I love steak, but have you ever wondered where they got all the different cuts and do they date back to early humans?

In the beginning, there were no Piggly Wiggly stores to shop, so early humans ate small game, squirrels, rabbits, and birds. Then came goats, sheep, and larger animals. Cattle didn’t come until later.

People have enjoyed steak for centuries, dating back to ancient Rome. Many historians believe that the idea of ​​modern steak cooking developed in Florence, Italy during the 15th century because it was a center of celebration, culture, trade, and meat cooking.
The Italian word for cooking meat was bistecca, which the English shortened to steik or steak. If you visit Florence today, yes, you will enjoy pasta and various wonderful Italian dishes, one of which is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, which is a 20- to 40-day-aged Angus porterhouse steak, cut 3 to 4 inches thick and cooked rare.

Steaks have become popular all over the world. Its beginnings in America began during the 19th century with the opening of the first American steakhouse in New York City in 1887. Steaks are very popular in the United States, making them one of the largest livestock producers in the world.

It was usually enjoyed by the wealthy, but by the 19th century it had become affordable for many people. Butchers will find different cuts and offer them to the growing market of steak eaters. Here are some of the different pieces and types:

1. Wagyu Beef: Comes from a specific breed of Japanese cattle that has a unique genetic predisposition to produce fatty marbling within muscle tissue, resulting in exceptionally rich and flavorful beef. It is more expensive than most other types of beef.

2. Filet Mignon: A cut of tenderloin, this is one of the most tender cuts of steak available. It has a mild flavour, but can be very expensive.
3. Rib: This cut comes from the rib of a cow and is known for its marbling that gives it a rich flavor and tender texture. This is my favorite cut of steak.

4. New York Strip: Also known as flank steak, this cut comes from the short loin and has a strong, meaty flavour. They are often smaller in size than other pieces but still have good marbling.

4. Sirloin: Cut from the back of the cow, this smaller cut can be a bit tough if not cooked properly. It has a bold, thick flavor and is often used in stir-fried dishes.

5. T-Bone: A T-shaped bone separates this cut into two parts on either side – the tenderloin and the steak. They are a versatile cut with a good balance of tenderness and flavor.

6. Sirloin steak: This long, flat cut comes from a cow’s abdominal muscles and has a strong beef flavor. It can be tough if cooked improperly, but is great for seasoning.

I like to cook steaks in a cast iron skillet with butter and a little olive oil. I take yellow mustard and gently coat the steak on each side. I heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, and when it’s hot, I place the steak in the pan. The steak should be a thick cut about 1 and 1/2 inches long. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until a crust forms, then flip the steak and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Then let it rest for 4 minutes before serving.

Costa Magolas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa.magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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