What is a Blue Steak?

We’ve all heard of rare steaks, but what is a blue steak, and how do you make one and are they safe to eat?

Blue steaks are cooked to a extra rare doneness. You thought an internal temperature of 120 degrees was considered rare? Think again. A blue rare steak measures in at a much lower doneness temperature. These coveted morsels are enjoyed by dedicated meat lovers who enjoy nice buttery textured steaks. But, why exactly are they called blue steaks, and are they safe to eat?

steak doneness guide

Blue Steaks: What is it?

Blue steaks get their name from the actual color of meat once it is cooked. These super rare steaks take on a blue hue once cooked and cut open. It is raw on the inside, and the blue color arises from oxygen depletion taking place within the meat. You’ll notice that the center has a shiny appearance and a smooth texture. This is all part of the blue steak experience.

The secret to a Blue Steak is high temperature searing. While most meat lovers will opt for a medium-rare steak, connoisseurs of the blue steak prefer a super rare steak that has a quick exposure to incredible temperatures for a very short cooking time. Keep in mind that a blue steak should have at least 1-inch thickness so that the center warms but does not cook.

Is it Safe to Eat?

If done right, blue steaks can be safe to eat. However, it is recommended that you take precautions before and during the cooking process. As always, consuming raw or undercooked meat can result in foodborne illness, particularly E. coli. However, scientists have found that E. coli is only present on the outside of the steak, not in the center. That means destroying the bacteria on the surface is the most important step. With that said, there are a few items you will need before cooking a blue steak to avoid the risk of food poisoning. 

Best Steaks To Use:

Your best blue steak options are tender and lean with minimal marbling:

  • Filet Mignon
  • Top Sirloin
  • Flat Iron
  • Round Steak
  • Sirloin Tip Side Steak

Look for steaks that are between 1″-2″ thick.

Steaks to Avoid:

These steaks are all delicious but they contain a lot of intramuscular fat, or they are too tough and chewy to really pull off the blue steak experience. 

  • High-end steaks: Kobe or Wagyu contain a good amount of marbling.
  • Ribeye
  • T-Bone
  • Flat steaks: flank, hanger, sirloin flap steak, skirt steak
  • Porterhouse
blue steak

What You’ll Need to Cook a Blue Steak

  • A 1 to 1 1/2-inch thick filet mignon or sirloin steak: Use only tender, high-quality meats that are lean. Fat will not have time to cook, so we recommend stay clear of marbled steaks like ribeye or tough chewy flat steaks like flank or flat-iron.
  • Cast-iron skillet: These skillets can hold heat like none other. The high heat from the cast-iron skillet will provide an even cooking surface for the blue steak and an intense sear on the surface. Use a large cast-iron skillet if cooking more than one steak.
  • High smoke point oil: Use oils like grapeseed, peanut, canola, or extra-light olive oil. 
  • Seasonings: Stick to basic ingredients like salt and black pepper. We want to build a nice crust and seal the outer edges of the steak. The beef should shine through, so if you do use extra spices, sprinkle it on lightly. Some cooks like to rub the surface of the steak with raw garlic cloves for an added flavor boost. The choice if yours. However, we believe that simplicity is best in this scenario.
  • Tongs: Use metal tongs that are easy to clean. Avoid using silicon-coated tongs for this job. They are harder to clean and bacteria can hide in the coating. We recommend having multiple pairs of ready to use. Metal tongs are relatively inexpensive and offered in 2-packs in most department stores and online.
  • Methods of sanitizing: You’ll need soap, warm water, and a sponge nearby for cleaning the tongs. This is especially important if you are using only one pair during the cooking process. Sanitize the tongs after each turn to eliminate possible cross-contamination. You can also use food-safe sanitizing wipes (do not use Clorox wipes!).
Steak in skillet

How to Cook the Perfect Blue Steak

  • First, remove your steak from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. This will help to warm up the interior of the steak.
  • Blot the surface and sides of the steak to remove excess moisture. Season both sides well with salt and black pepper.
  • Heat the cast-iron pan on your stovetop or grill and add oil. Once it’s hot and starts to smoke, it’s time to put your steak on.
  • Place the steak into the pan and leave it alone. Don’t press on it, leave it alone. Let the steak sizzle for exactly 1 minute.
  • During this time, disinfect your tongs, and dry them properly.
  • Turn the steak and repeat the process for another minute.
  • Sanitize your tongs again.
  • You might notice that the sides of your steak are still raw. This will need to be cooked, and is the final stage of “sealing” the outer portion of your blue steak.
  • Using clean tongs, roll the steak on its side to brown. Gently rotate the steak to complete the process. Remember not to press down on the steak.
  • Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Once it registers 84 degrees F, it’s done. If you gently press on the steak with your index finger, the meat will feel soft and spongey.
  • Let the steak rest in butter for a few minutes, and serve.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • We recommend purchasing good quality beef, like wagyu from a reputable source.  The meat should have a bright red color, indicating its freshness.
  • Avoid fatty meats.
  • Keep in mind that the type of steak you use can have different textural outcomes. Some blue steaks are soft and buttery, while others are dense and chewy.
  • Let the steak sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
  • Have a reliable instant-read thermometer and sanitizing tools at your disposal. These two items are important for keep harmful pathogens at bay.
  • Try this recipe in a hot cast-iron skillet for best results. 
  • Searing the outside of the steak will not guarantee 100% removal of foodborne bacteria. It will to minimize it, but some bacteria might still remain.be present.
  • Rest your blue steak with flavored butter on top for a creamy finish. Let that butter melt in before serving. We recommend topping your steak with blue cheese for added flavor.

What is a Blue Steak?

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