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An Easy Guide to Grilling Authentic Chicago-Style Steak

There are plenty of legends about how the Chicago-style steak was invented, but this post will explain what goes into making a perfect Chicago-style steak, and how you can recreate this classic American dish at home.


If any city can say it is the beef capital of the USA, Chicago can surely make that claim. The city rose to prominence in the 19th century when the Union Stockyards became the centre of American meatpacking, and over the course of its century-long history it changed the way Americans thought about the meat on their plates.  


So it’s no surprise that beef has become an essential part of Chicago’s culinary scene. With so much meat around, locals naturally started to experiment with different recipes and cuts. For example, the famous Italian beef sandwich was created by Italian stockyard workers who brought cheap, tough cuts home from work, slow roasted them, and seasoned them with Italian spices.


But the prime example of a Chicago beef culture is surely the Chicago-style steak. There are plenty of legends about how the Chicago-style steak was invented, but this post will explain what goes into making a perfect Chicago-style steak, and how you can recreate this classic American dish at home.


What is a Chicago-Style Steak?   

The Chicago-style steak goes by a number of different names, so depending on what region you are from, you may know it as Pittsburgh Rare or Black and Blue. But what they all have in common is a charred outer crust and an extremely rare inside. 


Unlike other steak recipes, which call for a specific cut, any steak can be cooked in the Chicago style. But most chefs agree that lean steaks like strip or T-bone are best, which is why grass fed steaks like this 14oz grass fed strip steak are ideal for cooking using this method.


Back in the mid-19th century, when the Union Stockyards first opened, almost all of the beef being processed would have come from cows raised on ranges and pastureland and would have eaten an all-grass diet. But if you want grass fed beef in Chicago these days, ordering through truLOCAL’s online meat delivery service is the best way to stock up on grass fed steaks.


Grilling Chicago-Style


According to one legend, Chicago-style grilling first came about because workers only had a short amount of time for lunch. They brought raw steaks to work, and threw them on the sides of blast furnaces and other industrial equipment to quickly sterilize the exterior so they could be eaten.


These days, though, grilling a Chicago-style steak starts with ordering the right meat. While lean steak is best for this recipe, tender cuts also work, so feel free to get that tenderloin filet shipped right to your door if you want to put your own spin on Chicago-style rare.


Alternatively, order a whole box of steaks and try it with different cuts to see which you like best (you can get started on your order here).

·      Start by coating both sides of the steak in melted butter, and sprinkling with salt and pepper

·      Heat a cast iron skillet up so that it is scorching hot

·      Put the steak in the pan with a pair of tongs

·      Cook three minutes per side, until the outer surface is charred black and the internal temperature is 165° F

·      Let sit for ten minutes, and serve with potatoes and salad.


Chicago-style rare steak is one of the great American beef dishes, beloved in Chicago steak houses new and old, and in homes across the country.


For the best Chicago-style steak, order lots of lean grass-fed beef from truLOCAL, and start grilling today!


Posted on September 24th, 2020