How to cook a steak

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Whether you enjoy a t-bone steak, a fillet, a sirloin or a rib-eye, the method for cooking them is the same. The best steaks start with the trip to the butcher or supermarket: buy the best quality meat you can find.

– There is no need to oil the meat or the pan  – oil burns and if you are brave and prepared to let the steak cook on one side without moving it, you will find that as the meat sears, it forms a robust seal and won’t stick. If you nudge the meat or move it too soon, the surface will tear and stick to the pan. Try it and see. You need to leave the meat for at least 2 minutes on one side before you attempt to lift it off the pan. If it feels stubborn, leave it for another 20-30 seconds and try again.

– If you marinate the meat in oil and herbs, remove any excess oil and herbs from the meat as they will burn.

– Heat the pan as high as you can – don’t use a non-stick pan as you can’t heat it high enough without the possibility of it giving off fumes. Use a cast-iron skillet or copper frying pan but don’t oil it.

If you want your steak rare, cook it over high heat to an internal temperature of 50C, take it out of the pan and leave it to rest, lightly covered in tin foil, and measure the internal temperature with a meat thermometer again after 5-10 minutes or until it reaches 60C.

If you cook the steak to an internal temperature of 53C in the pan and remove it, rest it for 5-10 minutes, it will continue to cook and you will end up with medium-rare steak.

For medium, cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 61C and leave it to rest, covered, until the thermometer reaches 71C.

– For a well-done steak, take the meat off the pan at 67C and leave it to rest until it reaches 77C.

– If you find the steak is not cooked enough when you remove it from the pan and rest it, pop it back in the pan and sear it again on both sides quickly. Remove, cover, let it rest and measure the temperature again.

– It is very important when you are cooking meat that you sear all sides of the meat. Lift the meat up with a tongs and hold the fatty edges of the steak against the pan until they are seared.

– Don’t puncture the steak during cooking with a knife or fork or the juices will leak out and you’ll end up with a dry steak. Always use a tongs to lift the meat.

Testing the done-ness of a steak by eye and touch
– You can also test the doneness of meat with your fingertip. If the steak is rare, it will feel soft and fleshy. As it turns to medium-rare you will see droplets of bloody juice appearing on the surface.

– When it reaches medium-rare, the surface will ‘spring’ back when you touch it. The juices emerging will still be bloody.

– Medium-done meat is firm, and the juices are pink.

– Medium-well-done meat feels more sturdy, firmer to the touch and the juices are brown and pink.

– Well-done meat has a hard firm surface, and doesn’t spring back. The juices that come out will be brown.



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