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Cooking Perfect Steak

How to cook yourself a tender juicy succulent crisp caramelised crusted steak


Food science boffin and general genius Harold McGee reckons there are two secrets to successful steak cookery: "warm meat and frequent flips". To reach the right temperature he suggests wrapping the steaks in cling film or a sealable plastic bag then immersing them in warm water for 30–60 minutes before cooking. 



Wet steak will struggle to form a decent crust and can pick up some unpleasant boiled-meat flavours. So dry it thoroughly. Additionally leaving it uncovered in the bottom of the fridge for 2 days will continue the dry ageing which will greatly improve the finished steak.



Salting can help with the drying process but in any case sprinkling a plate in salt and pepper then flipping the steak in this mixture just before cooking gives excellent flavour. 



For a lean cut such as fillet brush the steak with butter or dripping before sizzling.

Crisp and brown any thick outer layer of fat on the side of the steak by holding it vertically with tongs onto the hot pan before flipping onto the side and half way through cooking add more butter and garlic and baste the steak to get a lovely savory flavour to the crust, without raising the internal temperature too much.


Flipping the steak

Frequent flipping is the key to moist steak – frequent turns mean that neither side has the time either to absorb or to release large amounts of heat. The thinner the steak the more frequent the flips, The meat cooks faster, and its outer layers end up less overdone."


Perfect Steak The Method


For each steak (Fillet, Sirloin or Rump Beef and Lamb leg steak)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g butter
1 garlic clove, skin-on and crushed

1. Take the steaks out of the fridge 2 hours before you're planning to cook, and allow them to come to warm room temperature. if in doubt wrap in cling film and warm in bowl of water. Dry thoroughly. 

2. Heat a heavy-based griddle pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Use tongs to press the fatty edge on to the hot pan until nicely browned. Meanwhile spread a thin layer of salt and a sprinkle of coarse pepper on a plate. Put the steak on the plate, and turn to coat the steak lightly, then put it flat-side down into the pan. Cook for 90 seconds on each side, pressing down with a spatula, until both sides are well browned.

3. Add the butter and crushed garlic  to the pan and, when melted, use them to baste the steak, turning it every minute until it's done to your liking: a 2cm steak should take about 3- 4 minutes for medium-rare, but always do it by eye or touch. See the doneness test below

4. Take out of the pan and leave somewhere warm like a very, very low oven for example to rest for 5–10 minutes, then serve.

To be really sure of the doneness use a meat thermometer  


Minute Steak

For minute or sandwich steak

1. Bring the steaks to room temperature, pat dry with kitchen roll

2. Heat a heavy based griddle pan to medium high heat brush the meat with a little melted butter, dripping or bacon fat and season with salt and pepper, warm a plate.

3. Press the minute steak onto the pan and sizzle for up to 20 seconds a side, ( to cook any longer will result in shoe leather)

4. Remove to warm plate and let it rest for 5 minutes. Enjoy in a sandwich or with a plate of veg.

Watch this video on how to do the doneness test

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