Do you enjoy steak? If the answer is yes, then you probably have a favorite cut and style. Are you a filet mignon type of person, or do you prefer a monstrous porterhouse? Do you like your steak on the rare side or the well-done side of the spectrum?
It’s good that you know what you like, but there are a lot of ways to make a steak delicious, and it’s never a bad idea to explore some new flavors and styles. If you’ve never really understood the passionate love people have for a juicy T-bone, then maybe it will help to learn more about what bones do when a steak is cooked.
A lot of people think that bone-in steaks taste better. When you find a true advocate for bone-in steak, that person will harp on the taste and refuse to entertain any argument to the contrary.
To avoid a lot of food science, we can suffice it to say that the bone can affect flavor but not in the ways a lot of people think. Mostly, the bone helps to protect some of the fatty and connective tissues during cooking. This allows the region next to the bone to have more released natural flavors, and this is the part that bone-in lovers enjoy so much.
So, next to the bone, it can lead to more marbling flavor. Keep in mind, though, that this depends a lot more on the individual steak and is not a hard and fast rule. If you love boneless steak, you aren’t betraying your tastebuds. Boneless steak can be just as delicious because it has its own pros and cons.
The biggest thing the bone does when you grill or sear a steak is absorb heat. Bones are really strong, and they can absorb a lot of heat without charring or being damaged in any significant way. This creates insulation around the steak where it is attached to the bone. That also tends to be the part of the steak with a lot of fatty and connective tissues. The bone causes these tissues to cook at a different rate from the protein that makes up most of the steak.
The insulation from the bone causes the region to cook more slowly. That leads to a softer texture that many people enjoy. You get the most from this with a steak that is cooked to medium or hotter. While a boneless steak can get rough when it is well done, a bone-in steak will achieve a great texture.
The insulation from the bone ultimately causes the entire steak to cook more slowly. Slow cooking is popular for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is that you get the meat to the right temperature without charring it or boiling off too much of the internal juices. Bone-in steaks are typically juicer than boneless steaks, especially around the bone.
Boneless steaks can still be plenty juicy, but this is one of the reasons to try the bone-in goodness.
The bone doesn’t just insulate against heat. It can also prevent microbial growth and rot during the aging process. For this reason, bone-in steaks are easier to age, and aged steak provides an entirely different culinary experience. Aged steak can get much more tender, and the flavors tend to deepen during the process. That’s why aged steak is so loved, and the bone helps the steak to get to that point.
A bone-in steak looks different on the plate from a boneless steak. This is all about visual appeal, and bone-in steaks tend to resonate better with a big appetite. When you want a big, meaty steak, you probably envision the bone. That’s part of the reason why a lot of restaurants and chefs keep the bone on the plate.
Bone-in steaks are delicious, and people who love them do so with good reason. That doesn’t mean they are the “right” way to cook a steak. Everyone has their preferences, and whether you prefer the bone or not, what really matters is that you get to enjoy a delicious meal.
For that, you can count on Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Any time you are hankering for a steak, come and see us. We’ll cook an amazing steak the way you like it, and bones or not, you’ll be glad you satisfied that craving.