WARNING: Diablo Will Ruin You for Other Steak

We’ve said before that taste is relative—that if you’ve only ever eaten one steak in your life, and it’s the crappy, fatty slab of beef served up for $8 at a local diner, then that is by default the best steak you’ve ever had, and the standard by which you’ll judge other steaks. If you’ve had a Diablo, meanwhile, then that is surely the greatest steak you’ve ever eaten—so good, in fact, that it can effectively ruin you for all other steak.

So you can take this as a warning. You may really enjoy the steak you get from your local chain restaurant, or from your grocery store. You may think that beef is pretty special. After you try a Diablo, though, those other steaks will lose their luster. They’ll lose their specialness. They may not even seem particularly good any longer, and they certainly won’t seem great.

To illustrate the point, here’s a true story from the earliest days of Fuego Diablo.

Our founder, Matt, was zealous to ensure that when he promised customers the greatest steak experience of their lives, he wasn’t just blowing smoke. So he was testing out all kinds of beef, from different producers. He asked his spouse, Lynne, to participate in a kind of blind taste test, and he assembled before her a few different samples of beef: A few options from local grocery stories and butcher shops—the very best things he could find—and then a piece of what would eventually become the Diablo.

Lynne tried them all; a carnivore but maybe not a carnoisseur, she brought no particular steak expertise to the exercise, yet she identified the proto-Diablo as the hands-down winner on the table.

What’s really interesting, though, is her response to one of the other pieces of beef on the table. She pointed to one steak, after taking a bite of each, and asked what they could do with it? “I guess we should just give this one to the dog,” she said, clearly not impressed with this cut.

The cut in question, though, had long, consistently been the steak of choice in her family—the one they always bought and grilled together, and until that point had thought was pretty good. Truth be told, it was and still is an okay piece of meat—but it just didn’t seem all that special following a bite of Diablo. In fact, it didn’t even seem all that good.

Matthew MacQuarrie
Matthew MacQuarrie


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