Chicago Steaks

Steaks are generally a cut of beef sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers. (Fish steak won’t be referred to here, but are known to exist as well, and generally are not to the taste of meat lovers). Steaks are usually grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. The Chicago steaks that most people want are the grilled steaks, and this is what leads the menu for our top ranked, distinctive restaurants covered in the Chicago Best Steak Guide.

Tasty servings can also be made by cooking steaks in sauce, such as steak and kidney pie, or by forming “minced” into a...

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Chicago Steaks

Steaks are generally a cut of beef sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers. (Fish steak won’t be referred to here, but are known to exist as well, and generally are not to the taste of meat lovers). Steaks are usually grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. The Chicago steaks that most people want are the grilled steaks, and this is what leads the menu for our top ranked, distinctive restaurants covered in the Chicago Best Steak Guide.

Tasty servings can also be made by cooking steaks in sauce, such as steak and kidney pie, or by forming “minced” into a recognizable steak shape, such as Salisbury steak and hamburger steak. Without qualification, the word "steak" in this article refers to beef steak. (Steaks from other animals are not covered, i.e., “swordfish steak” or “venison steak”.

There are generally five types of recognized:

  1. Beefsteak
  2. The more tender cuts of beef, from the loin and rib, are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole. It is these cuts that are served at Chicago steak houses and end up being charactized as “Chicago steaks”. (Less tender cuts from the chuck or round are cooked with moist heat or are mechanically tenderized, e.g. cube steak). Although the trend for most meats is to cook longer these days, Chicago steaks can be served with an degree of cooking: rare, medium rare (with some red showing), medium (with just a touch or red), medium well (no red, but not crisped), or well done (charbroiled on the outside). What’s nice about Chicago steaks is that, unlike most other meats, can be served practically raw without undue health risks since the inside of the meat don’t usually contain food-borne human illnesses (“mad cow” disease aside, which is due to poor handling and sickly cattle), although the meat surface can be contaminated by bad handling. Thus, very rare steak is generally considered safe. Obviously the Chicago steakhouses we recommend know how to handle and prepare your steak so there is zero risk.

  3. Rib Steak
  4. A rib steak is a steak that is sliced from the primary rib of a cow; and, it has the actual rib bone still attached. In the US, the term “rib eye steak” is also used for a steak where the rib bone has been removed; so, many times you may be served a “rib eye steak” where the rib has been removed. (The portion of the cow’s muscle called "ribeye" is intended to imply that it has been drawn from the center, i.e., best, section of the cow.

  5. Sirloin Steak
  6. The sirloin steak is a section of the cow close to the rear end of the cow. The closer to the rear, the more tender the steak is likely to be, like a rump steak. Then, there is a division in the “sirloin” class between the upper and lower portion of the sirloin with the upper portion generally being more tender and therefore more sought after, and expensive. The “sirloin” category is probably the largest percentage that most steak lovers associate with “Chicago steaks” and the most widely served at Chicago steak houses. Generally, sides of french fries and perhaps broccoli, carrots, or peas. Sirloins are usually grilled or fried.

  7. Skirt Steak
  8. A skirt steak is a part of the lower plate near the cow's abdomen and is long, thick, and tender, although not in a class with other types if steaks. Instead, skirt steak is valued, and priced, for its flavor. Skirt steaks are near the sirloin and shank, not near the cow’s outsides where flank steaks originate. Skirt steaks are often an integral part of meals outside the US, and now generally available in the US, e.g., fajitas that we all know and love. Elsewhere, it has many different uses: in the UK, as a filling for Cornish pasties; in China and Chinese food, as stir-fries; in Spanish cuisine, for churrasco; and, in Italian cuisine for making Bolognese sauce.

  9. T-bone Steak and Porterhouse Steak
  10. A T-bone steak and Porterhouse steak comes from the short loin which is in the cow's lower back area. Generally, these steaks are cut so that a tenderloin from closer to the front of the cow is included and attached. You will get a larger tenderloin section in a Porterhouse steak than you will with a T-bone. The T-bone steak, when well-aged, which all of our Chicago steak houses do, will retain its tenderness, even if you want it well done.

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