In March 2016, The New York Times interviewed President Donald Trump’s former butler, who admitted that Trump always orders his steak well done, regardless of cut quality. “It would rock on the plate,” the butler admitted. “It was so well done.” Trump’s political opponents flipped out, calling his preference for burnt meat indicative of everything, from his classlessness to a fundamental flaw in his character. As it turns out, Americans are so afraid of being called idiots because of their steak order that they flat-out lie when asked what they want.
During the controversy over Trump’s steak preference, many publications cited FiveThirtyEight’s data, which reported in 2014 that survey respondents in the United States preferred their steak “medium” by a large margin. However, in 2017, FiveThirtyEight updated its stance on steak preparation by clarifying a few things about its data set.
The blog asked representatives from Longhorn Steakhouse to share their order data from a full year of serving steaks, and that data proved that far fewer Americans actually order their steak rare than most of us would like to believe. In fact, only 2.5 percent of Longhorn’s annual customer base ordered their steaks rare.
It’s notable, however, that ordering steak “rare” or “medium rare” is most popular with customers who get the prime rib. As the cut of meat gets less fancy, the probability that a customer will order it rare declines.
It’s probably worth mentioning that customers who frequent Longhorn Steakhouse, a restaurant franchise headquartered in Orlando, aren’t likely to connect concepts of class and taste to their steak prep. For those who do subscribe to the idea that steak is intended to be served medium rare, or rare, the revelation that many Americans now lie about their preferences shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After all, the admission about Trump preferring steak well-done with ketchup led to a slew of think pieces about the president — many of those even strayed into anxious masculinity, and both conservatives and liberals argued for weeks online about what a “real man” would order. Trump supporters began jumping on the hashtag #welldone and describing less-cooked steaks as a sign of a person being a “cuck,” or emasculated man. On the other hand, liberals were essentially calling Trump and his supporters rubes, white trash, and hicks for not liking their steaks done the way renown chefs advise. For the record, when Eater Boston asked local chefs how they’d respond if a customer ordered their best cut well-done, the vast majority of interviewed chefs said some version of, “Who cares?”