James Croghan
February 2017.

What's the best way to cook a steak?

1 answer

“The first step towards cooking the right steak for you would be to chat to your butcher. They love to talk, they’re full of banter and are very skilled. To be a good butcher you will have been doing it for years and years so they really know what they’re talking about - they’re often keen to help the customer. Tell them how many people you’re feeding; how much you have to spend, and what you’re cooking on, like a skillet, or in the oven. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction of the right cut.

“Once you’re ready to cook, take the steak out of the fridge around half an hour before you start. The meat has to be room temperature so it will cook evenly throughout – you don’t want to only cook the outside, while warming up the middle.

“Also, never freeze a dry-aged steak because you’re undoing a lot of the work that would have been done in the aging process. When you freeze things they come out ever so slightly different to when it went in which is because the water in the meat freezes and it becomes crystalised.

"If you’re doing a filet with a medium finish, you probably should be allowed to cook."

“Before it goes anywhere near the pan, sprinkle sea salt crystals all over the meat, on both sides. That will help to draw out the moisture a little while creating a char on the outside. A good pinch on each side will do - you don’t want to crust it, so don’t go mad; a few crystals won’t be enough. And there’s no reason why you can’t use pepper.

“Heat your pan, or ideally a cast iron skillet. A good steak won’t need oil. If the surface is hot enough you should be fine, especially with a cut of sirloin or ribeye. They both a decent amount of fat on the meat, it should baste themselves as they cooks. That will be enough moisture for cooking, and once that fat starts to render it’s so tasty you’ll want those juices all over.

“How long you cook the steak for will determine the colour inside. As a general rule of thumb, a ribeye is best cooked medium rare. It has a big marbling of fat running through it, so cooking it rare won’t allow for that fat to render - it might be a little bit hard still. Medium rare will ensure it’s soft and delicious throughout, and cooking it for eight minutes, turning every couple of minutes will do that for you. Prime rib is essentially ribeye with the bone on, so cook that in the same way. With prime rib, because it has a thick bone on it, you can also sear it in the pan and then put it into the oven to finish.

“Sirloin should be cooked medium rare. You’ll have a big piece of fat running down one side, so a tip is to prop it up on that fatty edge to get the juices really running. Six to eight minutes should be long enough for the perfect finish. If you’re doing a filet with a medium finish, you probably should be allowed to cook. A filet should always be rare, though you can have it raw, as steak tartare. It has very little fat in it and you’re only going to dry it out if you go past the pink point.

“If you want to check the meat is done (and making a tiny incision to test the colour won’t hurt) always remove it from the pan just before you think it’s cooked to your liking. The meat will still continue to cook for a little while afterwards and it will need to rest for 10 minutes before eating – it won’t lose too much of its heat. That resting time balances out where the moisture is in the meat. During cooking, the juices move towards the centre of the meat. Resting allows the moisture to be evenly distributed. When you cut into it, you won’t get a massive loss of juices – it will be perfect throughout.”

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