How to Cook the Perfect Steak February 6, 2018
The word steak conjures up many thoughts: juicy, tender, meaty, flavorful, mouthwatering – and yet many home cooks struggle to get it right. Fear not! With these 10 tips, you’ll learn how to cook the perfect steak every time.
1. Bring to room temperature
Pull the steak out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you are ready to start cooking to allow the internal temperature to reach that of the outside. When the entire piece of meat is the same temperature, it will cook evenly without burning.
2. Pat dry
Let the steak rest on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture. This will help prevent it from sticking to the pan later and any oil from splattering onto you while cooking.
3. Choose the right pan
You’ll want something that has a thick base and is nonstick to ensure the right amount of heat is transferred to the steak so it won’t burn. Additionally, make sure the pan you choose is big enough because you definitely don’t want to crowd the steak(s).
4. Use the right type of oil/fat
Make the mistake of using an oil with a low smoke point (like extra-virgin olive oil) and you may very well end up with a smoky house and black burnt crust on your steak. Avoid any and all kitchen catastrophes by sticking with either regular olive oil, other plant-based oils, or even butter.
5. Season correctly
Rub a piece of cut garlic over the raw steak and season generously with salt for added flavor and an amazing crust. Also, as the juices come off the meat, use a sprig of rosemary like a basting brush. It’s a game changer!
6. Make sure the pan is HOT
A hot pan is critical, but make sure it’s not so hot that the oil or fat starts to burn. As soon as the steak comes in contact with the heat, you should hear it sizzle, which can only mean two things: the kitchen is totally cheering you on, and an irresistible crust is in the making.
7. Use a pair of tongs
When cooking steak, you’ll want to sear ALL sides, not just the top and bottom. This helps create a fully sealed crust to lock in the juices as it cooks.
8. Invest in a meat thermometer
Unless you cook steak a lot, it may be difficult to know when it’s at just the right internal temperature for your desired doneness. But with a meat thermometer, it’s as easy as can be.
- Rare: 125ºF
- Medium-Rare: 130ºF
- Medium: 140ºF
- Medium-Well: 150ºF
- Well: 165ºF
*Be sure to pull the meat off the heat when it’s five degrees below the temperature you want because its internal temperature will continue to rise for another few minutes.
TIP: If the meat is starting to burn on the outside but the internal temperature isn’t where it needs to be yet, just pop the steak in a 400º oven for 3-4 minutes to finish cooking.
9. Let it rest!
Even though you pulled the steak off its heat source, the internal temperature will still increase an extra five degrees — but only if you let it rest! Additionally, with a little r&r, its juices will redistribute to ensure it’s extra juicy and delicious.
10. Slice against the grain
For the most tender bite, find the way the muscle fibers are running in the meat. Then, slice in the opposite direction of those fibers (or as it is commonly described, “against the grain”) instead of parallel to it. This shortens the fibers and makes it easier to chew through them.
Voila! There you have it — everything you need to know on how to cook the perfect steak! Now set the mood, put on your favorite tunes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and invite a lucky someone to share in the gourmet meal you just made (or devour it all by yourself — we won’t tell).
Oh wait! We almost forgot one very important detail… SAUCE! Read up on how to dress up your perfectly cooked steak.