How to Cook Steak: A Complete Guide
If you happen to be cooking in order to impress someone and the only thing that will cut it is a juicy, tender steak, don’t be fooled. You don’t have to spend a fortune to accomplish this feat. Yes, cuts like rump, rib eye, sirloin, and filet mignon are loved, but there are other cuts out there that are a good value and highly underrated. These cuts will deliver seriously when it comes to flavor.
Thin skirt, thick skirt, and flank skirt are all delicious and more affordable than the cuts listed above, but there is also the feather cut, which is also called flat iron steak. This cut is full of fat, marbling, texture, and flavor and of a size large enough to ensure that you are satisfied. Just make sure that you get the butcher to take the tough sinew out of the middle of it and you will be good to go.
Whichever cut of steak you choose, there are some guidelines that you might want to keep in mind, especially if you want to cook a steak perfectly.
Before getting started you need to take the steak from the refrigerator and let it get to room temperature. This usually takes about an hour. Grilling or frying it when it is cold will keep the heat from getting to the center of it effectively. You should also ensure that your barbecue, griddle, or pan is very hot before you start. This will assist in caramelizing the meat, which will give you a delicious crust.
When cooking the steak, try to make it medium to medium rare. If you cook it longer than this, it will begin to get tough. Turn it every minute to ensure that it cooks evenly.
When the steak is finished cooking, let it rest for a bit and rub a bit of butter or olive oil on it so that you get a steak that is incredibly juicy,
Remember these tips, use them, and you will get a great steak every time. If you want to make it even easier than this, just read and follow the rest of this article.
How to Cook Steak Perfectly
Add your steak to the hot cooking utensil and cook it for 6 minutes to get it to medium rare, or whatever level of doneness you prefer. Turn it every minute.
If you want even more flavor, you might take half of a clove of garlic and rub it over your steak each time you turn it. You can also rub it with a stick of butter. The butter’s sweetness can make a steak absolutely divine.
You might also make an herb brush. To do this, tie a bunch of woody herbs, such as rosemary or thyme to the handle of a spoon made from wood and then brush the herbs over your steak each time you turn it.
Once the steak has finished cooking, let it rest on a plate for about 2 minutes so the juices can collect.
Cut the steak and then serve it after you have sprinkled some of the resting juices over the top of it.
Ok, that is one way to cook a steak. Now let’s take a peek at one or two other methods.
Everybody has their own fave ways to eat a steak. It might be with salad, with French fries or a baked potato, etc. They might prefer to garnish it with a bit of salsa verde, horseradish sauce, steak sauce, or even ketchup.
Regardless of how you garnish it or what you eat with it, first you need to know how to cook the steak. If you want to be able to make steaks like you would find in a steakhouse, read on.
Before you cook it though, you need to buy it. The good news here is that the ideal steak doesn’t always have to be the most expensive cut, as explained above. So, if you don’t want to break the bank just to grill a steak or two, consider cuts like skirt steaks, flank, hanger, or sirloin.
Whichever one you choose, make sure that it is at least an inch thick. When steaks are too thin, the middle of it will be well done before the outer part can get that crust that is worthy of craving. When possible, when grilling more than one steak, find steaks that are of similar thickness so that they will all be finished at the same time. You also need to keep in mind that if you are buying steaks with bones in them, the meat nearest to the bone will take the longest to cook.
Rubs and Marinades. The ideal marinade for steaks will be a combination of seasonings, fat, and acid. The acid will create a flavor foundation that is tangy while also working as a tenderizer. The fat will add flavor while sealing the juices in and keeping the steak from sticking to your grill. It also assists with the caramelization process. The seasonings work to complete the profile of the flavor.
You might decide to forego the marinades in favor of a rub. A rub is simply a mixture of seasonings that infuse the steaks with great flavor. The best type of rub for grilling a steak is one that will enhance the smoky flavor of meat that is grilled while not overwhelming it. If you add a bit of vinegar, oil, or any other liquid to the mixture, and you have a wet rub. Once you have rubbed the meat with the mixture, let it sit anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight before cooking it.
Sear the steaks with high heat before moving them to a spot that isn’t so hot. This is the most common way to grill steaks. However, if you are the type who enjoys living on the edge, do it backward. Start by cooking it over indirect heat, with a lid covering it, before finishing it off with a fast, high heat searing. Either way, you will end up with a steak that is juicy and has a crust that is crisp and caramelized.
If you are grilling a steak that has been sitting in a marinade, wipe the marinade off using a paper towel, and then place the steak on your hot grill. Leave it for a few minutes before turning. After a couple of minutes, the steak will unstick itself from the grill, leaving you able to turn it while not tearing it. If you try to turn it and it is still stuck to the grill, just wait another minute or so and try again.
Once the steaks are done to your liking, take them off the grill and let them sit on a plate for a few minutes before you serve them or cut into them.
Cooking Steak in the Oven
When you broil a steak in the oven, you get results like you would expect from a grill, but in your kitchen. Broiling can be thought of as grilling, just turned on its head. The heat will come from over the meat as opposed to under it. Both methods are easy and quick. Here is how to broil a steak.
Before you turn the broiler on, take the thawed steaks out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes. Once that is done, pat the steaks with a paper towel and then add whatever your chosen seasoning is.
If you want to avoid flare-ups from grease, trim the fat from the steaks. Also, make a couple of vertical cuts right around the edge of the steaks to keep them from curling up under the heat.
Put your top oven rack at the highest level and turn your oven on to broil. Let it preheat for about 5 minutes.
Put your steaks on your broiling pan – if you don’t have one of these, you can make one. Simply line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and put a flat rack over the foil. Never use a glass baking pan when you are broiling. The high heat will break the glass.
Slide your steaks on the top oven shelf. The steaks should be anywhere from 3 to 5 inches from the heat. If the position of the top rack is too high, put them on the second rack.
Watch the steaks. Once you have a nice brown crust, get a couple of pot holders and pull them out of the oven. Flip them, put them back in the oven, and cook them until they are done. Remember that the broiler will cook them quickly. Once you have flipped the steaks, check them every minute or so to see if they are done. You can do this quickly and easily with a meat thermometer.
If the steaks are done nicely on the outside, but the inside hasn’t reached your desired level of doneness, turn the temperature of the oven down to 350 F. and roast them until they are done. Once they have finished cooking, take them from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Stove to Oven
If you want to cook your steaks in the oven (not broiling), you can do what chefs do – begin by searing them on the stove before finishing them in the oven. This process gives you a steak that has a crust that is deeply caramelized while the middle of it is perfectly cooked and tender.
Steak Roasted in the Oven with a Red Wine Sauce
- Allow the steaks to get to room temperature before rubbing them with the olive oil and generously seasoning them with the salt and pepper.
- Preheat your oven to 500 F. Put a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven while it is preheating. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, take the skillet out of the oven. Place the skillet on the stove and turn the burner on high.
- Put your steaks into the hot skillet and cook them for about 2 minutes without moving them. Turn them over and then cook them for another 2 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven. Put it on the center rack until the steaks have reached the level of doneness that you prefer. – this typically only takes about 5 minutes.
- Moved the cooked steaks to a platter that is warm and loosely cover them with aluminum foil.
- Let them rest. Before you serve or slice the steaks, let them sit for about 10 minutes. The steaks continue to cook on their own and their juices will redistribute themselves through the meat.
- While your steaks are resting, put the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the red wine to your skillet and bring it to a boil. As the wine is boiling, scrape any of the brown parts from the bottom of the skillet using a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to boil until it has been reduced to about 1/3 cup. Take the skillet off of the heat. Add your butter while swirling the skillet to mix it into the sauce.
- Serve your steaks as whole steaks or slice them thinly and fan them onto each plate. Pour your sauce over them right before you serve them.
Testing the Steak for Doneness
If you want accurate results, you should use a meat thermometer for this.
Rare will be about 125 F.
Medium rare will be about 130 F.
Medium will be about 140 F.
Medium well will be about 150 F.
Well done will be about 160 F.
It isn’t rocket science, but it is good enough for the kitchen.
Hopefully, now you will be able to blow your family away with how well you can cook a steak.
- WikiHow, How to Cook Steak in a Frying Pan
- Instructables, How to Pan Fry the Perfect Steak
- Start Cooking, 3 Ways to Cook a Great Steak
- BBC Good Food, How to Cook the Perfect Steak