The Ingredient Steakhouses Use A Lot More Of Than You Might Think

If you love a good steak — whether your cut of choice is a ribeye, a New York strip, a filet mignon, or a T-bone — you might be the kind of person to sit down in a steakhouse, tuck a napkin into your shirt collar, and go to town on some rich beef. Although beef consumption in the United States has declined over time — falling from 97 pounds per person per year in 1999 to 83 pounds in 2020 (via University of Illinois) — that venerable American institution, the steakhouse, remains a popular choice for diners (via FSR Magazine).

Steakhouses are often bastions of tradition, with some of the most well known — such as New York's Peter Luger and Indianapolis's St. Elmo's — having been established way back in 1887 and 1902, respectively (via FSR Magazine). And alongside spinach and potatoes, there's another ingredient steakhouses across the country fly through with abandon: butter.

Butter makes it better

If you've ever felt particularly stuffed after a steakhouse meal, that might be because you consumed large amounts of butter. 

As reported by Taste of Home, steakhouses use lots and lots of the rich dairy, serving it atop finished steaks as a way to add even more flavor and juiciness. Often, that butter takes the form of compound butter, softened butter that's mixed with flavorings such as minced garlic and fresh herbs, then chilled, sliced, and served on top of a steak. And even for those cuts of meat that don't come with compound butter, the ingredient is often used in the form of clarified butter, whose high smoke point makes it an excellent choice for searing meat (via Deo Veritas).

Ladling a little clarified butter over a steak before it heads out to the dining room also adds an attractive sheen, according to Taste of Home. So the next time you're slicing into your New York strip, remember that butter made it better.