“Steak Snob” Culture is Real

“Steak Snob” Culture is Real

It’s fair to say that we all know what a coffee snob is like. You might be one yourself, or you may simply know the guy—the guy who curls his lip in disgust at the mere sight of your Starbucks cup; the guy who speaks disdainfully of light roasts, or who casually mentions how all the most popular coffee chains tend to burn their coffee.

It’s easy to make fun of this guy, or to write him off as an overly academic or pretentious ass—but here’s what you need to know about the coffee snobs: They’re probably enjoying their coffee a lot more than you are. The fact that they’re more discerning, less receptive to drinking whatever java is placed in front of them, does not mean they’re generally less happy as coffee drinkers. What it means is they’ve invested real passion into coffee, not just as a hot libation but as an extension of their lifestyle. For them, coffee is about knowledge; it’s about luxury; it’s about the finer things.

Not Just Coffee

As you might imagine, coffee connoisseurs are not the only culinary “snobs” in the world—not the only folks to invest food or beverage with lifestyle significance. Though it’s discussed less frequently, “steak snob” culture is a real thing. And again, we use the term “snob” somewhat facetiously; they may seem “picky,” but you can bet that these steak lovers enjoy their beef more than the rest of us do.

The existence of a steak culture may come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t. In some ways, it’s hard to think of a food that seems more appropriate as an object of passion and connoisseurship. Just imagine a big, perfectly grilled piece of beef, still bright red in the center. What better symbol could there be of decadence, of luxury, and yes, of success—a food worthy of learning about, appreciating for all that it is and all that it means. The fact that this was once a living animal only makes it that much more important—more urgent—to appreciate it fully.

Steak Culture at a Glance

What exactly do these high-level steak lovers care about? Consider some of the following signifiers:

USDA Classifications. Do you know the difference between choice and prime cuts? Do terms like “cutter” and “commercial” provoke your gag reflex? If so, then you may well be halfway toward steak snobbery!

Cuts. There are plenty different cuts of beef, though, for the true steak lover, there are only two or three that are even worth acknowledging—rib cuts and loin cuts, mostly.

Grill. Even if you’re not a steak snob per se, you probably have a preference about whether you like your steak, say, medium well or medium rare. The consensus among steak snobs is that rare is the way to eat a good steak, though there are certainly some who disagree with this thinking.

As with coffee culture, steak culture is about more than just technicalities. Knowledge is important, but not an end unto itself: You learn about steak so that you can recognize and appreciate the good stuff, with full awareness of what makes it special, what makes it luxurious, what makes it a sign and symbol of real culture, excellence, and prestige.

Steak isn’t just something you eat. It’s a reflection of your lifestyle. It’s an extension of your lifestyle. Your taste in steak says something about who you are and what you care about—so choose your next steak carefully.


Matt MacQuarrie
Matt MacQuarrie


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