor and because steak has lovely skin and is so thick, which makes it kinda of have ‘layers’ to the process.

In general, beef is safe to eat raw, or partially cooked, chicken and pork are usually not. So it wouldn’t make much sense to ask you how you want your chicken done, the cook isn’t going to undercook it.

Cow meat can be consumed in different ways. Chicken pork and fish must be fully cooked always or you can catch up some nasty disseases

The texture and flavour of steak changes significantly with how it’s cooked, and the size, cut, and biology of steak makes it possible and safe to cook it different degrees. Chicken, fish and so on can be positively dangerous if undercooked.

Many burger places do give you a choice of doneness. With things like thin slices in soup it’s more or less impossible to vary how you cook it.

Both chicken, fish and pork have common parasites and bacteria with humans. So these needs to be cooked well to be safe to serve. Similarly ground or cut meat could have been infected by bacteria or fungus on the surfaces where they were cun and therefore needs to be well done as well. However steak and other big pieces of beef is more or less safe to serve raw as long as you just heat the outside of it. But this is where different tastes comes in. The more rare the steak is the jucier it is however it is also less tender. As you cook the steak it both dries up and becomes more tender. Different people likes it differently which is why they ask you. But for other kinds of meat there is no other safe option then well done.

Some fishes you can eat raw. Not all of them. Is always better to eat it cooked. Pregnant women and -3 yo children should not eat any raw fish (doctors recomendation). It’s risky.

Because beef and certain other meats (duck, lamb, some game meats) can be safely eaten at different levels of doneness. Bacteria generally can’t penetrate to the inner layers of the meat, so it’s ok. The exception is ground beef, which should be cooked to a certain minimal internal temperature, since the grinding process mixes the meat around. For things like fish, pork, or chicken, there can be bacteria and parasite throughout the meat, so you need to full cook it to the proper internal temperature to be sure that it’s safe.

You get definitely asked how you want the beef in your hamburger cooked in decent places. Happened to me in the US, France and Japan. Was actually surprised it didn’t happen in the UK and thought it was a remnant fear of mad cow disease (probably isn’t)

Believe it or not, there’s people out there that likes to eat raw meat (they call it “rare”).

That’s strange about burgers. It’s very rare (heh) that I don’t get asked how I want it cooked, and that is generally places that specialize in thin patties. Sometimes local regulations won’t allow anything under medium, but where I live now anything is fine.

Is asking about burgers just a US thing? Our menus are full of warnings about undercooked meat, but we’re still allowed to order it. You also get asked sometimes about pork tenderloin, but never poultry.

> Nobody asks how well I want a hamburger cooked

Sure they do! Maybe not at a fast food joint, but any sort of nicer burger place with 1/2lb or larger patties will ask… like anyplace of a Chili’s level or higher

Chicken carries more pathogens inside the meat that are harmful to you, under cooked pork has less, and beef is considered the safest. Particularly steak because any pathogens that land in the meat are destroyed when the steak is seared .

Also the temp you cook a steak to changes the flavor and tenderness drastically in a good cut of beef. There’s a reason chef’s recommend you get a quality steak medium rare!