How To Make The Perfect Steak Period
Start with the best meat you can afford.
Ask the head chef at any world-class steakhouse or famed local bistro and each will have their own version of the perfect steak. The way each chef ages, prepares and finally puts meat to flame will differ. Even the cut of choice will vary, from filet mignon to New York strip, prime rib to porterhouse. Theres also the question of cost and comfort. Not everybody wants to eat at a restaurant, or drop close to $100 on a piece of meat. For us, the perfect steak can be cooked at home, in a skillet, by a somebody without a single Michelin star. Approachable yet impressive, this is the recipe for a perfect meat-eating experience. Start with the cut and follow the steps from there.
1Assemble ingredients and tools. Start with a 1- to 1.5-pound steak the best kind you can afford. We like a porterhouse thats 2.5 inches thick. For ingredients, youll need sea salt, pepper, vegetable oil and half a stick of unsalted butter. Olive oil, rosemary and lemon are optional . Also, get your cast-iron skillet out.
2Prepare the meat. Take the cut out of the fridge so it warms. A piece of meat thats near room temperature cooks more evenly than one thats cold. You want to leave the steak out for between 30 minutes and an hour. Pat it down with dry paper towel to help dry it out. Then apply the salt and pepper with vigor before the next step.
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More Steak Recipes
How To Tell When Steak Is Medium
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The most fool-proof way to know for sure that your steak is in the medium-rare range is to use an instant-read thermometer. Sure, you could follow a time-and-temperature chart based on the thickness of the steak, or use the touch-test method . But a thermometer allows you to knownot guessthat your steak has reached the medium-rare range.
Simply insert the tip of the thermometer through the side of the steak and into the thickest part of the meat. If youre cooking a bone-in steak, be careful not to touch the bone . Once its in, slowly move the probe back and forth to find the coolest pocket within the steak. When that spot reaches 130°F, its finished. The temperature will continue to rise an additional 5 degrees as the steak rests.
Test Kitchen Tip: You may have heard that a thermometer will release the steaks juices. This is actually a cooking myth. Your steak isnt a water balloon, so its not possible for all the juices to gush out from one poke!
How To Test Your Steak For Doneness
For the most accurate results, use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:
- Rare — 125 degrees F
- Medium Rare — 130 degrees F
- Medium — 140 degrees F
- Medium Well — 150 degrees F
- Well done — 160 degrees F
You can also use your fist. Admittedly, this method is more art than science, but it will give you a general idea of doneness. First, make your hand into a fist. You’ll notice there’s a fleshy, roughly triangular patch of skin between your folded-up thumb and pointer finger. Touch that flap of skin and compare it to the steak. Here’s the deal:
- Very loose non-fist — Rare
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Let The Steaks Rest For 5 Minutes Before Serving
Put the steaks on the warmed plates, cover them with tin foil and let them sit or rest, in chef-speak for 5 minutes before serving. Why?
1. To let the steak come up to the desired temperature. The exterior of the steak is hotter than the interior at this point. So the outside of the steak will continue to cook the inside of the steak for a few minutes, even after youve removed the steaks from the pan or grill. Thats where you get the extra 5 °F of internal temperature from.
2. To let the juices redistribute throughout the steak. Under cooking heat, the juices in the steak are driven away from the heat toward the middle of the steak. By letting it rest, the juices will redistribute move evenly, back toward the edges, instead of pooling in the center. That way, the juices will still be in the meat when you take a bite, instead of leaking out onto the plate as soon as you cut into it.
Nobody Does It Better Than The French
As part of our research about how to best cook a steak, we spoke with a particularly well-traveled man with an encyclopedic knowledge of Michelin starred eateries who, most indignantly, proclaimed that there is only one way to prepare a proper steak: The French way.
Classic Steak Frites is what he meant and its served at brasseries all over Paris including the upscale restaurant named after the prime rib-eye cut. The dish is made withLe Relais de LEntrecôte, a deceptively simple recipe that calls for little more than seasoned meat and a buttered pan. It takes patience to get the flavors just right and requires a sense of timed precision that only comes with dedicated practice.
- 2 10 ounce rib-eye steaks
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- Peel the potatoes and slice lengthwise to ¼ inch thick pieces
- Soak pieces in ice water for 15 minutes
- In a large saucepan heat 2-3 inches of oil to 325
- Remove potato pieces from ice and blot dry
- Fry potato pieces in batches for 5 minutes per batch
- Set each batch aside on paper towel to dry as they are ready
- Season steaks with salt and pepper on both sides
- Heat a large pan to 248 and add butter to melt
- Place steaks in pan and brown for 3-4 minutes on each side until rare
- Plate steaks and serve with frites
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How To Check Steak Is Cooked
Use your fingers to prod the cooked steak when rare it will feel soft, medium-rare will be lightly bouncy, and well-done will be much firmer. Our picture guide to checking steak is cooked shows you how to use the ‘finger test’, or a meat thermometer inserted into the centre to ensure it’s done to your liking.
Well done: 75C
Buy The Best Steak For Pan
The best steaks for cooking on the stovetop are boneless steaks that are between one and one-and-a-half inches thick. Thicker cuts like a New York strip steak or a boneless rib-eye work best for this method. Look for a steak with plentiful marbling and dont be afraid to ask your butcher to cut a thicker steak if needed. When a steak has enough fat, it tends to remain juicy during the cooking process and has the meaty flavor and texture you want from a steak.
Buy the best steak you can afford. It will cost you more than stew meat or burgers, but cooking steak at home even with a decent bottle of wine, appetizers, and sides will still cost less than the cheapest steakhouse steak.
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How To Marinate A Steak
As it pertains to marinating steaks, here are my thoughts on the topic:
- If you are buying a quality steak, salt and pepper and a bit of butter and garlic will be more than enough. I dont like to lose the nice flavor of quality beef.
- If you are using a cheaper steak you may want to marinade.
- An acid is needed such as wine, vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice.
- Herbs and spices You can find all kinds of great steak seasonings in the spice aisle or use an Italian seasoning packet. You can even use an Italian salad dressing in liquid form right out of the bottle with salt and pepper, and dont forget some b also add great flavoring to the marinade.
- Discard marinade after using.
- For best results, meat needs to be at room temperature as well as the marinade. Let stand for 10 minutes, then move to the refrigerator for the remainder of the marination.
How To Pan Sear The Perfect Steak
This method is not unlike searing your meat on the hottest part of the grill first then moving it to indirect heat where it will finish cooking. With this method, youll pan sear your steaks first, then move them into your pre-heated oven to finish them off. Unless you like your steaks really rare, then a good sear is all youll need!
Filet mignons are great for this cooking technique, but you can use many different cuts like porterhouse, T-bone, ribeye and strip steaks as well.
Basic Rules for Pan Searing Steak
Thats it. Simple.
Try Pan Searing a T-Bone With This Recipe: Espagnole T-Bone Steak & Potatoes
Youve got to admit, once you know the basic rules, cooking a perfect steak is pretty easy. But wait, were not quite done yet
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Tips To Cook A Perfect Steak Every Time:
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In fact, on page 88, youll find the recipe for The Perfect Steak. And theres plenty more where that came from. For more info, and to order a copy, go to www.gourmetnutrition.com
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What Cut Of Steak Should I Choose
Below are our four favorite steaks, and are probably the most common cuts of steak, although there are many more out there.
Here are four common cuts of steak:
- Ribeye This has a high fat content, making it a very flavorful steak. Do not remove the fat before cooking. You can cut off the fat when you are eating the meat after its cooked. No need to marinade ribeye, its perfect with a little salt and pepper or steak seasoning.
- Sirloin This steak doesnt have much fat and is best cooked to medium only. Sirloin is is great with a dry rub.
- Filet Mignon This is a small round steak that doesnt have much fat on it. It is my personal favorite because it is so tender. It will dry out fast and is best eaten rare. Just cook with a bit of salt and pepper for best flavor.
- T-Bone or Porterhouse These steaks always come with a T-bone in the middle and a steak on each side. One side is the strip steak and the other is the filet. A porterhouse usually has more of the filet on it. Use a meat thermometer to cook this steak so you can get it right.
How Long To Cook Steak On The Stove
To cook a thin flank steak to medium versus cooking a much thicker filet to medium, the amount of cooking time will vary based on the thickness and cut of meat.
If you are looking for a medium steak, you need to aim for the final temperature to fall in the range of 135°F to 144°F, however long it takes to reach that particular temperature.
Take note, you should remove the steak from the skillet and let it rest when it is 5°F under the desired temperature or temperature range because you need to account for the carryover cooking that will occur.
I highly recommend you use a thermometer to eliminate guesswork!
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How To Broil The Perfect Steak
So what are grill lovers to do when the weather is not-so-nice outside? Turn the broiler on! Broiling a steak gives you shockingly similar results as grilling its just that the high heat is coming from above the meat instead of below.
Cuts of steak that are great for the broiler are:
- Ribeye steak
Basic Rules for Broiling Steak
NOTE: The broiling method cooks steaks incredibly fast so dont walk away during this process.
How Do I Know When My Steak Is Done
How to Check Your Steaks Temperature Without a Thermometer Raw. Feel the palm of your hand, just below your thumb. Rare. Now bring your thumb to your pointer finger, and touch that same part of your palm again. Medium -Rare. Touch your thumb to your middle finger. Medium. Move your thumb to your ring finger. Well- Done. Now touch your thumb to your pinky.
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How Do I Cook Steak So Its Tender
8 Simple Ways to Make Tough Meat Tender Physically tenderize the meat. For tough cuts like chuck steak, a meat mallet can be a surprisingly effective way to break down those tough muscle fibers. Use a marinade. Dont forget the salt. Let it come up to room temperature. Cook it low-and-slow. Hit the right internal temperature. Rest your meat. Slice against the grain.
To What Temperature Should I Cook The Steak
This is such a personal preference because as you know, some people love really well done steak and others like it practically still moving!
Here is the general consensus on what signifies rare to well done steaks and the corresponding steak cooking temperatures associated:
- Rare 120°F to 129°F. Cooler and bright red center, soft to the touch.
- Medium rare 130°F to 134°F. Warm red center, beginning to firm up with red juices.
- Medium 135°F to 144°F. Warm pink center, brown on the edges, firm with red juices.
- Medium well 145°F to 154°F. Slightly pink center, completely firm with brown juices.
- Well done 155°F to 164°F. Very little to no pink, firm to the touch.
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How To Buy Steak
You’ll see these terms in supermarkets, at the butcher’s or on restaurant menus here’s what they mean.
Grass-fed beef: Grass-fed cattle get to walk around and graze on pasture, which means the meat is leaner with a richer, gamier flavour that tastes of the environment it was reared in. This is why Scottish grass-fed beef will taste different to Irish.
Marbling is the fat found interlacing the inside of a cut of meat. As the meat cooks, the marbled fat melts without this, the meat would be dry and flavourless. Meat with a lot of marbling mostly comes from the back of the animal where the muscles get little exercise.
Wagyu: Wagyu is a generic name for four breeds of Japanese cattle. They are fed foraged grass and rice straw, then supplemented with corn, barley, soya bean, wheat bran and, in some cases, even beer or sake. Wagyu cattle produce meat with heavy marbling but this comes at a hefty price.
Ageing: The ageing process improves the taste and tenderness of meat. There are two methods: dry ageing, which is the traditional process where carcasses are hung in a cool place for 30-60 days to intensify the flavour and cause the meat to shrink, while wet ageing is when the meat is butchered and vacuum-packed, which stops the meat from shrinking.
Do you have any foolproof techniques when cooking your steak? You’ll find more inspiration in our recipe collection, too.
Restaurant Secrets: How To Cook The Perfect Steak
A meaty story for carnivores…
As Julia Child said, the only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. For carnivores, the statement may not be more true.No matter what we call it, steaks have been around for quite some time. John Ayto writes in The Diner’s Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink that the word steak originates either from the Old Norse steikja, 15th century Scandinavian word steik, or Middle English stickna. The Oxford English Dictionary records the first use as describing thickly sliced meat, often from an animals hind-quarters, meant for roasting, grilling, or frying or for a pie or pudding. The meat could be cow, venison, bull, camel, horse, kangaroo, or other sources, including large fishes such as salmon and swordfish. Meat from pig, lamb, or goat would be a chop. References also appear in 15th century cookbooks to stekys, which were cuts of beef or venison.
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