Food & Drinks

A Brief History of Surf and Turf

Bangers and mash, wieners and beans, fish and chips, some foods just go together! Another popular food combo you may be familiar with is surf ‘n turf, which pairs red meat with seafood. This decadent combo is loved by people from coast to coast and is often one of the most expensive dishes on a menu. But have you ever thought about where this pairing originated and how it’s made? 

We’re here to give you a brief history of surf ‘n turf and also give you some tips on how to prepare this delicious meal at home. 

What Does Surf ‘N Turf Mean?

Surf ‘n turf is the pairing of red meat (turf, which refers to grass), and seafood (surf, which refers to sea). The red meat is usually fillet mignon or strip steak, but the seafood has more variation. Depending on preference, people will often have either lobster, prawns, shrimp, or scallops. 

The Origins of Surf ‘N Turn

There’s a bit of a debate as to whether surf ‘n turf originated on the East Coast or West Coast of the United States. It’s very possible that it came from both coasts at around the same time, but it’s impossible to say for sure. Either way, the trend began in the early 1960s. The original combination that is still viewed as the classic today is fillet mignon and lobster. 

Gaining Popularity

Since it first started becoming popular in the 1960s and 1870s, the dish has become a staple across the United States, Canada, and even in some areas of Europe and Australia. However, in Australia, they refer to the dish as beef and reef. 

For a while, people gave surf ‘n turf a bad name, claiming it to be a dish for lowbrow individuals. Although this dish still isn’t typically thought of as being gourmet, several chefs have reinvented the dish and it is now served at high-end restaurants across the nation. Since the dish uses fairly expensive ingredients, it is often quite an expensive dish to order out. 

Fun fact! Did you know that leap day, February 29th, is National Surf and Turf Day? 

How to Make Surf ‘N Turf at Home

Preparing surf ‘n turf at home is fairly straightforward. Start by choosing what type of seafood you want to go with. If you decide to go with the classic lobster, you can buy large lobster tails online and have them delivered right to your home. You can choose to either steam, grill, or fry the lobster depending on your preference. For the best taste, you should opt for fresh seafood over frozen. 

As previously mentioned, the red meat is often fillet mignon or strip steak, but you can prepare your meat any way you prefer. If beef isn’t your thing, you could even substitute it for lamb or pork. 

Side dishes for surf ‘n turf can vary; however, some common sides include garlic mashed potatoes, side salad, green beans, or other steamed veggies.