Why Steak And Blue Cheese Make A Heavenly Pairing

While ground beef is often paired with a variety of cheese — from cheddar and swiss burgers to meatballs slathered in mozzarella and parmesan — it may be less common to see steaks covered in cheese. This may be because steaks are generally considered higher-quality meat and have enough flavor to stand on their own. However, there is one cheese that experts agree is the absolute perfect pairing for a rich piece of beef: blue cheese.

As Proudly Wisconsin Cheese notes, "When properly done, pairing meat and cheese enhances the flavor, mouthfeel, and experience of each component." But why blue cheese in particular? What is it about this semi-soft, colorful, and moldy cheese that works particularly well with the rich umami flavors of the steak? Tasting Table spoke with Shawn Hill, expert Pitmaster and founder of The Grilling Dad, to find out why this particular combo just works so well.

The pungent flavor of blue cheese balances out the richness of a steak

Hill, whose blog is aimed at helping families and homecooks master the art of grilling, told Tasting Table it's because "blue cheese is like the cool, edgy friend that always hangs out with the popular kid (aka steak)." He further explains, "The pungent flavor of blue cheese balances out the rich, beefy flavor of steak, making for a match made in culinary heaven." Hill believes it's all about the texture, too, since it creates "a nice contrast to the tender, juicy steak." They're polar opposites as far as flavors go, but they work. He states, "It's like the yin to the steak's yang."

There are many varieties of blue cheese available to use as crusts or sauces on your steaks, including English-made Stilton, French Roquefort, and Italian Gorgonzola, all of which have their own unique textures and flavor profiles. However, if you struggle to get past the appearance of the blue mold, you can easily substitute it for camembert or feta, which have similar soft textures and earthy, nutty flavors.