Tips for cooking a beef steak

Tips for cooking a beef steak

Here are a few steak tips every cook should know:

These simple hints will help you get maximum flavour and tenderness from your steaks. 

Consider the thickness of the steaks you buy:

The best way to choose a steak (and how thick it should be) is to consider how you'd like to serve it. If you're thinking 'big steak, centre of plate' go for a steak about 2.5 to 3cm thick. In fact thicker steaks are often easier to cook than thinner ones, their thickness gives you a little extra breathing space as they cook. Thinner steaks, with their short cooking time need more of your attention to cook them just right.

Take the steaks from the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook them:

If your steaks have had a little of the chill removed they will cook evenly and brown well. Cold steaks placed on a hot surface can tighten and toughen (then they tend to stew). Be sensible though and mindful of safe food practice - meat must not be kept out of the fridge for any length of time. Ten minutes is enough. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 with tongs. Rare is soft when pressed, medium is springy and well done is very firm. 

Always rest the steaks after they come off the heat:
The steak will be juicier and tastier. Cover the steaks loosely with foil and rest for 2 to 4 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.
Results may vary.