Among the many crazy culinary experiments from the hit show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, including Fight Milk, rum-soaked ham, and beer laced with green food coloring, perhaps the most disgusting of them all is milk steak. If you’re unaware of what milk steak is, sign in to your Hulu account and watch the “The Waitress Is Getting Married” episode of the fifth season.
In this episode, Charlie’s friends try to take his mind off the waitress and her recent engagement by getting him into the online dating scene. While making an online dating profile for him, Dennis asks Charlie what his favorite food is, to which he responds, of course, that it’s milk steak. Later on in the episode, when Charlie meets his date at Guigino’s (the gang’s favorite restaurant), he gets nervous and orders a milk steak “boiled over hard and a side of your finest Jelly Beans, raw.”
Now, while in the show, they never exactly clarify what exactly a milk steak is or how it’s prepared, any reasonable person can infer that it is, in fact, a steak boiled in milk. Any reasonable person would also never attempt to do such a heinous thing to a cut of steak, but if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that not everyone is reasonable. Yes, people out there have actually tried making their own milk steaks. And, yes, they even included the Jelly Beans.
The Origins of the Milk Steak
The milk steak was first mentioned in the fifth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in “The Waitress Is Getting Married” episode in which the object of Charlie’s obsessive love, the waitress, is discovered to have gotten engaged to Brad Fisher. Worried that Charlie might kill himself (leaving the rest of the gang to do all of his work) or that he might go postal and kill them all, the gang decides to cheer him up by getting him involved in online dating.
During Charlie’s date with a nice woman named Jackie, Charlie tries to no avail to present himself as a successful philanthropist but instead says that he is a “full-on-rapist” before finally admitting that he’s a janitor at a bar. Realizing that the date is falling faster than Frank Reynolds through a window, Charlie goes to the bathroom to recollect himself and try to salvage his dignity.
When Charlie returns from the bathroom and sits down with Jackie once again, Dennis comes over and pretends to be the manager of Guigino’s. Charlie, more nervous than Sweet Dee when she’s getting audited, blurts out that he’d like to order a milk steak.
Apparently, the idea for the milk steak was born when one of the show’s writers was talking about a milkshake, but someone thought they said “milk steak” and thought it was hilarious. Charlie once again brings up milk steaks in the thirteenth season in the “Charlie’s Home Alone” episode. Charlie claims that milk steak is one of the brown foods he needs to eat in compliance with his ritual that’s meant to make the Philadelphia Eagles victorious.
While the concept of a milk steak is extremely stupid and undeniably hilarious, I think we can assume that the writers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia never meant for it to become a real food. However, as the show has one of the strongest cultish fan bases of any program on television, it was only a matter of time before someone made this imaginary culinary atrocity a reality.
Real-Life Milk Steak
Yes, some lunatics out there have taken real steaks and boiled them in real milk and then covered those disgusting creations with real Jelly Beans. And as much as I’m a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, seeing someone do that to a steak just hurts my soul. Those poor cows didn’t die so you could boil them in milk and haphazardly toss sugary candies on top of them. Peter Luger didn’t dedicate his life to perfecting the art of grilling steak so that people could make a mockery of the craft in their quests for internet clout. This is just wrong, people.
Many different people have attempted many different versions of the milk steak across the internet, with a modified recipe even appearing on the popular YouTube cooking show Binging with Babish. Gordon Ramsey even took a stab at making his own milk steak. Just kidding, he would never do that.
One recipe calls for honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to be mixed into the milk as you’re bringing it to a boil. While I assume that this person was trying to complement the flavors of the Jelly Beans that are eventually used as a garnish, this sounds like potentially the most repulsive thing anyone has ever cooked. This is just a combination of foods that should have never existed.
Another recipe that I found online calls for garlic and rosemary, which is far more appropriate for a cut of beef. But still, there’s little you can do with seasoning to redeem yourself for boiling a steak in milk, especially if you’re boiling it until it’s hard as the show suggests.
While the aforementioned versions of milk steak are irrefutably atrocious, there are some ways that people have made milk steak in a more acceptable fashion.
Not-So-Bad Versions of Milk Steak
One recipe that I found online called for the steak to be marinated overnight in buttermilk, garlic, and rosemary. I’ve tried a similar dish that was made with chicken and it was quite delicious, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be good when applied to steak, even if it pisses off the purists. Of course, this recipe involves grilling the steak instead of boiling it, and nowhere in the recipe is there any mention of Jelly Beans, but I think those two omissions are definitely for the best. So, no, it’s not really the same as the milk steak alluded to in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but at least this version actually sounds somewhat edible and maybe even tasty.
Now, as I mentioned before, there was a version of milk steak made on Binging with Babish that actually looked fairly appetizing. In this version, though, the milk is basically used for deglazing and the steak is actually short ribs served with bacon gravy. Instead of Jelly Beans, this recipe uses pea shoot and rosemary gel to compliment the short ribs and add a touch of color to the plate. Are the short ribs cooked in milk? Yes, sort of. Does it still work? Same answer.
Other Funky Foods From It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
As I said earlier, there have been several other ridiculous foods and beverages referenced and shown throughout the series. Some of them are nearly as disgusting as the milk steak, and some actually sound kind of appetizing. Here are some of the most notable funky foods from the show:
- A “Grilled Charlie” is a sandwich consisting of white bread, American cheese, peanut butter, butter, and chocolate syrup. Charlie prefers to make it on a hot plate, but if he’s in a pinch, he can slap it on the radiator to heat it up.
- A “Grilled Frank” is a pseudo-sandwich made form bacon, sausage, and SPAM wrapped in a jelly pancake and cooked with an entire stick of butter. It sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, but it also sounds delicious.
- “Fight Milk” was designed by bodyguards for bodyguards and it’s designed to help you fight like a crow. It contains crow eggs, milk, and vodka. Eventually, to give it a little extra kick, Mac and Charlie add in the carcass of a dead crow as well.
- “Rum Ham” is a pineapple ham designed to get you ham-mered. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a ham soaked in rum.
- “Riot Punch” is a mixture of grain alcohol and punch that’s meant to get you so drunk that you won’t remember a single minute of the World Series.