Here are a few tips for avid grillers out there. I know that there are many different theories and opinions on how to cook “The Perfect Steak” and everyone’s got their take on it. This is just a few pointers and tips that are generally widely accepted.
- Buy From a Butcher
This one is sort of a no brainer. If you want a quality meal you need quality ingredients. Your local butcher is going to have the best and freshest cuts for your grilling needs. No need wasting money on meat that’s been plastic wrapped and shipped across the country.
- Check Your Cut
Most people go for a lean cut of beef or steak. The only problem is that leaner cuts of meat tend to yield drier, blander steaks. Fat is a good thing when it comes to steak. This is where all that juicy, buttery flavor comes from. You just don’t want too much. If you’re on a diet just talk to your local butcher about which cut would best fit your diet. Personally, I’ve found that the ribeye or chuck steaks to have the perfect balance of meat and fat.
- Rub it Down
Fresh garlic makes for a quick and delicious steak rub. Slice a clove of garlic in half, and with the cut side, rub the entire steak, sides and edges.
(Bonus tip: to remove the garlic smell from your hands, wash them and rub them against the sides of your stainless steel kitchen sink.)
- Don’t Forget the Seasoning
Coating your steak with a healthy portion of sea salt and fresh pepper has a twofold benefit. It helps to remove excess moisture from the surface and seasoning the steak providing it with a layer that will become a lovely light crust.
- Back in the Freezer
In order to give your steak that classic brown crust found at most steak houses you are going to want to remove as much of the moisture from the surface to allow for that perfectly charred crust. Put your freshly salted steak in the freezer unwrapped on a rack over a paper-towel lined baking sheet for 45 minutes, right before you intend to cook. Freezers are incredibly dry environments so any food placed in a freezer unwrapped dries very quickly. 45 minutes is just enough to dry out the surface without freezing the steak. Any longer than an hour and the steak may start to freeze. After 45 minutes, take the steak out and start to grill or pan sear right away.
- Pan Sear Properly
Most oils although delicious tend to have a low smoke point and should not be used to pan sear steaks. Using butter or an organic substitute gives you a higher smoke point and only adds to the flavor.
- Cook to Perfection
Using the Restaurant Method allows you to cook steaks year round. Plus, who doesn’t love a good steak house steak. Here are the steps:
- Sear the outside of the steak in a pan.
- Roast the inside of the steak in the oven.
Here’s how to do it:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Preheat a big pan on medium-high heat. Use a grill pan if you want char lines; otherwise any large pan will do.
- Add a tablespoon of organic butter to the pan; let it melt and swirl it around to coat the pan.
- Sear each side of the steak in the pan for 2 – 5 minutes; peek underneath to know when to flip. You want it brown but not black (i.e., burnt).
- If you like your steak rare to medium rare, you can often stop here. Just check the internal temperature of the steak with your meat thermometer (see above).
- If you like your steak medium to well done, put it in the oven on a small rack over a baking sheet lined with tinfoil to roast for another 5-15 minutes. (Again, with the meat thermometer, you’ll know exactly when to take it out.)
- Let it Rest
Place your steaks on a warmed plate, cover them with tin foil and let them sit for about 5 minutes. This will benefit your steak in two ways.
- The external temperature will still cook the steak for a few minutes after it has been removed from the grill or pan. This will get your steak to that perfect balance all the way through.
- Allowing the steak to rest for a few minutes will allow the juices to redistribute and settle into the steak. Cutting open a steak too soon spills all the juices out of the meat and onto your plate. Giving it just a few minutes gives them a chance to settle, also improving the flavor as well.
This is by no means the hard and fast way to prepare a steak. There are many different techniques and styles. The only way to make a perfect meal is to practice making it again and again. Use the same cut of beef from the same butcher, the same cooking equipment, and keep trying. As long as you’re paying attention, the more you do it, the better the result will be.