How To Cook Steak Perfectly

Saturday 31 October 2009

How To Cook Steak Perfectly 

 A lot of people are quite intimidated when it comes to cooking steak. Cooking a steak to perfection is not really all that hard . . . as long as you follow a few rules. 

 I'm really lucky to live in the UK, where the beef is considered to be some of the best in the world. Top quality meat, marbled with plenty of fat for beef and lamb is essential for successful broiling, grilling and pan frying. 

 It goes without saying that, if you want the perfect steak, you have to first start out with the perfect cut of meat. 

 For panfrying, broiling or grilling, I wouldn't recommend anything less than a good quality sirloin, rib eye or filet steak. Steak that has been properly aged on the bone will give you the best flavour. 

 I also like to start with meat that is at room temperature, so take your steaks out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking or longer if possible. Some cooks eschew seasoning the meat prior to cooking. 

I am a firm believer, however, in salting the meat prior to cooking, as the heat helps to seal in the salt, allowing it to penetrate and really flavour the surface of the meat. That old idea about the salt drawing out the moisture and meat juices, is just hoaky to me. 

 If pan frying, which is my preferred method, you want to use a really heavy skillet, heated to a hot temperature. Brush your seasoned meat with some butter, and then place it in the hot pan. 

 Cook for several minutes to sear the first side, and then flip over and finish searing it on the second side. 

 Don't turn your steak any more than once. Turning it over and over, is what causes the meat juices to release and your steak ends up stewing instead of frying.  

Finger Test for cooking steaks

 I prefer my steaks medium rare. This finger test is a simple way to judge the doneness of a piece of meat. The further your thumb has to move across your hand, the more resilient the ball of the muscle becomes.

The amount of resistance felt by your opposing finger when compared against the same finger pressed onto your meat is an excellent gauge in guessing as to how done your meat is. 

 First finger stage: for blue meat and lightly cooked fish. 
 Touch your thumb to it's opposing first finger and press the ball of your thumb with the tip of a finger of the other hand, the ball will offer no resistance. The surface should be seared in steak, and firm, and the beads of meat juice not yet risen to the surface. The meat is rare to almost blue when cut with a mild flavour. 

  Second finger stage: for rare meat. 
 Touch your second finger to your thumb and press the ball of your thumb. The ball will feel spongy. The meat should be well browned and spongy when pressed in the centre. It should be firm at the sides and any beads of juice on the surface should be deep pink. The meat when cut is read, juicy and aromatic. 

  Third finger stage: For medium cooked meat, game or duck, or well done fish. 
 Touch your third finger to your thumb and press the ball of your thumb. The ball will feel resilient. The surface should be crusty brown and the meat should resist when the centre is pressed. Firm at the side, the juices on the surface should be pink, and when cut the meat is juicy, deep pink and well flavoured. 

  Fourth finger stage: For well done meat, or poultry. 
 Touch your fourth finger to your thumb and press the ball of your thumb. The ball will feel firm. The surface of the meat will be crusty brown and dry and the meat will feel quite firm when touched in the centre. Beads of juice on the surface of the meat will be clear and when cut no pink juices will be visible.  

You may also be interested in learning how to cut tri tips into your perfect eating steak. For tips on how to cut tri tips there is a really great tutorial for you to follow. I love trip tip steak. Its filled with flavour, but there can be a bit of confusion in knowing how to handle it properly.

  How To Cook Steak Perfectly 

 I like to serve my steaks with some tasty fried mushrooms. Very easy to do. 

 Just slice the mushrooms, melt a knob of butter in the pan and then add the mushrooms. Don't agitate the pan at all. Allow the mushrooms to sear and brown. In short leave them alone.

 Stirring releases to much of their juices and, once again, they stew. If you leave them alone and only stir them once they have begun to really brown, you will be rewarded with nicely browned, juicy and flavorful mushrooms. I wait to season them at the end. 

 Following these few simple rules and techniques should help you to cook the perfect steak every time, and if you still manage to mess it up, well . . . here's the perfect sauce to serve with your steak, whether you have cooked it to perfection . . . or not. 

 It is delicious can enhance a really well cooked steak or cover a multitude of sins!

  classic steak a poivre sauce 

  *Classic Steak Au Poivre Sauce* 
Serves 2 generously

 This classic sauce is not only delicious when you have a perfectly cooked steak to serve, but is also an excellent cover-up for beef that is overcooked, tough, or lacking in flavour. 

 2 TBS whole black peppercorns 
175ml good red wine 
174ml double cream 
1 TBS cognac 
salt to taste 

 Place the peppercorns in a heavy ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. Place in the saucepan and add the wine. Cook and boil until reduced to 2 TBS. Whisk in the cream and cognac and heat until quite warm. Season to taste with salt

. Classic Steak Au Poivre Sauce 

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  1. This is so nice! really nice! I have to learn, some things about meat, thanks for sharing my dear, send you huggs and kisses, love yah! gloria

  2. Every day, Marie, you just make my mouth water--and make me want to improve my cooking/baking skills! Thanks for your beautiful inspiration and wonderful recipes--and thanks for visiting me and being so kind--I love your visits!

  3. Looks absolutely delicious!

  4. Hi Marie! This is great information! I love steak and I make Rib Eye as that is our favorite and I too like my steak medium rare! I copied and paste all the info but wondered if there was a way for you to make this printable. Thank you for all the information and for sharing your love of cooking and baking! Hugs

    1. Here you go Cynthia. Ask and ye shall receive! Thanks also for your kind comments.


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