To the 12% of Americans Ordering Steaks Well Done: Please Stop

This is tough love. Very tough love.

By Michael Nolledo

To the 12% of Americans Ordering Steaks Well Done: Please Stop
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06 July 2017

In America, it matters how you order a steak.

Just look at highest office in our chain of command. Donald Trump’s weakness for a well-done steak — “it would rock on a plate” — has been a much documented quirk, so much that Eater penned a lengthy thinkpiece surmising what meat-consumption preferences say about a person. They weren’t the only ones (see: here, here and here). And that’s before you get to the ketchup.

Hemming and hawing aside, it turns out President Trump is not a man on an island.

The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight have released a new analysis on how Americans eat steak (an update to a report from 2014), and the results show that while majority of us prefer steak cooked up in the medium-rare to medium-well range, there are more than a few out there who like it tough.

The hard data shows that 11.7 percent of you order steaks well done:


The data is from Longhorn Steakhouse, which, for better or worse, is actually the perfect cross-section of America. The steakhouse shared a year’s worth of steak orders from all of its 491 U.S. locations. Generally, what we get is info we already know: Quality always wins and steak doneness matters on the cut of meat. That is to say, something like a rib-eye is most tender on the medium-rare side, while thicker cuts like a T-bone are perfectly fine done up medium-well.

But to the 11.7 percent of Longhorn patrons taking it a step further: please stop gnawing on burnt, tasteless steaks. What best distinguishes our species is an ability to make the correct choices given the information in front of you. In this case, it’s never, ever ordering a steak well-done.

It’s not taste. It’s not preference. It’s science.

When you take a piece of meat past the 125-degree mark (medium-rare) you begin to lose moisture and fat — aka flavor. And when you lose flavor, what the hell’s the point?

The best advice for well-doners? Just order a burger. Extra ketchup.

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