Summer is a time for steak and while it's usually also a time for grilling, not every steak needs the royal charcoal treatment. Sometimes, a good steak can come from a stovetop or from the oven and exude just as much summer flavor as one that's been heating up over hot coals. To add some variety to everyone's grill game this summer, it's time to take a trip around the world via the most popular steak dishes. Each country has its own way of serving up everyone's favorite cut of beef, and there's certainly no wrong way of doing so.
From the fancy, luxe dishes of France to the simple, heat-fueled methods used to cook beef in Japan, there's nothing anyone couldn't love about these dishes. Each one brings to the table its own cultural flair backed by flavors that speak to the country from which it's from, making these additions to your summertime table all the more exciting.
Steak au Poivre
France is where culinary arts and pastry arts first got their start, so it's no surprise that one of the best steak dishes in the world is also found there. Steak au poivre makes excellent use of fresh peppercorns which are used to coat a tender cut of steak, usually a beef tenderloin. The peppercorns are crushed first in order to allow their natural aroma and spice to break through before the steak is coated with them.
The steak is then pan-fried and a sauce is made in that same pan, making use of all the pan drippings to create a creamy, luxurious peppercorn sauce that echoes the same spice and heat that coats the steak. Supposedly, the steak dish was once considered an aphrodisiac in the 19th century, and while we can't speak to that, we can speak to the fact that it's utterly, sinfully delicious.
Milanesa doesn't typically resemble what one would consider being a classic steak dish which is exactly why it should be on the menu this summer. Rather than being grilled or even pan-fried, this steak cutlet, which is pounded out similar to a schnitzel, is breaded and then fried in oil. It's Argentina's unofficial dish and also one of the most beloved beef dishes in the country, and is said to have influences that go back to Milan, Italy.
Prime beef is used for this dish, and it's breaded with a simple breadcrumb that doesn't add too much texture but, when fried, forms a crunchy coating. The dish is then served quite simply with fresh herbs and often a side of french fries.
When it comes to the king of all steak dishes, Châteaubriand definitely takes the title as being royal among recipes. This dish is made with beef tenderloin and only beef tenderloin, as the method can't be used on any other cut of beef. This, alone, makes it a pricier dish, but making it at home is far cheaper than what one will likely spend to have it in a traditional French restaurant.
The dish gets its name from Francois René Vicomte de Chateaubriand, for whom it was prepared in 1822 by a chef named Montmireil. The name also refers to the manner in which the steak is roasted, which usually begins in a pan to procure a nice sear before being finished in the oven. A traditional red wine or Béarnaise sauce is poured over the top, making for an absolutely decadent main course. If you're looking for something to impress the in-laws (or your partner) then this is the dish.
In stark contrast, gyūdon is traditionally known as one of the most inexpensive beef dishes in Japan and it's also one of the most delicious. When translated, gyūdon means 'beef bowl' which refers to pan-seared beef that's served with grilled onions over a bowl of rice. The onions and beef are cooked together in a mixture of mirin, sake, sugar, and soy, which gives it the perfect balance of sweetness and yummy umami flavor.
This dish is popular among those who stop in for a quick lunch or dinner and aren't looking to spend much, but still want something wholesome and satisfying. Traditionally, the dish is seasoned by the diner at the table once they've been served.
Kalbi is a type of beef short rib that's served commonly in South Korea. The ribs are first marinated with sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and garlic, before being grilled to perfection. The resulting flavor is a beef rib that's tender, rich, and bursting with a sticky, sweet, and tangy flavor.
The dish dates back to the 18th century when killing cows was not permitted anywhere in Korea. However, the need arose to feed workers who were building Hwa Castle, thus, the first slaughterhouse was opened and this was the dish that came from it.