Preparing a steak is an essential skill for any culinary expert. It requires careful execution of techniques and an understanding of the different cuts, cooking methods, and seasoning options.
This complete guide to preparing a steak provides all the necessary information for serving up a delicious steak that will be sure to please even the most discerning diners.
By covering the different types of steak, from sirloin to ribeye to filet mignon, this guide will help familiarize you with the terminology and characteristics associated with each cut.
We’ll also go over detailed instructions on how to properly cook each type of steak on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill – ensuring a perfectly cooked steak every time.
Table of Contents
Choose The Right Cut Of Steak
Choosing the right cut of steak is an important part of the process when preparing a delicious meal.
Marbling levels and butcher advice are key when selecting a steak for pan frying.
A culinary expert will advise that marbling is essential for flavor and tenderness, so it’s best to pick cuts with plenty of fat running through them.
The butcher is also a great resource since they often know which cuts of steak are best suited for pan frying.
Ask them what they recommend and they should be able to steer you in the right direction.
It’s important to select a steak with enough fat to ensure juicy and flavorful results, as well as one that can withstand heat without becoming tough or chewy.
With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be prepared to select the perfect cut of steak for your dinner guests!
Storing Your Steak
When storing your steak, it is important to take into consideration the method being used as well as the associated tools and techniques.
If you plan on freezing your steak, it is best to do so in an air-sealed container, such as a Ziploc bag or vacuum-sealed plastic wrap. This will help protect against freezer burn and will also prevent the flavors of other foods from permeating the steak. You can freeze beef for 6-12 months.
If you plan on cooking your steak fresh from the grocery store then you can keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days. Anything past this and you’ll begin to notice the meat change in color and smell.
Season Ahead Of Time
Preparing a steak before cooking is an essential step that should not be overlooked. One of the most important considerations when preparing a steak is seasoning ahead of time. This will ensure that the flavor penetrates the steak, resulting in an optimal taste experience.
The options for seasoning are many and varied – from marinade options to seasoning blends to trimming fat. Marinades can vary from simple oil-and-vinegar combinations to complex mixtures of spices and herbs.
Seasoning blends can range from store-bought packets to homemade concoctions using ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, and cumin.
I’d recommend seasoning no less than 2 hours before cooking your steak for a flavorful experience. You can also season up to 24 hours before cooking; this will give the seasoning enough to fully seep into the steak.
Bring It To Room Temperature
When you’re just about ready to cook your steak, bringing it up to room temperature will help ensure even cooking. The proteins in the steak will relax at room temperature making it easier for heat transfer during cooking.
Depending on the type of cut and thickness of the steak will determine how long it takes for it to reach room temperature.
Heat Up The Grill
Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook a steak and gives it an unmistakable flavor and texture. Before you start cooking, make sure you have a good quality and properly preheated grill.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, you should wait about 20 minutes for the coals to reach the optimal temperature. For a gas grill, turn it up to high and wait about 10 minutes.
Once your grill is ready, you can start by cleaning off the grates with a wire brush. This will ensure that your steak won’t stick to the grill and will give it a nice, even char. Grease the grates with a light coat of oil to prevent sticking and reduce flare-ups.
Cooking The Steak
Preparing a steak requires skill, patience, and knowledge of various cooking techniques. This section will discuss grilling, pan-frying, and griddle techniques that can be used to make a perfect steak.
Once the grill is properly heated up, it’s time to start cooking the steak. There are a few methods of grilling a steak. First, you can cook the steak once on each side and then grill the cap. This is the simplest method.
You can also do the cross-sear method. This is when you cook each side of the steak twice for half the time while alternating the orientation. This will create both horizontal and vertical grill marks along both sides of the steak. The founder of Carnivorous Life says this method not only impresses your guests while cooking, but the final presentation is absolutely stunning.
For those who prefer pan-frying their steaks instead of grilling them, there are several tips that will help ensure a perfectly cooked steak. It is important to heat up the skillet until very hot before adding oil or butter for frying.
If you want your steak to retain its juices then you should avoid pressing down on it while it cooks since this will cause all of the juices inside to escape. You should also use tongs rather than forks when flipping or handling the steak so that you don’t pierce the meat and cause more juices to escape during cooking.
The total cooking time on a pan or grill will depend on the thickness of the cut, the level of doneness, and the temperature you cook the steaks. About 2-5 minutes per side is the recommended amount of time.
For those who prefer griddle techniques for their steaks, there are also several steps that need to be followed in order to get perfect results every time. First, preheat your griddle by placing it over medium-high heat until it starts smoking lightly – this will create a nice crust on your steak when cooking.
Then season both sides of your steak with salt and pepper before placing it onto the hot surface – don’t forget to oil the griddle first! Finally, let your steak cook without moving or flipping until a golden brown crust has formed on both sides – this usually takes around 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat being cooked.
Let It Rest
When you finish cooking your steak, it’s important to let it rest for a few moments. This step helps the steak retain its juices, making it more succulent and flavorful. You should let the steak rest for at least 3 minutes, but up to 10 minutes for larger cuts.
When letting the steak rest, you should tent it with foil to keep it warm. This keeps the heat and moisture in and prevents the steak from cooling off too quickly. You may also want to add a pat of butter to the top of the steak to add a little extra flavor.
Once the steak has rested, it’s time to serve it up! Enjoy your steak with a side of potatoes, vegetables, or a salad. You can also add a sauce or gravy to give the steak an extra kick. Cooking a steak can seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice, it can be a delicious and easy meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Way To Season Steak?
The best way to season steak is to season it generously with salt and pepper before cooking. Depending on your personal preference, you may also want to add other herbs and spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, or paprika. For an even deeper flavor, you may want to create a dry rub with a combination of these spices. Additionally, you can brush the steak with butter or oil before cooking for an even more tender and juicy steak.
What Is The Ideal Temperature For Grilling Steak?
The ideal temperature for grilling steak is between 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit. To reach this temperature, preheat the grill to high heat for about 10 minutes before placing the steak on the grill. If you want to test the temperature, you can use an infrared thermometer. When the steak is placed on the grill, the internal temperature should reach 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. For medium, the temperature should be 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Is The Best Way To Store Leftover Steak?
Leftover steak should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigerating steak helps to slow the growth of bacteria and prevent spoilage. If you do not plan to eat the steak within 2-3 days, it is also a good idea to freeze the steak for optimal food safety. When freezing steak, be sure to wrap it tightly in a freezer-safe bag or container and label it with the date.
The perfect steak is a meal that every cook should strive to master. To achieve the desired flavor, it is important to understand the proper techniques for seasoning, cooking, and storing steak.
By following these simple steps, anyone can prepare a delicious steak that will be sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.