Steak comes from cows. Milk comes from cows. It was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine the two, and came up with the milk steak! This dish is perhaps best known as the favorite food of Charlie Kelly, a fictional character from the TV sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Kelly’s choice of garnish for milk steak is jellybeans.
The show’s runaway success had led many fans to try and make their own variations of Charlie Kelly’s favorite meal. Many have tried their hand at boiling a steak in milk, served with a side of raw jellybeans. Generally speaking, most people don’t get much joy from boiled steak, so we’ve made some alterations. You can try this fan favorite meal in a much more palatable way! Read on to find out.
Steak: You’ll need a steak. Boneless ribeye or sirloin are great for this recipe. Softer, more buttery cuts of steak work particularly well when you’re making milk steak, although your choice of cut is entirely up to you. You’ll need a longer cooking time with thicker steaks.
Milk:The other half of the milk steak equation, milk, is equally important. A fattier milk will thicken during boiling, so try 2%. If you don’t eat dairy, you can always try using a milk alternative, although many of these will bring their own flavor to proceedings.
Sat and pepper: As always, you ought to season your steak before cooking it. Salt and pepper will add to and complement your steak’s natural flavor without overwhelming it. Rub salt and pepper into the surface of your raw steak to enhance the inherent taste of your milk steak.
Garlic. One of the most widely used flavors in the world! Garlic is a great addition to any steak, as its flavor will penetrate the steak during the boiling process. Either mince your own garlic or use the pre-minced variety from a jar or a tube.
Rosemary will give a hint of the Mediterranean to your milk steak recipe. Its earthiness and sweet, oily flavor will take your milk steak from good to great.
Tips for the Best Milk Steak
- Allow your steak to reach room temperature before cooking. This helps it to cook evenly and distribute all the delicious, flavorful steak juices within the meat. Let your steak sit on a salted plate until it reaches room temperature, then cook it.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your meat has reached room temperature before cooking, and after cooking to make sure it’s cooked properly. Use an instant read thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the steak to get an accurate reading. This will ensure that you serve up a perfectly cooked steak every time.
- Adjust your cooking time according to the thickness of your steak. Bigger steaks will take longer to cook, as will steaks with the bone in. Add three minutes per side if you’re using a bone-in cut of steak.
Steak Doneness and Temperature
Charlie Kelly claims to eat his milk steak “boiled over hard”. As a general rule, most people who are not Charlie Kelly do not like hard steak. Depending on how well-cooked you like your steak, you will be looking for a different internal temperature.
As a general rule, don’t go any lower than 135 F, which is the temperature for steak medium rare. Medium steak is only a little pink in the center, and is cooked to 145 F. For those of you who like a steak well done, cooked all the way through with no pink at all, you’ll want an internal temperature of 160 F.
Insert your instant read meat thermometer horizontally, into the side of the steak. This helps with the accuracy of your temperature read, and it will penetrate the thickest part of the steak. Don’t allow your meat thermometer to touch the bone if you’re using a bone-in steak as this will throw off the reading.
How Long Should I Boil Milk Steak?
A one-inch-thick steak will take about twelve minutes to boil to perfection. If you use a thicker piece of meat, it will take longer to boil. This is one reason why it’s great to have a meat thermometer handy, to guarantee the perfect milk steak every time.
Is Milk Steak Served with Jelly Beans a Real Thing?
It might not have been before It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it can be! Reportedly, in the writers’ room, someone misheard the order for a “milkshake” as a “milk steak”, and decided the idea was too hilarious not to add it to the show.
Curiously, before It’s Always Sunny made milk steak famous, milk-braised short ribs were a classic holiday food. In Italy, cooking pork in milk, maiale al latte, was a common staple of peasant food.
Boiling a steak in milk is far from a standard cooking method, but the basic concept of meat cooked in milk is well-established.
Serving milk steak with a side of jelly beans, on the other hand, is not. Adding sweetness to a meaty dish, however, is not uncommon. Fruit, salad, and even the Japanese technique of a Teriyaki coating are alternatives to this palate.
What to Serve with Milk Steak
If you’re going for the authentic Charlie Kelly experience, you’ll of course serve your milk steak with a side of raw jelly beans.
If that’s not to your liking, some citrus fruit like orange or mandarin will provide sweetness without the explicit sugary taste of jelly beans. You could use green beans or fava beans if you want to keep the bean element of your dish intact.
Alternatively, sauteed mushrooms are a great side dish for any steak, while mashed potatoes will mimic the creaminess of your milk. You could even use the milk you boiled your steak in to make the mashed potatoes, creating a flavorsome cohesiveness to the dish.
Whatever you choose for a side dish, ensure that it’s juicy or creamy as boiling hardens steak more than other cooking methods.
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