Pursuing Blue Rare Steak vs Pittsburgh Rare Steak at Texas Roadhouse

I like my steaks rare. I love my steaks Blue Rare.

That is not Pittsburgh Rare — which is very nice but sometimes a bit too greasy off the grill — I love them Blue Rare. Purple inside and almost cool.

A beautiful, tasty steak. And brought to me initially by a waitress and chef at Texas Roadhouse in Chantilly, Virginia. I asked for rare, and she said you should try “Blue Rare” and described it to me.

Since then I only order Blue Rare.

1. Texas Roadhouse = Best Steaks (& Affordable)

Texas Roadhouse has the best steaks. They are as good or better than any steak I’ve eaten at high-scale steak restaurants. Ruth’s, Morton’s in Atlantic City, Old Homestead in NYC, Smith & Wollensky in Chicago. All great — but I’ll take Texas Roadhouse, thank you, for steaks that are just as good and much more affordable.

At current writing, even with inflation, an 8-oz sirloin at Texas Roadhouse runs under $15, and that includes a baked potato, salad, and world-renowned tasty bread (with cinnamon butter).

A Blue Rare at Texas Roadhouse

2. The Year I Became a Denizen of Texas Roadhouse

I have some experience eating steaks. I am not a fly-by-night steak reviewer.

I became denizen of Texas Roadhouse during a 2-year period when I was on company business 4 days a week, traveling to a customer location in Western Virginia.

Where else can you get a Blue Rare 8-oz steak, with salad, with baked potato, with the most wonderful bread, and free peanuts for under $15 a meal — sometimes as low as $10.99 on a Wednesday night special.

I ate an 8-oz sirloin at Texas Roadhouse every night — 4 nights a week — for 2 years. I ate at:

  • The Texas Roadhouse in Winchester, Virginia most of the time, but also at
  • The Texas Roadhouse in Chantilly, Virginia, and
  • The Texas Roadhouse in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (on the trips to and from Winchester), and then also at
  • The Texas Roadhouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and
  • The Texas Roadhouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The staff at both Winchester and Chantilly knew me by name. The math says I ate between 350 to 400 times at Texas Roadhouse in those 2 years — a Blue Rare 8-oz sirloin every night.

On other work trips through the last 8 or so years, I always seek out a Texas Roadhouse — I’ve eaten at the Texas Roadhouse in:

  • Kenosha, Wisconsin — driving 30 minutes from a work location in North Chicago up into Wisconsin in heavy rain, and
  • Baltimore, Maryland.

In between all that, I take the family out to birthday dinners at — the local Texas Roadhouse — closest one, Holmdel, NJ, and then also in South Plainfield, NJ.

The Texas Roadhouse in Winchester, Virginia.

3. Blue Rare > Pittsburgh Rare > Rare

Often times at a Texas Roadhouse the waitress or waiter — they call them Servers — may not have ever heard of Blue Rare — but they write it down and we hope the chef — they call him or her Line Cook — does. Sometimes the Server will ask if I meant Pittsburgh Rare.

Blue Rare vs Pittsburgh Rare

Pittsburgh Rare is not Blue Rare. It is the same concept — but they are different.

A Blue Rare is made by putting the steak on the hottest part of the grill for 1 minute each side — the grill must be at  145° or higher. When done the inside of the steak is cool, and the color is almost purple — thus the name Blue rare.

The Pittsburgh Rare comes from putting the steak on the hottest part of the grill doused with clarified butter before and after putting it down, to char broil it on each side. When the flames subside, the steak is ready. It usually gets well charred on each side, while the inside is purple almost cool rare. According to chef Martin Bayer on Quora, “this cooking method is meant to replicate the method purportedly used by the steel workers, who cooked steaks on the hot blast furnaces, in the mills. A Pittsburgh steak should be very very rare in the center and heavily charred on the outside. The steak will also have a distinctive flavor, hints of kerosene, from the scorched clarified butter.”

Pittsburgh Rare tastes Great but the Pittsburgh Rare is typically greasier on the outside than the Blue Rare — I personally prefer Blue Rare. It’s a matter of taste.

Blue Rare:

Blue Rare

Pittsburgh Rare:

Pittsburgh Rare

With both methods, since the inside of the steak is being barely cooked, it is important that the steak is fresh and of high quality, and that it’s been stored properly before being cooked.

Ordering a Blue Rare & Getting a Blue Rare Is Not Guaranteed

Getting a Blue Rare at Texas Roadhouse is not guaranteed — you can ask for one, and most of the time the chef (or Line Cook) knows what it is and cooks it right. But there are many times when the chef doesn’t know — or is too busy cooking too many steaks — and you get a steak that is barely rare — more like the dreadful medium rare.

I’m not one to return a steak so I make due with the rare.

Obviously Texas Roadhouse is filled with young high school and college kids — working there part time — so one wouldn’t expect the Line Cook to be expert. Yet at the same time — I would bet the chef at a Texas Roadhouse — even if a young kid — is doing more cooking than chefs at the fanciest restaurants — and know what they’re doing.

All I can say is that in 2 years of eating at Texas Roadhouse 4 nights a week — I got a great Blue Rare perfectly cooked over 95 percent of the time. On the other hand, eating in Texas Roadhouses in NJ recently, I’ve had 3 straight experiences of getting a barely rare steak — more like medium rare.

The Terrific Staff at Texas Roadhouse

While eating at Texas Roadhouses 4 nights a week for 2 years, I became friendly with many of the ever-changing staff at several locations — especially Winchester and Chantilly. Wonderful people all. They knew my name and would say ‘hi Lou’ when I walked in — and then even get me my order without me needing to even order it. I learned their name back. (PS: shout out to Alex, the manager of the Texas Roadhouse in Winchester, Virginia — always a great hello from him and the place well run, as are all the Roadhouses.)

I learned that many of the positions have people rotating in them — so as a worker some nights you are a Server, the next night a Host (the person who takes you to your seat), the next night a Busser (the person who cleans the table), etc. The Line Cooks (and Line Cook Prepper) stay the same.

4. Texas Roadhouse > Outback > Longhorn

Outback was my favorite steakhouse until Texas Roadhouse came along.

  • Texas Roadhouse steaks seemed thicker and tastier than Outback steaks when I first started eating at Texas Roadhouse — these days they seem similar — as if Outback upped their game. But Texas Roadhouse is still definitively cheaper: an 8-oz sirloin at Texas Roadhouse is under $15; at Outback it is running about $19. I still eat at Outback if there isn’t a Texas Roadhouse in the town I’m traveling to.
  • The Bloomin’ Onion of Outback beats the Onion dish of Texas Roadhouse — the Cactus Blossom – which isn’t bad it just isn’t quite a Bloomin’ Onion.
  • However, Texas Roadhouse’s incredible soft hot bread with cinnamon butter cannot be beat.
Hot bread and cinnamon butter at Texas Roadhouse
The hot bread and cinnamon butter at Texas Roadhouse cannot be beat.
  • Longhorn steaks are a distant 3rd in terms of the steaks I’ve had there and the price. However to be fair I have only eaten at a Longhorn once — I wasn’t impressed so will always choose a Texas Roadhouse or Outback over them. If you are a Longhorn fan please write in the comments and defend them.

Texas Roadhouse has terrific Margaritas — as does Outback. Not sure about Longhorn but I would expect they do too.

Finally, Texas Roadhouse gives out free peanuts. They used to be available in buckets at every table and all over the restaurant. That ended with COVID but Roadhouse started providing peanuts in bags up front. These days you need to ask the waitresses at the front desk for a bag of peanuts and they will gladly oblige. Sometimes the peanuts are in professionally packaged plastic bags; sometimes in informal brown paper bags.

Bag of peanuts

5. Every Texas Roadhouse Dedicated to Local Celebrity

Every Texas Roadhouse (or most?) is dedicated to a someone who grew up locally who became famous in some way. A painting or picture of the person is put up over the bar — either directly behind the bar or off to the left or right corner. Here are some:

  • Texas Roadhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin: Al Molinaro, the actor who played Murray the Cop on The Odd Couple tv show as well as Al Delvecchio, owner of “Arnolds” in the tv show “Happy Days”
  • Texas Roadhouse in Chambersburg, PA: Baseball player Nellie Fox, who won the AL MVP in 1959
Nellie Fox in the upper left corner.
  • Texas Roadhouse in Harrisburg, PA: Mike Mussina, former Baltimore Oriole and NY Yankee pitcher.
Mike Mussina
  • Texas Roadhouse in Holmdel, NJ: Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.
  • Texas Roadhouse in South Plainfield, NJ: Julius Erving and a player from the local High School football team, the Canucks.

Every Texas Roadhouse has a Willie Nelson corner.

6. Texas Roadhouse History

Texas Roadhouse was founded by W. Kent Taylor in 1993. The first Texas Roadhouse opened at the Green Tree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, where Taylor was from.

Taylor gained experience in the industry working in restaurants and nightclubs in Colorado. In 1990, he returned to Louisville and worked as a manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and devised plans for his dream of a Colorado-themed steak restaurant franchise.

Taylor gained $80,000 in investment capital from John Brown, the former governor of Kentucky — and created a restaurant called Buckhead Mountain Grill — but according to what is currently written on Wikipedia, the the partnership fell apart when the two came to disagreements.

While managing the Buckhead Mountain Grill, Taylor came up with concepts for a new chain — and after some difficulty — he was turned down by 80 different investors — got a backer in Dr. John Rhodes, convincing him by showing him the concept through ‘drawings on loose papers and cocktail napkins’, again according to what is currently written on Wikipedia.

Sadly, founder W. Kent Taylor  passed away on March 18, 2021 — he was only 66 years old.

The Texas Roadhouse in Chantilly, Virginia.
The walls of each Texas Roadhouse have paintings evoking scenes of Texas

7. Blue Rare Sirloin Steak Porn

Here are just some pix of the steaks I ate during the 2-year period when I ate at a Texas Roadhouse 4 nights a week while on work travel:



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