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What is Bistecca alla Fiorentina?

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina, also known as Florentine steak, is an impressive yet simply made Porterhouse. The style highlights simple rustic yet flavorful Tuscan cooking. Traditionally the meat, a thick cut of Porterhouse steak, for Bistecca alla Fiorentina came from an ancient breed of cattle called Chianina, which was well known for its incredibly flavorful meat. The steak is typically cut 3-4 “fingers” thick (which is somewhere around 2-3 inches, depending on whose fingers you used to measure the steak), and are just the perfect size to feed 3 or 4 people family-style. The steak is traditionally cooked over hot coals, to rare in the middle, with a nice crust on the outside.

Wait, Porterhouse? What is a Porterhouse steak?

A porterhouse steak is two tender steaks in one, combining the New York Strip Steak and the Tenderloin. A t-shaped bone connects these two cuts.

T-shaped? You mean a T-Bone steak, then?

Not exactly. Though the Porterhouse and T-Bone are both very similar and come from the same cut of meat, there is one significant difference between the steaks – the size. A Porterhouse is larger than a T-Bone because it is cut from the larger end of the tenderloin. US regulations say the Porterhouse must be at least 1-1/4” thick at its thickest point, while the T-Bone only needs to be ¼” thick. Another way to think about a Porterhouse versus a T-Bone is that the Porterhouse has both the full strip and full tenderloin since it comes from the center; whereas the T-Bone only has a small portion of the end part of the tenderloin on one side.

What is Chianina cattle?

Chianina are a native Italian breed of cattle dating back over 2,000 years. They are one of the oldest documented breeds of cattle in the entire world, recorded initially in Val di Chiana by Roman agricultural historian Columella in 55AD. These animals are well known for their lean, tender meat with deep, rich flavor.

How do you select a good piece of meat for Bistecca alla Fiorentina?

A delicious Bistecca alla Fiorentina starts with a quality piece of beef. Though you may not be eating a piece of authentic Chianina beef, a high-quality certified Angus Beef steak with good marbling will get you close.

How do you cook Bistecca alla Fiorentina?

Traditionally, the steak is cooked over coals, at a high heat, to beautifully caramelize the outside while locking in the juices and flavor of the meat.

You can also sear it over a hot grill and then allow it to finish cooking in the oven at 375°F until your ideal doneness.

The steak is “done” when it reaches one of the following internal temperatures (or higher, of course, if you prefer):

  • 120°F for rare (cool red center)
  • 130°F for medium rare (warm red center)
  • 140°F for medium (warm pink center)

Want to try this steak at home?

Grab our recipe HERE and give it a go!

… also, let us know what you think of it.

Have you ever tried Bistecca alla Fiorentina? What about Chianina meat? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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