How to cook a good steak

How to choose meat for steak:

1. Only take beef

Just in case: only beef has the right to be called a steak. No pork, lamb, or even less chicken! This is a fundamental point.

2. Decide in advance what kind of steak you want

If you think "steak is steak," you're wrong. There are about a dozen types of this fried meat. Basically, they can be divided into three groups:


Marbled steaks. Cooked from so-called marbled meat: tender, soft, mottled with veins of fat parts of the back and sirloin (thin and thick edge). This type of steak includes the popular ribeye and strip steak.

Lenten steaks. Cooked from the loin. Also distinguished by tenderness, but at the expense of less fat are slightly less caloric. These include, for example, filet mignon and chateaubriand.

Alternative steaks. Cooked from other parts of the beef carcass: shoulder blade, flank and so on. These steaks are less fatty and soft, rarely have the right shape and may contain tendons. They are more likely to suit fans of "real" meat that you can tear with your teeth... This type of steaks includes flank, skirt, top-blade and so on.


Only after deciding what kind of flavor and nutritional characteristics you want, go for the meat.

3. Don't just buy beef pulp

Partly a repeat of the previous point. The rules are rigid: to get exactly the steak you want, you have to choose meat from quite specific parts of the carcass. The skirt steak is always the pork chop. The top steak is the shoulder blade. Ribeye and striploin are the back and sirloin. Filet mignon is made only from the tenderloin and nothing else!

4. Don't get wise

If you are not an expert in choosing and cooking meat, it is better to limit yourself to the classic, most popular and easiest to prepare types of steaks - marbled (ribeye) and lean (filet mignon). The premium parts of the carcass from which they are prepared will be quite edible including inexpensive meat.


Alternative steaks, on the other hand, will only be tasty if they are made from really good, seasoned, grain-fed bovine meat.

5. Check the quality of the meat before purchase

Ribeye steak meat should be soft and marbled, that is, with distinguishable veins of fat.


The quality of meat for filet mignon can be checked as follows. Press the loin with your finger: it should yield easily, but as soon as you remove your finger it should quickly return to its former shape.



We will not talk about the quality of meat for other types of steaks now: it is difficult for a layman to determine the necessary characteristics, so it is better to stop at the classics.

6. Frozen meat is allowed

But it is important to take it only from proven sellers, so as not to run into a "second-fresh product" or the wrong part of the carcass.


Keep in mind that this option will require proper defrosting. In no case do not defrost the meat in the microwave or in the sun: the temperature jumps will lead to the loss of precious juice, and this will worsen the taste of the future steak.


Approximately one day before the planned roasting, put the beef from the freezer in the main compartment of the refrigerator. This way the meat will become soft, but it will not lose its juiciness.


In general, you can not defrost the meat at all.


How to prepare the meat for roasting

1. Cut the meat perpendicular to the fibers


Culinary experiments prove that steak sliced across the muscle fibers is much softer. The ideal thickness of each piece is 2.5 to 4 cm.

2. Allow the meat to come to room temperature.

This is important for future even roasting. If you have time, simply take the meat out of the refrigerator 2-3 hours before cooking and it will warm up on its own.


If there is no time, wrap the future steak in clingfilm and drop it for 20-30 minutes in warm (30-35 ° C) water.

3.Or do just the opposite: freeze the steak before grilling.

It sounds original, but as the experiment shows, the result is unexpectedly interesting: a very juicy steak with a tender pink core.


The point is that the meat loses some of its juices while defrosting. And if it falls on the heated pan frozen, it is instantly covered with the crust, which fixes the juice inside.

4. Marinate only when necessary

Don't marinate if you plan to cook a classic sirloin or marbled steak - the same ribeye or filet mignon. Due to their softness and juiciness, they are good in their natural - just with salt and pepper - form. Marinade can overpower the taste and add a certain viscosity to the steak.


Another thing is if you still decide to take a risk and cook an alternative steak. In this case, marinade is desirable, otherwise the meat at the output will be too tough. There are many marinades, choose according to your taste.

5. Dry the meat thoroughly

Before frying, blot the meat with a paper towel to remove all excess moisture from the surface. If you don't get rid of the liquid, the steak in the pan will cook rather than fry.


To remove the moisture for sure, you can sprinkle the raw meat with cornstarch.


And a way for perfectionists. Take a disposable form of foil, pierce it in several places with wooden skewers (so that inside the form you have a kind of grid) and put the meat wrapped in a paper napkin on this grid. Let it stand like this in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. A perfectly dry surface is guaranteed.


However, if you have a rack, you can do without the skewers.

6. Let the meat get a little weathered.

Let it sit in the air for at least 20-30 minutes. During this time, the meat will be weathered around the edges and covered in a light crust that will keep the juices inside the piece when roasting.

7. Do not salt or pepper!

Of course, this recommendation again applies to classic premium steaks, which are cooked without marinade. It is better to salt and pepper such meat after cooking.


If you salt the steak in the process of frying, the meat juices will penetrate to the outside. As a result, you will get a tougher cut than you could.


Here we make a remark: many people neglect this recommendation, because they prefer exactly this kind of meat, a little bit tough. Experiment. In this case, you can rely on your own sense of taste.


If we are talking about alternative steaks, they should either marinate, or salt and pepper and olive oil before grilling.


What else needs to be done before frying a steak

1. Choose the right frying pan

The ideal choice is a grill pan or a regular frying pan with a thick bottom (cast iron would be good). A thick-bottomed frying pan ensures that it will hold the temperature at the same level for a long time after it's heated.



If the bottom of the frying pan is thin, it will cool quickly. This means that the meat is not fried, but rather cooked in its own juice.

2. Think about the choice of butter

Butter adds fatness (softness) and flavor to meat. Which one would you like? Some recommend frying in olive oil, adding a little butter closer to the finish.


Others recommend Food Tips: How to Cook the Perfect Steak an exotic, liquid peanut butter: it has a mild flavor that will give the steak tenderness and originality.

However, if you're making a ribeye or other marbled steak, extra fat is not necessary. It's up to you, but approach this point consciously.


Another important point is the boiling (smoking) temperature of the Smoke point oil. If the fat smokes, it will give the steak an unpleasant taste. Therefore it makes sense to choose vegetable oils for frying which boil at a higher temperature.


For example, unrefined sunflower and linseed oils are not suitable for cooking steaks. They begin to smoke at 107 ° C, while the temperature of a well heated pan is 150 ° C and higher. Extra virgin olive oil and unrefined peanut oil tolerate up to 160ºC. Butter, coconut oil, and unrefined sesame oil do not smoke up to 170 ° C.


Refined sunflower and avocado oils are excellent options: they begin to smoke after 200 °

3. Get a thermo-needle or learn how to do without one

The degree to which a steak is done is determined by the temperature inside the meat. The easiest way to measure it is with a thermometer-needle.


Generally accepted grill degrees are as follows:


38 ° C and higher - raw / blue (steak with blood);

48 ° C and higher - rare (very rare);

52 ° C and higher - medium rare (slightly fried);

58 ° C and higher - medium (normally fried);

63 °C and higher - medium well (well done);

74° C - well done (very well done).

If you do not have a needle handy, you can roughly determine the level of cooking by pressing the meat with your finger.


Steaks blue and rare feel like the muscle tissue at the base of your thumb: Press it with the index finger of your other hand and feel soft.


If you squeeze the tips of your thumb and index finger, the muscle tightens and the base of the thumb feels like a medium rare steak. The thumb and middle finger are medium. The thumb and ring finger are medium well.


Well, when you put your thumb and little finger together, you'll feel about the same pressure as when you press steak well done.


How to cook steak

1. Pre-roast the steak in the oven

This How-To Reverse Sear A Steak will give you the most evenly cooked steak with no gray, overcooked meat around the edges.


Place the steak on a baking tray and bake at 90-95°C for 30-60 minutes, depending on how rare you want your steak to be.


If you want a steak with blood, you can omit the pre-butchering episode in the oven.



By the way, you can use a similar method to restore the flavor of a steak that has already been cooked but has cooled and lain on. Place it in the oven at 120 ° C for about 30 minutes, and then pan-fry on both sides to return the crispness.

2. Heat the frying pan.

Let it stand on high heat for at least 8-10 minutes. Preferably more. Chef Alinea in Chicago, for example, recommends 12 Unexpected (But Totally Legit) Tricks For Making The Best Steak to heat a cast iron skillet for half an hour!


Then add the oil, wait a few more minutes for it to warm up, and only then lay out the steak.

3. fry steak at high temperature.

1.5-2 minutes on each side, depending on the desired color of the crust. During frying, the protein - especially on the surface of the piece of meat - curdles and turns into a kind of film that blocks the escape of liquid. This means that the steak roasted on high heat will remain juicy on the inside.


Only then turn down the heat to low, cover the meat and let stand another 1-5 minutes - depending on the desired degree of cooking. This recommendation applies to fatty and juicy marbled steaks.


Check readiness with a thermo-needle or your finger. Do not cut the steak or pierce it with a knife, because the juice will run out of the meat.


If we are talking about leaner sirloin steaks, the technology will have nuances. After properly frying the steak on both sides until golden crust, add a little more oil (for example, butter), and - if desired - your favorite spices (the same garlic) and herbs (rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage ...) to the pan. Reduce the temperature to medium and continue to fry the meat on both sides, pouring out the juices. In this way the steak will be properly cooked.

4. Cook to the desired degree of doneness in the oven.

Steaks cooked to medium rare or very well with the lid on. If you want a really rare steak, put it in a preheated 180ºC oven right after you brown it in the oil on all sides.


Time of keeping meat in the oven depends on the desired level of cooking:


medium rare - 4 minutes is enough;

medium - 7 minutes;

medium well - 10 minutes;

well done - 14 minutes.


How and with what to serve steak

1. Let the steak rest for 3 to 5 minutes.


High temperatures shrink the top layers of meat, fixing the juice inside. If you cut the steak right away, the juice will simply leak onto the plate. Wait up to 5 minutes: just enough time for the top layers of meat to expand and also become juiced.

2. Serve hot!

This is one of the basic rules for serving steak. In this case, the meat is a separate dish, simple and straightforward. For its taste to be revealed most fully, the steak must be hot.

3. For fatty, juicy steaks, choose a minimum of spices.

A sprig of rosemary or a clove of garlic is enough for the same ribeye: the hot meat will quickly absorb the flavor. Parsley, thyme and coriander also enhance the flavor of the steak.

4. Lenten steaks need sauce.

Sirloin, from which filet mignon is prepared, is a very tender meat, literally melting in the mouth. But at the same time it is rather tasteless, and therefore such a steak is always served with sauce.

5. The best side dish is vegetables

Fresh or grilled. This is the perfect side dish for steak from a nutritional point of view.


Thanks for reading my article! I hope I helped you with cooking steaks! Have a nice day!


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