Have you ever been to a restaurant and tasted the most tender and juiciest steak? Have you tried to recreate the steak and ended up with a dry and tough steak?
The first time I tried to cook a steak, it was horrible. I made the mistake of overcrowding my pan. Some steaks were cooked too little or while others cooked too much. It's safe to say it was a disaster. But I did not let this disaster deter me from learning how to cook the perfect steak.
I kept trying, and over the years, I learned how to cook the perfect steak. To cook the perfect steak, you must know where steak originated from.
Where Did Steak Come From?
Do you like trying foods you've never heard of before without any explanation? Of course not! Had you received a brief synopsis of the culture and nature surrounding the food, you would have been more open to trying it.
Steak originated in Florence, Italy, in 1565. They held cross-cultural celebrations similar to the feast of St. Lawrence on August 10th. Sliced meats were cooked over an open flame and served to the public. Hereafter, the steak was born.
Steak is a high-quality cut of meat "generally sliced across the muscle fibers, potentially including a bone."
Why is steak so special?
Steak is top-notch when compared to other meats. There is no restaurant dedicated to pork or turkey, but there is a steakhouse. Steak has a tender, juicy, incomparable flavour that no other meat can stand up to.
Steak is the heavyweight champion of meat because of its marbling. Marbling is the small white flecks or streaks on a freshly cut slice of beef. These small pouches of fat dissolve while cooking, giving the steak it's signature moist and tender texture.
How to Cook the Perfect Steak
Learning how to cook the perfect steak is easy once you've had some practice. Follow these tips to make the perfect steak that is flavourful, juicy, and delicious.
1. Know Your Cuts of Beef
Browsing through the meat section of the grocery store for the perfect steak can be overwhelming. There are so many cuts of meat to choose from. How would you know which steak is the best cut of meat? Grasping cook times and the outcomes produced by each cut of beef help make the process of choosing a steak easier.
- T-bone: Tender juicy cut of meat, with varying flavours and textures. Steaks sliced from the short loin section of the animal. Two kinds of meat. Tenderloin and strip steak work together to create the unique textures of a T-bone steak.
- Porterhouse Steak: Meaty, rich flavour. Mostly cooked in a cast iron pan to give it a lovely sear and limit cook time. Related to the T-bone steak. It is bigger than the T-bone steak, and can be up to three inches thick. Cut from the same section of the animal and has a tenderloin and strip steak.
- Rib-Eye Steak: Extremely flavourful and tender. Cut from the prime rib section of the animal. Ridiculous fat content creates an amazing blend of flavour and texture.
- Tenderloin Steak:
- Sirloin Steak:
- Striploin Steak:
- Tenderloin Steak:
- Filet Mignon: Heavyweight contender in the steak household. Extremely tender, especially when wrapped in bacon and seared in butter. Cut from a segment of the tenderloin adjacent to the ribs.
- Flat Iron Steak:
2. Choose a thick cut of meat
Ultimately you want to choose a thick cut of meat. A thick cut of meat allows you to control the temperature of your steak. A thin piece of meat is easy to overcook.
3. Let your meat come to room temperature.
Placing a cold cut of meat into a hot will prevent heat from seeping into the center of the steak. The outside will cook quickly before the inside reaches the desired temperature. Pull your meat out of the fridge an hour or two and let it come to room temperature.
4. Dry the surface of your meat
Remove the moisture from your meat. Moisture equals steam. Steam will interrupt you from developing a beautiful golden-brown crust.
Contrary to popular belief salt in advance will not remove the moisture from steak. Depending on the thickness of your cut of meat, salt the meat 2 hours in advance.
If you desire a classic steak, dust a plate with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Press the steak into the seasonings then place it into a hot pan.
6. Use a Cast-iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets are great conductors of heat. Some pans or grills have hot points that can cause your meat to cook unevenly. Cooking steak in a cast-iron skillet eliminates scorching and prevents your meat from losing those wonderful and pan drippings. You can use the drippings to baste the steak for a layer of added flavour.
7. Know Your Cooking Times
People cook steaks to different temperatures to achieve certain textures and flavors. Do you prefer a steak that is soft or chewy? Cooking times and temperatures include:
Rare Steak: Very soft to the touch. Cooked on the outside with a deep red colour on the inside and an internal temperature of 57C.
Medium Rare: Slightly bouncy to the touch. Mild red colour oozing with juicy beefy goodness. Has a temperature of 75C
Well Done: Firm to the touch. Charred on the exterior, grayish-brown colour inside with a temperature of 75 C.
8. Sear your Meat
Whether you are using a grill pan or cast-iron skillet, make sure the pan is very hot! A pan will give you a nice sear that locks in all the lovely juices of the steak. Use a pan that has enough room to cook two or more steaks. Crowding your pan will cause your meat to sear and cook unevenly.
9. Baste your meat
A lot of chefs flavor their steaks with rosemary, garlic, or thyme. They add their herbs to the hot fat to give the steak additional flavor without taking the spotlight off of the steak.
10. Let Your Steak Rest
Cutting your steak after you have just taken it off the stove is an atrocity. If you slice your steak when it has immediately after removing it from the heat, you will lose all of the delicious juices you worked so hard to create in the searing process. You will have a dry steak. Giving your steak a 5-minute resting period will ensure that your steak remains moist, juicy, and tender.
The perfect steak is easy to achieve. Understanding the history, cook times and temperatures of steak will increase your chances of cooking a great steak. These ten tips will help you make a steak that is the star of the show.