When it comes to cooking Steak there are a few simple rules and hints that can help reach the ultimate goal – a perfectly cooked juicy steak with multiple gains!
Below is a short run through in order to help achieve that holy grail – a delicious, tender steak!
The first place to start is deciding on what cut of meat you want. Now as you know there are various parts of the cow that we eat, and they are all approached in a different way. In order to keep it simple we will look at the most common:
Rump – taken from the lower back of the animal and is just a little less tender than Sirloin. Great value for money, strong in beef flavour and it only requires quick cooking but can be a little chewy.
Sirloin – taken from the middle of the back, this is the most popular cut across the world. A perfect balance of fat to lean meat ratio ensures an instant winner and tenderness.
Fillet – the most tender cut of beef and obviously the most expensive. Next to zero fat on this cut means that you have to be very careful to not dry it out. Out of all the cuts this is the least flavoursome due to the minimal fat content.
Whichever steak you settle on, my advice would be always go for a thicker steak (around 4cm) over a thin one. This will help in the cooking as it is much harder to overcook a thicker piece of meat and gives you much more control over your desired temperature; and also more meat = more gains!
So now you have chosen the cut you prefer – what do you do from here? Follow the below rules for a sure fire way to meaty heaven!
Rule number 1 – Quality
Quality of the meat – now I know that not everyone can either afford to or have the time to visit their local butcher, but trust me, if you can then, then do. If you start with a decent piece of meat then you are already on the right path, if however you start with a straggly piece of poor quality beef then I am afraid there is nothing that can save it. FACT!
The supermarkets have indeed stepped up their game and can offer a more cost effective product but just make sure you don’t go for the budget no frills options. Remember, it’s a treat so splash out a little.
Rule Number 2 – Pre-resting
Now this is an area where lots of people have lots of different opinions on what the best method is. I will give you my honest overview of my 15 years in the catering industry and also as a twice a week steak eater.
If you can leave you steak out to reach room temperature for 3-4 hours before cooking then absolutely do it. This allows the meat to relax and will definitely result in a juicer steak. Now this might not be possible as you may leave the house at 6 am for the gym and not return back until 6pm in the evening. If that is the case then remove your steak from is packaging for approx. 30 minutes before you eat it just to give the steak time to breathe.
Rule number 3 – Seasoning
Another bone of contention is seasoning on steaks. As far as I am concerned there is only one way. Do NOT put salt and pepper on your steak until you are just about to cook it. If you pre-salt then you will draw the moisture out of your steak and the end result will be Gandhi’s leather flip flop in your mouth, and all that lovely meat will have gone to waste.
Rule number 4 – Choosing the right pan
A thick bottom based pan or griddle pan would be the weapons of choice here. You need the pan to able to take the heat without warping, and for it to retain that heat once you have added the cold steak. I always choose a frying pan over the griddle method purely because they are easier to clean.
A good set of pans in any kitchen is a must, and I have used the Tefal Ingenio range for 2 years now as they can go straight in the oven which is great for finishing dishes and they come with a 10 year guarantee. They are also stackable which means they take up no space at all in the cupboards and have detachable handles.
Rule number 5 – Cooking the steak
So now you have the right pans, the best cut of meat and you’ve delightfully sprinkled salt and pepper on to it, you now need to cook it:
- Place the pan of choice on to the heat and set to a high-medium heat.
- Add either olive oil or coconut oil into the pan and wait for it to shimmer with heat (around 3-5 minutes)
- Add your steak to the pan laying it down away from you so that you do not splash yourself with hot oil (you should hear a strong sizzle)
- Depending on how you want you steak cooked and its thickness will determine how long to cook it for but a rule of thumb for a 3.5cm – 4cm thick steak would be:
- Blue: About 1 min each side
- Rare: About 1½ mins per side
- Medium rare: About 2 mins per side
- Medium: About 2¼ mins per side
- Well done: 4-5 mins per side
- For fillet steak I would recommend adding an additional 30 seconds to all the above on each side
- To enhance the flavour of the meat, once you have turned it over you can now baste the meat in the pan juices and add butter for additional depth.
- Most importantly don’t forget to slightly undercook the meat as it will keep on cooking once you have taken out of the pan.
- Do not turn your steak more than once, this will help the natural sugars in the steak caramelise and give you a super tasty crust on the meat.
Rule Number 6 – Resting the Steak
Well done, you have now successfully cooked the perfect steak and you can tuck straight in right? Absolutely not, you need to take that steak out of the pan and let it rest on a warm plate for the same amount of time you cooked it for. This resting period will give you the best steak you have ever eaten!
That’s it, you have now mastered the art of Steak cookery with a few simple steps and tips that all chefs in restaurants follow!
Article written by @Northern_Arnie