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If beef steak needs to sit outside the refrigerator before cooking, should the same thing be done for tuna steaks too?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The same logic applies. The smaller the temperature difference between uncooked and cooked, the easier it will be to get an even amount of cooking all the way through. Especially with a fast method of cooking like broiling.

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Given the very high temperature of a frying pan (particularly for beef steak), do 15°C really make that much of a difference? –  tobiw Jul 27 '10 at 2:59
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More like 20°C between fridge temp and room temp, and yes. Meat is not a highly effective thermal conductor. The colder it is inside, the harder it will be to bring it up to 52°C (for tuna) without overcooking the outside. –  Tim Gilbert Jul 27 '10 at 3:06
    
I think a good reason for 'bringing it up' is to enhance browning. Warmer, drier, browner. (Not a word, but, it fit the triad). For fish cooked at a more medium temperature, it's just for even doneness. –  Ocaasi Jul 27 '10 at 23:07
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I think you have slightly more latitude with cold tuna, particularly because my favorite way to grill tuna is ahi style, nice and rare in the center. This requires a very good and properly handled piece of fish, but since the main problem with un-warmed proteins (pre-grilling) is that the center does come up to temperature evenly, it might be ideal if that's what you're going for.

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