Close to the Bone

Does a bone in the cut of meat affect the final product's tenderness? mucho gordo finds bone-in rib-eye steaks less tender than boneless cuts, but wonders if it's just a coincidence. drongo disagrees: "It's probably my imagination also, but I've thought bone-in ribeye more juicy (if not more tender) than boneless. Probably I've rationalized that the bone protects at least the one edge from moisture loss (and perhaps also insulates it from overheating), and hence I'm predisposed to think it's juicier."

If anything, meat with a bone in it should end up more tender than boneless meat, says jhopp217. "Meat near the bone cooks slower, so if you are to cook the steak medium rare, it would be closer to rare near the bone, giving it a nice tender feel," he says. Because they cook slower, people tend to overcook bone-in cuts, says ipsedixit, which might contribute to a perception that bone-in cuts are tougher. Properly cooked, there shouldn't be a difference in tenderness based solely on the presence of a bone.

Regardless of tenderness, gnawing on a bone lends an irreplaceable carnality to the experience. "There is something about eating the small amount of meat from the bone that I love," says Motosport. "I growl at anyone who comes near!!"

Discuss: Is it just my perception?