Impress your guests (and yourself!) by mastering the art of cooking the perfect steak.
Whether your preference is a butter-soft fillet steak, flavour-packed sirloin or a juicy rib-eye, your full care and attention should be taken when cooking your steak. Timing is everything when you only have a few minutes between rare and well-done.
Here are some handy tips to help you cook and enjoy restaurant-quality steak, to your liking, every time!
The Golden Rules
1. Heat the pan, barbecue or grill to moderately hot before you add the steaks. This ensures maximum flavour and tenderness. The steak should sizzle as it makes contact with the heat. Don’t crowd the pan as this reduces the heat and the meat will then release its juices and begin to stew.
2. Turn the steaks once only. The more you flip the steak, the tougher it gets. Let the steak cook on one side until moisture appears on top, then turn it.
3. Learn to test when your steaks are done. Knowing when your steak is ready to be removed from the heat is the key to a perfectly cooked steak. Use either the back of your tongs or fingertip (clean hands please) and press the centre of the steak. Rare is soft when pressed, medium is springy and well done is very firm.
4. Always rest the steaks after they come off the heat. This keeps the steaks juicy and tender. Just loosely cover with foil before serving.
Step By Step Guide
Take the steaks out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature about an hour before cooking. If you throw it straight from the fridge into the pan, the heat won’t penetrate the centre of the meat as efficiently.
Heat your BBQ grill or pan. A heavy-duty, thick-based pan will achieve the best results, as will a griddle pan or cast iron skillet. These types of pans get really hot and retain their heat – ideal for getting that charred smoky finish to the outside of your meat.
And remember – oil the steak, not the pan!
Contrary to popular belief, seasoning your steak with salt ahead of time doesn’t draw out the moisture but actually gives the steak time to absorb the salt and become more evenly seasoned throughout. Rub your meat with oil, salt and a crunch of pepper if you desire.
Flavourless oils like sunflower, vegetable or groundnut work best, and once the steak is searing you can add butter to the pan for flavour.
Add your steak to the hot pan. If the heat is too low, your meat will stew rather than fry – not good!
For medium-rare steak, cook your meat for 6 minutes, turning your steak halfway. Don’t prod, squash or move around your steak, and always use tongs to handle as they won’t pierce the meat and allow the juices to escape.
Remove steak from the pan. Use your fingers to check whether it has cooked as desired – when rare it will feel soft, medium-rare will be lightly bouncy, and well-done will be much firmer. Rub a little extra virgin olive oil or butter on it for an even juicier steak.
Make sure you leave your steak to rest on a board or warm plate for about 5 mins to collect all the lovely juices and allow the muscle fibres to relax, which ensures your steak is tender.
It’s very important to consider the size and weight of your steak before calculating the cooking time. Meat with a bone (t-bone or rib-eye) will need to cook for slightly longer than a fillet or something thin like a skirt steak.
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