T-bone is one of the tastiest cuts of beef and one of the easiest to cook. Buy it in one large piece, cook it over blistering heat, rest and serve on a big platter with a simple green salad, a drizzle of good olive oil and you’re ready to go.
– The Italians buy a large T-bone of about a kilo in weight and cook and serve it as one piece. Heat olive oil, add chopped fresh rosemary and sizzle; pour over the steak once it has rested for 15 minutes. Serve one t-bone steak for 2 people. If you need to cook a second, do it while the first steak is resting.
– Always oil the meat, not the pan, though we prefer not to oil the meat all. Instead we heat the pan until we can barely hold our hand an inch above it, add the meat and leave it to cook untouched for a few minutes until it has sealed on one side, then turn it and cook it on the other side. Oil burns at high temperatures and we think it gives the meat a burnt flavour. You must restrain yourself from lifting the meat before it has formed a solid seal on the first side.
– Remove any excess oil and wipe off the marinading herbs 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 but don’t oil it.
– If you want your steak rare, cook it over high heat to an internal temperature of 50ºC, then take it out of the pan and leave it to rest covered and measure the internal temperature with a meat thermometer again after 5-10 minutes and after that, until it reaches 60ºC. If you cook it to 60ºC in the pan, the meat will continue to cook after that and you will end up with medium-rare meat.
– For medium, cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 61ºC and leave it to rest, covered, until the thermometer reaches 71ºC.
– For well done, take it off the pan at 67ºC and leave it to rest until it reaches 77ºC.
– If you find it does not reach the required temperature, just pop it back in the pan and sear it again on both sides quickly. Then take it off, cover it, 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. Just lift the meat up with a tongs and hold the edge of the meat against the pan until it is browned.
Testing the done-ness of a steak by touch
– You can also test the doneness of meat with your fingertip. If the steak is rare, it will feel 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 red.
– 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 surface, and doesn’t spring back. The juices that come out will be brown.