Chefs know exactly how long to cook a steak in order to bring out the natural juiciness. Cooking a restaurant-worthy porterhouse, T-bone or fillet requires perfect timing and heat. Medium rare is often considered the best compromise between the natural taste of the meat and a seared crust.
[Edit]Prepping the Meat
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to cook it. Never defrost a steak in the microwave. It should be slowly defrosted in a refrigerator overnight.
- Pat the meat dry with paper towels if it is very juicy. This will help the spices cling to the surface evenly.
- Sprinkle a mix of salt and pepper onto the surface of the steak right before you cook it. Salt will create a crust, but putting it on too early will make the juice run out of it. Use up to 1 tsp. (6g) of salt per side for a large steak.
- Ultimately, the amount of salt and pepper you use will be to taste. Use what you feel is a generous amount.
- Freshly cracked pepper and flaked sea salt will produce the best flavor.
- Find out how thick the steak is. This will help in determining cooking time later on. A one-inch (2.5-cm) cut will need less time than a 2-inch (5-cm) cut and so on. Steaks that tend to be best at medium rare doneness are usually on the thicker side.
[Edit]Heating the Pan
- Heat a frying pan or grill to high heat. A grill will give you a charred finish to the steak, while a sturdy frying pan will provide the most even cooking surface.
- Many chefs suggest either a non-stick pan or a cast-iron pan. The non-stick will allow you to use less oil, while the cast-iron pan has the most even cooking temperature.
- Brush oil directly onto both sides of the steak or pour 1 tbsp. (15ml) of oil into the pan. Use olive oil or groundnut oil. When the oil starts to separate or a drop of water sizzles on the surface, it is ready for your meat.
[Edit]Cooking the Steak Medium Rare
- Use tongs to lift your steak and place it in the pan. You should hear a loud sizzle immediately. If you don’t, your pan or grill is not hot enough.
- Feel the steak’s surface as you lift it. It should be very soft with plenty of give to it when it’s raw.
- Don’t touch the steak until it is ready to be flipped. A medium rare steak should only be flipped once.
- Aim to cook a thin steak for 2 minutes on each side. Cook a 2-inch cut for four minutes on each side.
- Flip the steak using tongs. Avoid using a fork, since it will puncture the meat, letting the juices escape.
- Cook for the same amount of time as you did on the first side.
- Test the doneness of the steak by feel. Use the tongs to judge how soft the steak has become. A medium rare steak should be bouncy. A medium to well done steak will be firmer.
- Remove the steak from the pan or grill when it feels bouncy to the touch. Cover it with aluminum foil to rest for half the time you cooked it. It will reabsorb the juices. Don’t wait more than 10 minutes before serving.
- The steak continues to cook for a few minutes while it rests, so wait patiently for the steak to come to the right internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius).
- Serve the steak immediately. Use a steak knife to cut across the grain. Once cut, the center should be reddish pink, with lighter shades of pink radiating toward the golden brown crust.
- You can use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees (and no more); however, this is not recommended because you must puncture the meat before it’s done resting. Using touch and time will help you avoid this.
- Try pouring your olive oil and seasonings on a plate and then placing your steak on top to create a better-seared finish on your steak.
[Edit]Things You’ll Need
- Paper towels
- Frying pan/grill
- Olive oil
- Seasoning brush
- Aluminum foil
- Steak knife
- Meat thermometer (optional)