The Best Cuts Of Meat For The Culinary Crime Of Well-Done Steak

Cover your ears if you must, but we all know that one person who insists on a well-done steak (Gasp!). We've tried to intervene, but their mind is set on a firm piece of meat. Suspending our judgment momentarily, we at least need to help our friend find the best choice for the worst-cooked steak. And for this, we recommend reaching for cuts with higher fat content, like ribeyes, porterhouses, and well-marbled New York strip steaks, because these hold up the best when cooked at length at high temperatures. 

This is because the internal marbling of these fattier cuts of meat acts like a moisturizer, providing a kind of natural basting while the steak cooks. The fat also contains water, contributing even more moisture to the finished texture of well-done meat. These cuts come from muscles that are not heavily used, so they will remain relatively tender, even when finished at a high temperature. 

How and when to commit the crime of well-done steak

What these cuts of steak have in common is they come from the center part of the back muscle within or along the short loin. Short loin steaks are cut with a nice fatty strip along one edge or throughout the meat (think New York strip and ribeye), and in the case of porterhouse and their cousin T-bone steaks, a center bone. These are all taken roughly from the same section, so no matter which you choose, you'll be getting meat that is suited to be cooked to a well-done temperature.

Just because a steak is destined to be well-done does not mean it should be cooked carelessly or until shriveled. The temperature to aim for is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and not higher — we recommend using a thermometer to ensure that the steak is not overdone. And the reverse-sear technique, while great for all steaks, is particularly suited when cooking one well-done because you can cook it just below 160 degrees, then sear it in a hot pan to finish, yielding a fully done interior from edge to edge, that remains flavorful and not (too) tough.