Everybody has their own opinion about what makes a great steak, but there are some things you can’t argue with. For example, the source and grade of the meat are a crucial factor in terms of flavor and tenderness. Preparation is also key. You can have a beautiful cut of beef on your countertop, but if you don’t know how to prepare it correctly, you won’t realize its full potential. Different people also have different preferences when it comes to how their steak is cooked, and if the chef (whether at home or in a professional steakhouse) can’t get individual preferences right, that’s also a problem.

There are things about steak that pretty much everyone knows. Potatoes go great with steak, for example. Anything from thick-cut fries to baked potatoes to Au Gratin dishes are a great way to round out a steak dinner. Most people also understand that there are different cuts of beef that come from different places on the animal. The difference between a filet mignon or ribeye and a T-bone, for instance, is fairly common knowledge — even amongst those who don’t eat a lot of steak.

But there are many things about steak and steakhouses you may not know. For example:

1. Not every steakhouse chef is highly trained

There are certain steakhouses out there — large national chains, for example — who don’t exactly have the highest standards when it comes to the talent and training of their chefs. You’ll usually know when the plate hits the table and you dig in. If there’s any doubt about the experience or skill of the people in the kitchen, you should probably take your money somewhere that does it properly and professionally.

2. Not all of the best beef comes from America

The Japanese have a passion for great steak, and their cattle-raising traditions have reflected this over the centuries. If you’ve ever heard of Kobe or Wagyu beef — and if you’re like most people, you probably have — you’re heard of Japanese beef. Some of the most expensive and sought-after cuts of beef in the world come from the country of Japan, and while much of this beef is still exported throughout the world, Japanese strains of cattle have also been exported. These days, if you order a Kobe or Wagyu steak, it might actually be raised right here in the United States.

Now — we do have some of the best steak in the world, from cattle raised right here. But if you’re going to talk about great steak, product from Japan definitely deserves a mention.

3. The best steakhouses aren’t always the most expensive

It’s a common myth that you always get what you pay for at a steakhouse. There are plenty of establishments out there that look good and talk big, but when it comes down the quality of their food — and the bill that comes at the end — something is definitely off. Overcharging for a mediocre steakhouse experience is more common than you might think. The only way to avoid this type of scenario is to look for highly rated establishments and rely on your own experience.

What will your next steakhouse experience be like?

Whether you’re grilling at home or heading out for a professional steakhouse experience, knowing more about the art and passion of steak and steak preparation will enhance your enjoyment of this great culinary tradition.