Tried-And-Tested tips to grill the perfect steak
With these handy cooking tips, you can be assured of a restaurant-quality steak, at home.
When it comes to cooking steaks, home cooks tend to prefer to leave it to the experts as they are afraid that it will either turn out under or over cooked – but truth is, cooking restaurant-quality steaks at home is a lot simpler than most imagine it to be. Here are some tried-and-tested tips that will guide you every step of the way, ensuring that your steaks turn out perfect every single time.
GET THE RIGHT THICKNESS
If you’re hoping to achieve the perfect char on your steak while still ensuring that the centre is medium rare, you’ll want to get a thicker cut of meat – the reason for this is, with thin steaks, it’s easy for steaks to turn out overcooked while you try to sear the perfect crust. To prevent overcooking your steaks, the recommended thickness for premium cuts like ribeye and striploin is around 3.8cm.
That said, if you’re grilling a naturally thin cut of beef, like the flank or skirt – the best way to cook them is using extreme heat for short periods of time. Get your pan or grill up to high heat, then sear each side for about 60 seconds – the aim is to sear the meat quickly so that the heat doesn’t have much time to penetrate further than the surface.
BRING YOUR MEAT TO THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE BEFORE COOKING
A simple step that should not be overlooked as this will have a great impact on your steak – it is important to take the meat out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking (about 1 hour beforehand). This will ensure the meat cooks evenly. If you were to place a piece of cold steak on a hot grill, chances are the centre of the meat will be undercooked despite achieving a wonderful crust, as the inside is still cold.
Before seasoning your meat, make sure to pat it dry with kitchen towels, as a moist slab of meat will prevent a nice crust from forming. Once the meat is dry, season the meat generously with kosher salt, as this will help build up a lovely crust. We prefer to use kosher salt – a coarse, flat grained salt without additives, as it enhances the flavour of meats instead of making them taste salty. Kosher salt also contains no iodine, which can lend a bitter taste to foods.
BASTE WITH BUTTER
If you’re wondering what’s the secret behind restaurant-quality steaks that makes them both fragrant and flavourful – the answer is butter. During the last 30 seconds of cooking your steak on a cast iron pan, add a knob of butter and baste it thoroughly – this will impart a delicious buttery flavour to your meat. If you’re looking to take things up another notch, you can also add some garlic, rosemary or thyme to the pan while basting your steak.
USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
One sure way to check if your steak is grilled to your desired doneness, is to use a meat thermometer. If it is still undercooked, you can afford to leave it on the pan or grill for another 30 seconds or for longer, depending on the meat’s internal temperature. The ideal range should be 54–57°C for medium-rare. You can read more about using the right tools to achieve a perfectly cooked steak in our 8 Must-Have Tools For Every Meat Lover article.
LET IT REST
After all the hard work is done on the grill, it is tempting to dig into the steak immediately, but take note to allow the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This is a crucial step to give the muscle fibres a chance to relax and reabsorb the moisture and wonderful flavours, and most importantly, ensure that your steak doesn’t bleed out onto the plate. We recommend using a wire rack, placed on top of a pan or plate – the reason for this is to preserve the beautiful crust that is achieved from grilling it to perfection – if you rest the steak on a plate, the meat will be left to soak in its juices. In short, the wire rack keeps the meat away from moisture.