Cooking the Perfect Steak
The art of cooking or grilling a slab of beef well is something every meat lover should learn how to do. Of course we could treat ourselves to a well executed steak dinner at a reputable restaurant when the mood strikes, or if and when our budgets allow. Yet many would agree that a DIY steak dinner at home can be such a fulfilling experience when done right. And how does one get it right?
This is obviously not for the well seasoned (pun intended) home chef who can do this with their eyes closed, but more of a basic crash course. There is always someone who dreams of taking on a new food challenge, so why not start here?
Selecting the right cut
When going for maximum flavour, you will want a steak with substantial marbling. The fat in the meat breaks down when seared, and mixing with just the basic seasoning of salt and pepper, turns your steak into the most pleasurable tasting thing on the planet. Buying a good quality ribeye is your best bet. If you’re on a budget, then opt for the rump which has a good layer of fat on it. Topside fillets are fine as well though they won’t have much marbling, and a sirloin won’t have the kind of flavour you’re looking for which is why they end up getting paired with seafood. As for skirt steaks, they can be quite tender depending if you get the outer cut.
As for your fancier cuts such as a T-bone, porterhouse, and mighty tomahawk, they are better left to the professionals. These guys require a little more cooking experience to have them done the way they’re supposed to, which should be nothing short of perfect. Because they do not deserve anything less.
We’ve all seen cooking shows, and Tasty videos of steaks being seared in a cast iron skillet. Why? Cast iron skillets distributes heat for more even cooking, locking in moisture as it forms a consistent crust over the steak’s surface. So if you’re planning on doing this a lot more, invest in a good pan. You will definitely not regret it. However, if you’re not able to do that just yet, any other pan will have to suffice to get that practice in.
Never stinge on seasoning
This can not be enforced enough– season your steak, then season it some more. Do not follow those pretentious food blog videos where someone sprinkles a tiny dash of salt and pepper. Be generous! The thicker the cut, the more seasoning it will need. And bear in mind that cooking times will also vary based on the thickness of the meat. For something as thin as skirt steak, or the smaller cuts of topside, a mere minute on each side is good enough to give you a perfect medium. As for the thicker cuts, you will need at least 3-4 minutes for each side.
Don’t be afraid to cut into it if you’re not sure. Checking the middle will tell you if you’re satisfied with your steak. If you’re cooking it anymore more than medium well, you should be eating chicken instead.
Let Gordon Ramsay show you how it’s done in this quick video tutorial:
If that’s doesn’t make you salivate, then sadly, you’re vegetarian.
One of the golden rules to cooking a great steak as you’ve seen Chef Ramsay demonstrate, is always have butter on hand. Don’t even bother making the meat of the gods without its holy accomplice. Butter makes the world go round, and it certainly elevates the flavour of steak.
Once you’ve completed your steak, let it rest and begin on your sauce. This part just adds that touch of finesse to the dish. Use the same pan you cooked your steak in, deglaze it with some red or white wine depending on which sauce you’re making, and you’re on your way to a very satisfying meal. And yes, have that butter handy again, as well as some flour to thicken your sauce.
Here are four delicious, quick, and easy sauce recipes:
Sauce au poivre (creamy pepper)
Steak fries for the win
You could just buy a bag of frozen fries if time is a factor, but if you really want to go for the full experience, make your own. Steak and fries go together just like strawberries and cream, Barack and Michelle, and the twins from The Shining. The trick to perfectly cooked fries, is to double fry them. You’ll probably want to start with prepping your potatoes and frying them once before cooking your steak. This way, once meat and sauce are complete, you can re-fry your taters and sit down to the best meal of your life.
Here’s how to get fries with that crispy outside and still fluffy inside: