Cooking the perfect steak, how?
If you’re asking yourself how to cook the perfect steak, you’re probably cooking to impress. As a matter of fact, cooking the perfect steak isn’t that complicated if you stick to a few basic steps. Therefor delivering the perfect piece of meat shouldn’t just be your goal when cooking to impress. Why not enjoy a perfectly cooked steak just because you can?
The perfect steak is a personal matter
First of all, pay respect to quality cuts of meat. Second of all, your perfect steak isn’t someone else’s perfect steak. Whether you’d go for a butter-soft fillet steak, a flavor-packed sirloin, or a smaller cut like bavette, rump, or onglet; quick-cooking is crucial and constant attention has to be paid when cooking your beef. With only a few minutes between rare and well-done, timing is key. We've put together some tips to help you from start to finish.
Choose your steak
The cut of steak you’re dealing with is up to personal preference and budget. It’s easy to understand that different cuts will deliver different levels of tenderness and flavor. Onglet, T-bone, Sirloin, Bavette...
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Choosing the right pan, seasoning and cooking fat
About the pan
For indoor cooking, we recommend frying your steak, although you can grill it if you prefer. A heavy-duty, thick-based frying pan will achieve the best results, as will a heavy griddle pan or cast-iron skillet. These types of pans get really hot and retain their heat – ideal for getting that charred smoky finish to the outside of your meat. Steaks need to be cooked in a roomy pan and if the pan isn’t big enough for all your steaks, don’t be tempted to squeeze them in any way. Just give yourself some more time!
Seasoning, up to your taste
Beef purists may prefer to take in the unadulterated rich flavor of a quality steak by adding nothing other than a pinch of salt and a generous twist of pepper. Contrary to popular belief, seasoning your steak with salt ahead of time doesn't draw out the moisture but actually gives the steak time to absorb the salt and become more evenly seasoned throughout. Feel free to salt your steak for 2 hours before for every cm of thickness. For a classic steak au poivre (peppered steak), sprinkle lots of cracked black pepper and sea salt on to a plate, then press the meat into the seasoning moments before placing it into the pan.
Others like to enhance flavor and tenderize the meat with a marinade. Balsamic vinegar will reduce down to a sweet glaze, as will a coating of honey and mustard. You can add an Asian dimension to your beef with a miso or teriyaki marinade.
Another way to add flavor is to add whole garlic cloves and robust herbs like thyme and rosemary to the hot fat while the steak is cooking, which subtly adds background flavor to the steak without overpowering it.
What fat to use?
Flavorless oils like sunflower, vegetable, or groundnut work best. Once the steak is searing you can add butter to the pan for flavor. A nice touch if you’re cooking a thick sirloin steak with a strip of fat on the side is to sear the fat first by holding the steak with a pair of tongs, then cook the beef in the rendered beef fat. You’ll need to use your judgment when you heat the pan – you want the oil to split in the pan but not smoke.
Some general guidelines and tips and tricks when cooking fillet and sirloin
To get you going, we’ve set out some general guidelines and some standards for fillet and sirloin steak.
Blue: It should still be a dark color, almost purple, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance.
Rare: Dark red in color with some red juice flowing. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance.
Medium-rare: Pink in color with some juice. It will be a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy.
Medium: Pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice. It will feel firm and springy.
Well-done: Only a trace of pink color but not dry. It will feel spongy and soft and slightly springy.
Guidelines for fillet steak
Cooking times for a 3.5 cm thick fillet steak:
Blue: 1½ mins each side
Rare: 2¼ mins each side
Medium-rare: 3¼ mins each side
Medium: 4½ mins each side
Guidelines for sirloin steak
Cooking times for a 2 cm thick sirloin steak:
Blue: 1 min each side
Rare: 1½ mins per side
Medium rare: 2 mins per side
Medium: About 2¼ mins per side
Well-done steak: Cook for about 4-5 mins each side, depending on thickness.