Experiment 44


To determine the effect upon steaks of cooking by different methods and to different interior temperatures.

Rib, porterhouse, sirloin, or round steak may be used. Steaks for comparative tests by the Cooperative Meat Investigators are cut 2 inches thick. Steaks 1 to 1 1/4 inches in thickness are satisfactory for class work.

Preparation. Weigh the steak. Make a tracing of the cut surfaces. Measure the thickness. Insert a weighed thermometer, so that the bulb is midway, i.e., 1/2 inch from the top and from the bottom of a steak 1 inch thick. A right-angle thermometer should be used for steaks to be pan-broiled, but either a tube or right angle may be used for broiled steaks. Steaks may be turned at regular intervals or only once. If turned only once, Cline suggests turning the steak when about three-fifths of the expected temperature rise has occurred. If the temperature of the steak is 10° and it is to be cooked to an interior temperature of 60°, the temperature rise will be 50°, and three-fifths of 50 equals 30. Thus the steak will be turned when the inner temperature is about 40°C. To turn, stick a fork into the flank muscle, connective tissue, or firm fat and not into one of the principal muscles.

Keep a record of the interior temperature of the steaks at regular intervals. Note and record the temperature rise after cooking is stopped. Plot on graph paper. Record the time for cooking and minutes seared on each side (if searing is used). Compute the total, the volatile, and drippings losses.

Compare the steaks for exterior appearance, interior color, juiciness, flavor, and tenderness. In preparing samples for testing, be sure the scorer gets the same slice from each steak.

Cook all steaks to an interior temperature of 61°C.

A. Method of cooking.

1. Broiled. Weigh the broiling pan and rack. Place pan so that the top of the steak will be about 4 inches below the flame. A fireless cooker thermometer may be placed at the left front on the first two rods. Heat the broiler pan and rack until the fireless cooker thermometer registers about 175°C. Place steak on rods in the center of the pan with thermometer at the right-hand side and broil until the desired temperature for turning is reached. Turn so that the thermometer is still at the right-hand side. Turn the thermometer so the reading scale is up. Remove when the desired interior temperature is reached. Note temperature rise. When the maximum temperature is reached, weigh the steak and the broiler pan and drippings.

For variation in temperature of broiled steaks, lower or raise the top of the steak farther from or nearer to the flame.

2. Pan broil. Sear on each side in a hot skillet. Turn. Lower heat and cook slowly until the temperature for turning is reached. Turn and cook until the desired interior temperature is reached. Remove and follow directions under (1).

3. Pan broil. Repeat (2) but use a constant temperature for cooking.

B. Varying the interior temperature to which steak is cooked.

1. Use the same method for cooking all steaks. Follow directions under A and cook until the interior temperature reaches rare, 55° to 57°C.

2. Repeat (1) but cook medium well done, 61 °C.

3. Repeat (1) but cook well done, 71 °C.

C. Thickness of the steak.

Cook by the same method and to the interior temperature decided upon by the class. Compare the cooking losses and time of cooking.

1. Use a steak 1/2 inch thick. (Cannot use thermometer.)

2. Repeat (1) but use a 1-inch thick steak.

3. Repeat (1) but use a steak cut 1 1/2 inches thick.


Repeat any of the above experiments using chops of pork, lamb, or veal. Cook pork chops to an interior temperature of 80°C, lamb to 75°C, and veal to 71°C.