Tips for cooking the perfect steak
No matter the cut, follow these simple tips to a succulent steak every time!
Before you start:
- Take the steaks from the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook them: Bringing them to room temperature will ensure they cook evenly and brown well. Cold steaks placed on a hot surface can tighten and toughen (then they tend to stew).
- Make sure your pan or barbecue is hot before you begin: This will help to caramelise the meat, essential for a delicious crust.
- Always use tongs to turn the steaks: A fork will pierce the meat, robbing it of its juiciness and flavour. Spring loaded, scalloped edged tongs are just what you need. Barbecue tongs (with heat resistant handles) need to be about 30cm in length.
- Lightly oil the meat and not the barbecue plate or the pan: Do this and your steak won't stick, and you won't have the problem of the oil burning as the steaks cook, or flare-ups on the barbecue.
- Keep the seasoning simple: Use freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes. Lightly season both sides of the steak just before you cook it.
- Cook on one side until moisture appears, turn the steak then reduce the heat and cook to your liking: rare is soft when pressed, medium is springy and well done is very firm.
- Rest the steaks after they come off the heat: The steak will be juicier and tastier. Cover the steaks loosely with foil and rest up to 10 minutes (time will depend on their thickness). It's a good idea to take the steaks from the heat just shy of the degree of doneness goal. The resting time then allows the steak to complete cooking itself and the juices to set.
- Don't crowd the steaks on the barbecue or in the pan: This reduces the heat and the meat will then release juices and begin to stew, making the steaks tough.
- Don't cut the steaks with a knife to test if they're ready: Test the steaks by pressing with tongs to the firmness as noted above.