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Are you on a quest to cook the perfect steak? You’ve come to the right place!
No matter your cut of choice, time is of the essence when it comes to cooking a great steak. Don’t take your eyes off the prize! A few minutes can mean the difference between rare and well done, between success and failure.
But cooking time, though a major parameter, isn’t the only thing to consider when cooking beef. There’s the cut of steak, the pan used, the seasoning, the cooking fat, and of course you have to sear it properly.
All in all, cooking steak may seem simple at first glance. But if you want to do it perfectly, it’s an art. And every variable plays its part in this symphony.
Don’t worry, though, because after reading this article, you’ll be able to cook the perfect steak today.
Read on, and don’t drool on the keyboard
Pick Your Steak
Naturally, before you can cook a perfect steak, you need to have a steak! The various cuts will be more or less tender and yield different flavors. Take your pick according to your preference and budget.
- The sirloin is regarded as a choice cut. Like filet mignon, it’s extremely tender, but it’s also full of flavor. Cook it medium-rare for the best results.
- The T-bone is not to be confused with the porterhouse, though they are very close. Learn more about the two. Finish them in the oven to ensure an even cooking.
- The rib-eye, either boneless or on the bone, is known by amateurs as the côte de boeuf.
- The filet mignon is famous for its tenderness. It’s the most expensive cut. Best served rare.
- The flank steak, otherwise known as bavette, is ideal for barbecuing.
- The rump steak is full of flavor. It can be flash fried or barbecued.
- The hanger steak, or onglet, is best served rare.
What Pan to Use
If you’re cooking indoor, your best bet is to fry your steak, though you can also grill it, according to your preference.
Use a frying pan with a thick base, cast iron skillet, or griddle pan for best results. These are pans that can handle and retain the heat, which make them great to give that smoky aspect to the outside of the meat.
Make sure to cook your steak in a pan that has enough room for it. Only stick to cooking one or two cuts at a time. Then you can let them sit while you cook the rest.
The best seasoning will depend on your personal preference. If you’re a purist, you might want to only add a sprinkle of salt with an ample amount of pepper. That way, you can really take in all the flavor of your steak without interference.
But you might otherwise prefer to make a marinade with your meat, to improve on its flavor or tenderize it. Balsamic vinegar and honey with mustard are popular ways of marinading your meat that will give your meat a nice, sweet glaze.
When it comes to salting, it can be done a few hours before cooking. The thicker the cut, the more you can salt it in advance.
This goes against the persistent belief that salting in advance will draw out the moisture. In fact, salting ahead of time will allow your steak to absorb the salt for a more even seasoning.
For a great pepper steak, start by sprinkling lots of black pepper and salt onto a plate, and then press the meat into it just before cooking it.
A great tip to subtly enhance the flavor of your meat is to add whole garlic cloves and herbs such as rosemary or thyme to the hot fat of the pan as the steak is cooking.
The Best Fat for Cooking
Before cooking the steak, heat the oil. You want it to start splitting in the pan, but not smoke yet, so use your best judgement.
The best oils are ones without flavor, such as sunflower, groundnut, or vegetable. Heat the oil first, and add the steak. When the steak is searing, put some butter in the pan for added flavor.
If your cut has fat on the side, you can start by searing only the fat by holding your steak above the pan. Then cook your meat.
How to Sear Properly
Knowing how to sear properly can be the difference between an average steak and a perfect one. If you do it right, you can give your steak a caramelized crust full of flavor.
You have to make sure your pan and fat are hot enough, so use your hottest setting. Then, most people sear it on one side, and cook it for the same duration on the other side.
But, if you want the best results, you’ll have to turn the steak over every minute, and do it for the duration of the cooking. This is to make sure you get the same crust on both sides.
The ideal cooking time is determined by the size and thickness of your steak. If you don’t know how long to cook your cut, ask your butcher for tips.
- If you cook your meat blue, it’ll retain a dark color, and will be just warm. It’ll have a squishy texture.
- If it’s cooked rare, it’ll be dark red and render some red juice. It should be soft and squishy.
- Cook it medium-rare to give it more of a pink color and have some juice. It’ll start feeling somewhat springy.
- Medium cooking will eliminate almost all the juice, and the inside of your meat will be a pale pink. The texture will be firmer.
- If your steak is well-done, the pink will hardly be noticeable, but the meat shouldn’t be dry.
Resting Your Steak
Once your steak is cooked, let it rest at room temperature for about five minutes, or more for a thicker cut. Don’t worry, your steak won’t lose its warmth that fast.
Resting the meat allows it to reabsorb the juices, which will make it more tender. Pour the remainder of the juices on the meat prior to serving.
There You Have It: The Perfect Steak
With this article, you are now equipped to cook the perfect steak without fail every time.
You’ll want to get a quality cut first. Season it a couple of hours before cooking, and then make sure your oil is hot before searing it.
Watch it the entire time, turning it over every minute. Finally, don’t forget to let it rest for a bit before serving. And then… enjoy your perfect steak!
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