How to cook the perfect steak

Look in the current Better Homes and Gardens magazine for this article.

Basics –How to cook the perfect steak

 

Crisp and caramelised on the outside, juicy and tender within, the perfect steak can be yours, any night of the week. Follow these easy steps to find out how.

1. Choose your steak

 

There are several choice cuts from which to choose:

Eye fillet/beef tenderloin –cut from the loin. The most tender piece of meat, with a mild flavour.

Sirloin/Porterhouse-cut from the thicker end of the loin. Very tender and highly prized cut with just the right amount of fat and marbling.

T-bone steak-cut from the short loin. Contains both the striploin (porterhouse) and tenderloin (eye fillet) with a t shaped bone in between. The best of both worlds with a bone to keep the meat moist.

Rib eye/ Scotch fillet- from the rib section of the beef. Can be cut with the bone in. Lovely marbling, tender and great flavour.

Rump- cut from the rump section, this steak is considered to have the best flavour, however it is not as tender.

2. Bring the steak to room temperature

Take the steak out of the fridge, season with salt and pepper, cover loosely and allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Brush with oil

Brush the steak with a little olive oil as this will stop it from sticking to the pan. It will help to seal the surface and ensure that it caramelises to a lovely deep brown colour, giving more flavour. Any marbling (little streaks of fat running through the meat) will help the meat remain moist during cooking.

 

4. Preheat the grill or pan to very high heat

It is really important to get your pan or grill as hot as you can. Don’t add oil to the pan as it will smoke and burn. Use a heavy based pan or cast iron grill. A hot barbecue is perfect.

5. Cook on both sides following the times below:

Don’t be tempted to turn the steaks until good searing marks are achieved. The meat is ready to turn when it comes away easily from the grill. Thicker steaks can be turned several times, as this helps ensure even cooking whilst keeping the meat moist.

Based on a 2 cm thick sirloin/porterhouse steak in a very hot grill pan:

Blue                                    -1 minute each side

Rare                                    -1 ½ minutes each side

Medium rare                        -2 minutes each side

Medium                        -2 ¼ minutes each side

Medium well-done            -2 ½ -3 minutes each side

For a failsafe test, use a digital instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat:

Rare                                    35C

Medium rare                        45C

Medium                        55C

Medium well done            75C

 

No thermometer? Use the tried and true “thumb to finger test” for doneness:

Test the steak by pressing with your finger. The more yielding under pressure, the rarer the steak.

Use the little trick of feeling the fleshy base of your thumb as you touch it to the fingers of your hand:

thumb to index finger                         -rare

thumb to middle finger            -medium rare

thumb to ring finger                        -medium

thumb to little finger                         -medium well done

This is what the steak will feel like when you press it with your finger too.

 

6. Allow the steak to rest.

You must let the steak rest for about 3 minutes to allow the juices that have been drawn to the surface to relax back into the meat. Cover with foil to prevent heat from escaping.

Grilled steak with Café de Paris butter

 

You can make the butter ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. It’s a very useful recipe when you have leftover herbs. Simply slice and serve over any variety of grilled meats or fish. Also delicious over hot, boiled potatoes.

preparation time: 10 minutes + 2 hours refrigerating

cooking time: 6 minutes

serves 4

250g unsalted butter, softened

50g parsley, finely chopped

20g tarragon, finely chopped

5 g sage, finely chopped

10g basil, finely chopped

1 eschalot, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced

4 anchovy fillets

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp curry powder

4 x sirloin steaks

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

French fries to serve

Fresh green salad, to serve

Make the herb butter first: mix the butter with the herbs, eschalot, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice and curry powder.

Place a sheet of cling film on the kitchen bench and pile the butter mixture on top. Shape into a log, then roll into a cylinder, tucking in the ends of the cling film.

Chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or freeze).

Season steaks with salt and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature.

Heat grill pan over high heat until really hot. Brush steaks with oil, then cook steak for 2-3 minutes each side, or until done to your liking.

Remove from heat and rest for 3 minutes, lightly covered with foil.

Place on serving plate with a thick slice of herb butter.

Serve with French fries and salad.

serves 4.

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