On the short list of things everyone should know how to cook, a great steak sits at the top. The sad part is most people don’t know how to do this. In fact, many people will simply murder a good piece of meat. The good news is that cooking the perfect steak is not hard, you just have to know what you are looking to create and how to make that happen.
When we say we want the perfect steak what do we mean? Well first, a perfect steak should have a crunchy, well-browned crust on its exterior. Second, that crust should surround a core of perfectly pink, juicy, tender meat that uniformly spans the steaks entire interior. And finally, a perfect steak should also be incredibly juicy and unbelievably tender.
Now that we all know what we are looking for, here are a few guidelines that will hopefully help you make that happen:
Start with the right cut. You can’t end up with a great cooked steak if you start with a bad raw steak. We’re talking high-end cuts of steaks here, of which there are four: the ribeye, the New York strip, the filet mignon (or Tenderloin) , and the T-Bone. Of these, I prefer a ribeye. Check for a good amount of marbling. You want plenty of intramuscular fat. This will make your steak tender, flavorful, and juicy. You should buy a thick steak, one that is at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. When it comes to a bone in or boneless steak, I prefer bone-in because I believe it leads to a more flavorful finished steak. And lastly,If you can find it, get dry aged beef. A dry aged steak offers extra tenderness and a unique flavor.
Let it come to room temperature. Take your steak out of the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking it. Room temperature steaks cook more evenly since the inside isn’t still super cold while the outside is in coming in direct contact with super high heat. If you don’t do that, you can burn the outside and the inside can still be raw. If you do though, you will be able to sear the steak nicely, get a nice crust, and have the insides cook to your liking.
Season it. First you will want to pat the steak dry and oil it lightly. The oil will help prevent the steak from sticking to the grill and aid in browning. When it comes down to what to season the steak with, if you are using a quality cut of meat, chances are you won’t need much more than salt and pepper. That being said, use good salt and pepper. For salt, use a kosher salt or grey sea salt. They offer much better flavor than plain old iodized table salt. For pepper use fresh ground. Don’t be shy with the seasoning. Salt not only helps bring out the meats natural flavor and goodness, but it will also help you get that nice crust on the outside.
Get your grill hot. You want to be sure your grill is nice and hot before throwing your meat on there, but you don’t want the flames to be roaring. Yes, flames are exciting and fun but they do nothing for the meat but burn it.
Don’t mess with it. After the steak makes it on to the grill, leave it alone. Don’t poke it, don’t stab it, don’t mash it, don’t press it with a spatula, and don’t start peeking into it by jabbing holes in it. All any of these actions will do is cause juices to leave the steak making it dry and flavorless. In general, you want to move the steak as little as possible while it cooks as too much movement prevents the steak from searing and getting that nice crust on the outside. The only exception is flare ups. Move the steak away from flare-ups as soon as they occur. Otherwise, if you must move it, move it once, rotating it 45 degrees, thereby giving those perfect checkerboard grill marks that make steaks look they were cooked by a pro in a steakhouse.
Don’t Overcook it. Unless you are a pregnant woman, there is no reason to eat your steak cooked past medium. Cooking a steak to well-done drains it of its life and is essential a sin.
Let it rest. When you pull it off of the grill, DON’T go right to eating it. The juices inside the steak are still moving and repositioning themselves and settling. As soon as you cut into the steak, the steak is dead. This is the single most important thing that everybody gets wrong, time after time. They take a perfectly good rare or medium-rare steak off the grill, and cut right into it prematurely. Most people think that the hotter the steak is when it is served the better. This isn’t true. A steak should rest for about 8-10 minutes after you take it off the grill. Just put it on a plate with some foil over it. It won’t become cold, but the muscle will start to relax and become tender. The juices will also settle giving you a steak that is juicy all the way through.
If you have any questions or have anything that you’d like featured in a future post on The Renaissance Beard , don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments.