What better topic to debut the Food Section of Manclass than one about steak. However, this is a controversial topic with the full spectrum of opposing opinions, where the argument is no longer about quality meat cooking, but about nitpicking the smallest inconsequential details. The following is a straightforward and sure-fire way to get a perfect steak every time.
The Perfect Steak:
- Chose a thick cut of at least 1 1/2 inch premium quality steak.
- Cut off excess fat. Fat in a steak is in no way a bad thing, but depending on the cut, you’ll want to trim some off.
- Salt the steak generously.
- If you have time, let sit for at least 45 min. Anything longer than 2 hours has to be in the fridge. The longer you let it sit, the deeper the salt penetrates, resulting in a very flavourful steak.
- If you don’t have the time, salt immediately before throwing it on the heated skillet.
- Heat 2 tbs of oil on your skillet on high heat.
- When the oil is heavily smoking, pepper your steak and place it on the pan.
- Flip your meat frequently (every 20-30 seconds) as it cooks so that it cooks evenly from both sides, cooks faster, and develops less of the gray, overcooked zone that you get from a traditional one-side-then-the-other-side sear.
- When it’s almost done, add 2 tbs of butter and optional seasoning to the pan and cook for an additional minute on each side.
- Allow steaks to rest on a plate for 5 minutes before serving.
How would you like your steak cooked, sir?
Medium-rare. When it comes to the perfect steak, cooking it any more than medium-rare is a waste. When you slice through the steak on your plate, you want to see a nice pink color and as little of overcooked gray as possible.
For the hypochondriacs: this is completely safe. Poultry and pork are prone to parasites and other infections and require thorough cooking, but if a cut of steak is going to have anything bad, it’s always going to be on the outside. Ground beef, on the other hand, is going to have it spread throughout, so always go for a well-done hamburger.
What about all that blood? It’s just delicious meat juice and it’s mostly water, fat and myoglobin. The reason why raw meat looks so red is because of myoglobin protein in the muscles, not because of the hemoglobin found in blood.
How To Tell Without The Cut and Peek?
Get your hands on a good digital food thermometer, nothing else will yield more consistent results. When the internal temperature has reached 45°C (115°F) for rare and 55°C (130°F) for medium, take it off the pan and let sit for 5 min. The steak will continue to cook after it’s been taken off the pan. This is why the cut and peek method should not be used, not because of some minimal amount of juices flowing out, but because it’s a very inaccurate indicator of how it will look like on the plate. If you don’t have a thermometer, consult your palm using the finger test:
Choose The Right Cut
We’re talking about the perfect steak here, let’s not skimp on the most important factor: quality meat. You’ll want to find a thick slice of at least 1 1/2 inches. As for parts of the cow, you can’t go wrong with any of the following:
2 premium steaks in 1. You get a strip steak on one side of the bone and a tenderloin on the other. It’s usually a very thick cut with excellent marbling and flavor.
One of the most tender and flavourful cuts of steak due to the amount of marbling. You have to cut around quite a bit of fat to get to the meat, but well worth it.
The bigger part of a porterhouse. It’s on the outside of the cow, therefore is worked more than the tenderloin, but it is still quite tender. It is also a lot leaner than a ribeye, so it has a little less of that juicy flavor you get from fatty marbling. Therefore, the New York is a good middle as far as the upper-tier steaks go, with a good cost/quality ratio generally. A great steak, especially if prepared well.
This is the steak that is used to make Fillet Mignon. It is super melt-in-your-mouth tender, but it is also very very lean, which means it has less of that juiciness and flavor. That’s why fillet mignon is wrapped in bacon, to give it a little fat. This is a good steak to cook for a lady friend because not only is it delicous, it’s super tender and not nearly as big and dripping with fattiness like a ribeye.
This is an “almost premium” steak. Of all the sirloin steaks it is closer to the tenderloin. If they’re cooked right they can be as good as any of the above steaks.