When restaurants are preparing steak in-house, they have special ways of cutting it and using the pieces to not only make steak, but also to make other foods. Restaurants do their best to try and use every edible part of the beef that they can. They will save the fats and other pieces after cutting the beef into steak.
There is a special knife that is used for cutting the beef into steak. It is a slicing and carving knife. These knives are the ones that are regularly sharpened using a good sharpener when they become dull. A chef’s knife can be used, but many butchers and professionals use a carving knife instead.
The cow’s hind leg is the part where steak comes from. Restaurants that do decide to purchase these portions of the cow to make steak, will take this large piece of meat and set it on a cutting board and slice it. The majority of it is cut into many pieces of steak around the same weight.
The first thing that restaurants do when working with raw meat, is cut it and prepare it separately from the other foods to prevent cross contamination. Other foods that are prepared need to be kept separate from contact with raw meat and the surfaces they touch. Usually a restaurant will prep the meat last, and after all the other prep is done. Another thing they do is just simply make a station where only meat is prepped.
After everything is set up, and all the proper equipment is worn, the large piece of beef is set on the cutting board and trimmed first. The beef will contain a large layer of fat that will be spread over the surface of the meat. It has to be trimmed off and set into a tray for later usage.
The majority of the outer layer of fat is trimmed off of the meat instead of cutting the whole thing together into pieces for a steak. The steak is well trimmed by restaurants, but not so much as to completely remove all of the fats, as that is where the flavor of the meat is. These portions of fat are left on the meat after it is trimmed on every side, top and bottom.
After the large piece of beef is trimmed, then it is layed down flat and cut into steak pieces. These pieces are cut vertically and thin. Right after the first piece is cut, it is weighed on a scale. Usually restaurants will always start off with one cut, then they weigh it afterwards to try and get the exact same weight on the following pieces.
This is called portioning. It ensures that their customers are getting what they are paying instead of relying on an estimated cut that may look the same weight, even though it is not. This also helps restaurants to give a more accurate depiction of how many calories there might be in each steak when it is displayed on their menu.
Restaurants will cut their first piece about an inch in thickness, but this can vary depending on the restaurant when they are serving their steaks. Some restaurants cut thicker pieces that are more expensive, while others might do thinner pieces that are more suited for an entire meal with many sides and dishes.
After the first piece is cut correctly and has the desired weight, it is placed back in the spot of where the slice was made right in the large hunk of beef that was already trimmed. Doing this makes it easier for restaurants to accurately measure how much they need to cut from the hind for their next steak piece that they will slice off. All they will need to do is cut off another piece from the hind at the same thickness, and weigh it on the scale.
When they weigh new pieces, if their weight exceeds the desired weight for the portioning, then some of the excess for that piece of steak is cut off and used to be grounded to make beef patties for burgers. It may also be used in pastas, hamburger helper dishes, soups, and other side dishes. As much as can be saved is kept and used for the restaurant in creation of their other meals.
Once the second piece of steak is sliced and weighed, it is set back in the place where it was sliced from, and this same pattern is continued until all of the pieces of steak have been sliced from the large piece of hind beef.
After all the steak has been all sliced out, they are either frozen or refrigerated if they aren’t going to be used for that day. Once the steak is cold enough, the steak can be seared on a grill like a charbroiler and cooked at extremely high temperatures to make medium rare steaks. Because the steak is cooking so fast, the inner portion of the cold steak doesn’t cook as fast as the outside, making rare or medium rare steak.
How do restaurants make steak taste so good?
Restaurants do this with thicker pieces, resulting in the steak finishing its cooking process with a tender and juicy texture. Before the steak is cooked on the grill, restaurants will season on salt with pepper, and cover one side of their steaks with butter before cooking one side on the grill. The other side is flipped after it is covered with butter and cooked as well.
The steak is covered with butter first on the side that will cook first, then a salt and pepper mix is well seasoned unto both sides of the steak before it is placed on a hot grill. The steaks are allowed to cook for their time on the first side without tampering with them. This is done to enhance the flavor of the steaks, as moving them too early can cause them to lose their tender and juicy texture.
The steak is then given a quarter rotation after they have begun to turn grey from cooking, then they are allowed to finish on the first side before they are flipped over. After the steak is flipped it is coated with more butter while the other side is cooking. Restaurants like to use a lot of butter on their steaks to make their steaks taste really good, and make them really tender.
Restaurants cook their thicker steaks on the hotter side of the grill, while thinner pieces are cooked slower on a less hot portion of the grill.