A well-cooked steak is one of the finest things known to man, but if done badly, it can also be one of the worst culinary experiences imaginable. It’s not particularly difficult to cook the perfect steak but it does take some preparation and a little effort. With the right steak and the right products the results though are well worth it and will make your dinner parties and barbeques the envy of your friends. For more information on how to weight a steak click here
Like everything else, red meat should be enjoyed in moderation, for more health advice see nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/red-meat.aspx.
Always allow your steaks to get to room temperature before you begin to cook it. Even better, wrap them in cling film and soak them in a pan of warm water for half an hour to an hour.
Whether you soak your meat or just leave it to get to the ambient temperature, always dry it before cooking. Wet steak won’t form a crust and can taste boiled which no one wants, so pat the steak dry before continuing. If you’ve left your meat to get to room temperature, it may have dried naturally.
There’s a controversial schoool of thought that says we shouldn’t salt steaks, but this is very much a minority view. The vast majority of chefs would recommend salting a steak, either before cooking or halfway through.
Most chefs use some fat to fry the steak and opinions differ on which is best. Some brush the meat with olive oil or a little clarified butter, others add butter, oil or lard to the pan.
The best way to cook a steak is with NO additional fat. If the steak is good enough (and there’s no point buying cheap steak) it should contain a good vein of fat which will prevent the meat from sticking. (If you’d like to see a range of non stick frying pans online click here)
If you like the flavour of olive oil or butter, add some to the pan once the meat is brown or after it has finished cooking.
Steak is an occasional indulgence for most people so there’s no need to worry about a little fat. If you have health concerns, you can see the latest advice on fat intake here: nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx.
Always cook your steak on a medium to high heat. If you prefer a charred taste, superheat the pan first, add the steak and then turn down the heat. Use chunky steaks, at least 4cm thick but preferably 6cm. With thin steaks you can’t get that contrast between the crispy, black outside and jucy, pink interior.
It almost goes without saying that the only way to eat steak should be rare, but you should accomodate your more squeamish guests – not too much though!
In my opinion, ribeye is the king of steaks but again, there’s no accounting for taste.
Try not to flip the steak too often and don’t be afraid to press it down. Thin steaks will only need flipping once, but thicker steaks may need more. You need to find a balance between flipping regularly to avoid incinerating the steak and achieving that lovely caramelised finish.