Blue Steak: Is it Safe and Enjoyable to Eat?

Red meat is a good source of protein. But like everything else in life, a plate of steak shouldn’t be a daily diet. Although it has zinc, B12, and iron — all essential nutrients — eating too much of it increase your risk for coronary heart disease and colorectal cancer. So it’s safer, probably even more enjoyable, to include it in your menu once in a while instead of all the time.

A good piece of steak is especially satisfying when the meat is cooked just right. And what is “just right”? The level of steak doneness is up to the diner’s preference. Some like it medium rare whereas others prefer well done. One other level you may have heard of is blue steak.

What is Blue Steak?

Steak on a plate
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Blue steak is classified as rare. But not just rare — extra rare. Whereas a rare steak’s internal temperature must be 125F to 130F, a blue rare steak must be at 115F to 120F. Internal temperature isn’t the only factor that’ll tell you you’re cooking or eating blue steak.

Unlike a rare steak with a 75 percent redness, blue rare meat is completely red on the inside. So if you hear a diner say they want their steak done “bloody as hell,” they’re likely referring to blue steak. This level of doneness is also cold and soft in the middle whereas a rare piece of meat is a little cool.

Since it’s “bloody as hell,” does that mean blue rare goes from the fridge to the plate?

Blue rare steak is different from raw steak. Raw steak is just that: raw. Whereas blue steak still spends some time on the grill or the pan. The meat is seared on both sides with a minute each of cooking time at 450 °F. The edges also must be seared using a tong.

So blue steak isn’t like France’s steak tartare or Japan’s sushi.

Is Blue Steak Safe to Eat?

woman in black
Photo by Vitaliy Zalishchyker on Unsplash

Although blue rare is still cooked, albeit as quickly as possible, you may still wonder if it’s safe to eat. According to a University of Nottingham study, rare steak is safe to consume. Scientists took steak samples containing E.coli and cooked them rare.

The rare steaks did contain some bacteria still, but they found that the remaining E.coli were due to the cooking utensils. When they sterilized the tongs for turning the blue steaks, the bacteria were gone.

Some people use the “poke test” to see if the meat is cooked according to their desired steak levels. But this test is only advisable for seasoned, professional cooks who have the experience to get an accurate doneness level.

Otherwise, use a thermometer to tell if you’ve cooked your meat to blue rare doneness. If you’re worried about letting the juices drip out by sticking a thermometer in the meat, don’t. The sheath-like containers in a steak are not easily punctured, so your steak will still retain some of its juices. Some moisture loss may occur, but it will not be enough to diminish the flavor of a “bloody as hell” steak.

What does blue steak taste like?

The sear on the outside should be familiar. But once you chew into the middle, the meat will be fresh, and “beefy.” So it’s crucial to get a good piece of meat if you’re taste veers toward the nearly raw.

How Do You Cook Blue Steak?

A raw meat on a griller
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A minute of searing on each side and the edges sounds like an easy thing to do. So cooking blue rare seems like a no-fail undertaking in the kitchen. Much like every simple meal to make, it takes some preparation to make sure you’ll end up with a perfect plate of dish.

How do you cook blue rare?

First, get the right cut of meat. Not every cut is advisable for to cook blue rare. Different cuts are better for different steak levels.

For blue steak, you’ll want:

  • Fillet mignon
  • Sirloin tip
  • Flat iron
  • Round steak
  • Top sirloin

What you’re looking for is a meat cut with little marbling and fat. Because a blue rare steak spends less time on the grill than a rare, medium or medium well, the cut of meat must have minimal fat, which take longer to render. Ask your butcher for a 1 inch to 1.5 inch cut for your steak. Any thicker and you’ll have an unpleasant blue steak with fat that hasn’t rendered.

So if you prefer wagyu beef or porterhouse, blue rare may not be the best cook on your steak.

Before cooking your steak:

  • Make sure it’s not wet by blotting it
  • Season generously with salt and pepper, and rub it into the surface
  • Use stainless steel or cast iron to sear if you’re not cooking on the grill; cast iron is best for searing
  • Try peanut oil, canola oil or extra light virgin olive oil because these oils are suited for high temperature
  • Flip every 30 seconds to get a consistent cook and never leave it alone

If your preference is for well-done steak, the internal temperature must be 160 Farenheit. For steak levels in the medium well to done, you’ll want to finish your steak in the oven. It’s a good way to get a good cook on the meat without overcooking it.

If you want your cut of meat with a nice char on the outside and the flavor of butter, try the black and blue steak. The black and blue doneness is also called the Pittsburgh steak. It’s another way to enjoy the blue rare cook because a black and blue is still rare in the inside.

Popularized in France and referred to by the shade in which it is served, e.i., blue and purplish, the blue steak may not be the most asked doneness in restaurants. But if you are something of a foodie in the making, it’s worth venturing into the rare levels of steak.

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