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| Cooking Tips & Tricks | How to cook the perfect steak

How to cook the perfect steak

People will tell you there's a bit of an art to cooking the perfect steak. But we think it's pretty simple - just follow these important steps below, for the perfect steak no matter the occasion or the dish.

  1. Take the meat out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before cooking. This allows it to come to room temperature and ensures even cooking.
  2. Salt your steaks. We recommend using kosher salt since its larger, flaky crystals make it easy to pinch and control how much you use. For the most flavorful and tender results, salt your steaks at least 40 minutes before or even the night before you plan to cook them. This takes a little planning, but “dry brining” your steaks, will not only season the beef, but help them to retain moisture for a juicy, tender bite.
  3. Dry the steaks and leave the fat on. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels for that perfect outer crust. If you want to cut the fat off the steak, do it once it’s cooked as fat adds flavour and moisture to the meat while it’s cooking.
  4. Don't add oil to the pan. Instead, brush the steaks with oil and season all over with a little salt and pepper.
  5. It's all about the sizzle. Preheat a large frying pan (or BBQ) to a high heat. If using a frying pan, the heavier the base, the better – heavy-based pans hold heat longer and cook the meat evenly. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan or BBQ, or the meat will stew rather than sear. Cook the steak in batches or use two pans if need be. You should hear a big sizzle when the steak hits the pan – no sizzle means the pan isn’t hot enough.
  6. The Two-Zone Method. The key to grilling thick-cut steaks is a two-zone fire. Set up your grill to have one hot zone and one cool zone. This can be done by turning on half of your burners or putting the coals just on one side of your grill. The side without burners or coals underneath it is where the steaks will begin. This lower, indirect heat will help raise the internal temperature so when you transfer it to the hot side of the grill you can sear it quickly and not end up with charred meat that is still raw inside.
  7. The timing. As a rule of thumb (for a steak 22mm thick) – cook 2 minutes each side for rare, 3-4 mins each side for medium-rare and 4-6 mins each side for medium. For well done, cook for 2-4 minutes each side, then turn the heat down and cook for another 4-6 minutes.
  8. To test for doneness, use the tip of your clean index finger (or tongs) to gently prod the steak. If the steak is soft and squishy, it’s rare. If it’s soft but a bit springy, that’s medium-rare. If it’s springy, that’s medium. Any firmer than that and it’s on its way to well done.
  9. Allow the steaks to rest. Place the steaks onto a wooden board or plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for about 6-7 minutes before slicing across the grain or serving. Resting will allow the meat to relax, and the juices will return to the meat fibres. This means the juices won’t run out on to the plate when you cut the steak – and results in more tender steak.

Cooking times and meat doneness

Rare (Internal very red colour, very moist, red juices):

Cook each side 2 minutes, turn once only.

Touch Test: Very soft to touch.

Medium (Internal pink-red colour, moist, clear to pink juices):

Cook 4-6 minutes each side. Turn once only.

Touch Test: Firm and springy.

Medium rare (Internal lighter red colour, moist, pink juices):

Cook each side approx. 3-4 minutes. Turn once only before pink beads of moisture appear on top surface of each side.

Touch Test: soft and springy.

Well done (Internal stone grey colour, dry, clear or no sign of pink juices):

Cook 2-4 minutes on each side, then reduce heat and cook a further 4-6 minutes.

Touch Test: Very firm to touch.

Posted by Shawn Moodie

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