When it melts in the mouth and is packed full of flavour, steak can be a hedonistic, carnivorous treat. However, when it is cooked badly, it can be tough, tasteless and disappointing, no matter how good a piece of meat you started off with. Steak is not cheap, so it is worth knowing how to get the best out of your investment by cooking it correctly. Here’s our list of tips to help you cook a tender, juicy, flavoursome steak every time.
1. Buy good meat
Choose a really good steak! It needs to be a deep, ruby red colour with plenty of marbling. If you have poor quality meat to start with you will have to be a magician to make a really nice meal out of it. Without a doubt, outdoor-reared, pedigree cattle make the best steaks, so you can’t go far wrong with one of our South Devon or Aberdeen Angus cuts. Aged for 28 days they are flavoursome, juicy and tender.
2. Get the right cut
Go for a cut that is well suited to your preferred level of cooking. It is a fact that most cuts taste best cooked medium rare. This level of cooking retains the most juiciness and flavour, whilst ensuring that the meat is warm throughout.
However, if you like rare steak, one of the best cuts to go for is feather blade. This cut can be difficult to track down, as there are only two per cow, but if you can get it, it is not expensive and rare is really the only way to cook it before it gets tough. If you can’t get hold of feather blade, go for fillet, as there is very little fat in this cut, so its flavour is not compromised by the quick cooking process.
If you like steak cooked medium-well (which many chefs won’t even consider), then opt for sirloin or skirt steak, as both of these cuts should have good marbling that will help to keep the steak as tender as possible as it cooks.
3. Ambient is best
Get your meat to room temperature before you start cooking. This is especially important for rare and medium rare cooking times, as you do not want the centre of the steak to be cold when you eat it.
4. Hot stuff
Make sure the pan is hot enough and don’t cook more than two steaks at once, as this will cause the temperature to drop and your steaks will stew!
5. Oil important
Oil the steak, don’t heat oil in the pan. This will seal the flavour and the juices into the steak when you cook it and prevent it from drying out.
Season your steak before you cook it and don’t be afraid of over seasoning, as some of the salt and pepper will come off in the cooking process.
7. Hands off
Don’t mess with the steak too much while it is cooking, as this will compromise its juiciness! If it is stuck to the grill or pan then it is not ready to be turned. Wait until good sear marks have developed before cooking it on the other side.
8. And relax…
Allow steak to rest for between 3 and 5 minutes before serving, as this allows any juices that have been drawn to the surface to settle back into the meat.