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What is Black and Blue Steak?

Black and blue steak has become an international favorite and a true treat for those who like their steak rare, and I mean rare.

Black and blue steak refers to the way a steak is cooked, not to a particular kind of steak. A true black and blue steak is seared on the outside and rare on the inside, usually with a cool red middle. It is considered to be one of the rarest of steaks without being completely raw or steak tartare. People typically enjoy this steak not for its taste, but for its contrast in texture between the crispy outside and the soft middle.

Black and blue steak is also commonly called Pittsburgh rare.

It is rumored that it earned this name from Pittsburgh steelworkers who would bring raw pieces of meat every day for lunch. To cook them they would slap them against the side of a furnace. This resulted in a charred outside with a slightly raw middle.

Today many restaurants and recipes have taken the name of this dish to an even bigger play on words by topping it with bleu cheese. When referring a steak that is simply cooked “Pittsburgh rare” it’s called black and blue steak, spelled B-L-U-E. When topping it with a flavorful gorgonzola or bleu cheese, they change the name of the spelling to mimic the cheese; black and bleu steak, spelled B-L-E-U. To accommodate those whole like the unique flavor of the cheese added to their steak but prefer a more cooked meat, many restaurants are willing to cook the steaks to a desired doneness.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try grilling your own black and blue steak, here are 6 simple tips that should help guide you in the right direction.

  1. Try and buy the thickest cut of your favorite kind of steak. Fillet’s and sirloins are typically the best, but rump steak will do just fine.

  2. Leave it out of the fridge for at least an hour before cooking. You want the steak to be just about room temperature before throwing it on the grill. Just be sure not to leave it out too long or it will become a health hazard.

  3. Season the steak to taste. Black and blue steak’s are most popularly served with a cracked pepper seasoning, but adding a little of your favorite herbs and spices will also taste just as good.

  4. Make sure you lightly brush your steak with oil before putting it on the grill. This will help keep the steak from sticking to the grill grate.

  5. PREHEAT YOUR GRILL TO HOT/HIGH. Make sure it is completely preheated before adding your steaks. The steaks exposure to a sudden high temperature is what will create a charred outside and a slightly cooked inside so that it’s not completely raw. High temperatures are an essential element to cooking black and blue steak.

  6. Cook your steaks on hot for 1 – ½ minutes on each side. Do not cut into them while cooking. You’ll know the steaks are done when the outside is completely charred.