With only a few minutes leeway between rare and well-done, timing is key when cooking the perfect steak. Sounds intimidating? Relax, read up, and let us show you how to cook the perfect steak.
Cooking the perfect steak requires simple techniques that need to be executed with precision. This small room for error is probably what puts a lot of people off cooking steak at home. Most are happy to pay good money for the perfectly cooked steak. But once you learn how to cook the perfect steak, you won’t look back.
A few things to consider
First thing to consider is the steak itself. When you’re cooking a simple recipe or with a minimal amount of ingredients, there is no place to hide. So it’s imperative that you choose good quality ingredients, in this case beef.
Sirloin, also known as porterhouse or New York steak, is hugely favoured by many for its tenderness, richness, and juiciness. Eye fillet or tenderloin is also supremely tender and lean with a subtle flavour. Rump steak has a strong beef flavour with a firm texture while rib eye also has a rich flavour but is more tender. T-bone, on the other hand, marries tenderness and juiciness as the fillet and sirloin are on either side.
Whatever cut you choose, make sure that the meat is fresh, firm, has good marbling if preferred, and has consistent thickness so it cooks evenly.
The next decision to make is what cookware piece to use. A frypan or skillet provides more contact with the heat source, while a grill or grill pan creates delicious grill marks and caramelisation. Either way, remember to ensure your meat actually fits comfortably in the pan!
Cast iron is a fantastic choice for cooking the perfect steak. Cast iron has remarkable heat retention so once it’s hot, it stays hot. It’s suitable for high-heat cooking, which is essential for searing steak. Cast iron is also incredibly versatile; you can use it on the stovetop then stick it in the oven to continue cooking. Cast iron ticks all the boxes when it comes to cooking steak.
The final bit is making sure that you rest your steak at room temperature for at least five minutes after cooking and before you cut into it. Whilst resting, meat fibres will re-absorb free-running juices, resulting in a moist and tender finish to your steak.
Now let’s get into how to cook the perfect steak.
Step 1: TEMPER. Bring the steak to room temperature.
Step 2: PRE-HEAT. Heat the grill or frying pan to a high temperature. A hot grill or pan is key to achieving great results.
Step 3: SEASON. Rub with salt, pepper, oil, garlic, and herbs.
Step 4: TIMING. If pan-frying, don’t be tempted to put your steak in too early. If the oil in the pan is too cool, your meat could turn out greasy and under-browned. Your steak must sizzle when you put it in the pan.
Step 5: GRILL. Cook to medium-rare (or to your liking), turning every minute for about 6 minutes.
Step 6: REST. A cooked steak should rest at room temperature for at least five minutes to re-absorb juices and stay moist.
Step 7: CUT. Use a good quality sharp knife to cut into the steak. Serve with excess juices for a tender, more flavoursome steak.
How to tell if your steak is cooked perfectly
Blue. The steak should still be a dark colour, almost purple, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance.
Rare. The steak will be a dark red in colour with juices flowing. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance.
Medium-rare. The steak will have a pink colour with a bit of pink juices flowing. It will be slightly soft and spongy.
Medium. The steak will be a pale pink colour in the middle with hardly any juices flowing. It will feel firm and springy.
Well-done: The steak will only have a trace of pink colour but not dry. It will feel spongy and soft and slightly springy.