I’m doing a whole post on steak because, well, steak deserves it. Steak can be intimidating for people... and it can feel high steaks (see what I did there) if it doesn’t go right.
I don’t buy steak that is over $15.99/lb. Also know I WILL NOT buy the most affordable steak product, chuck roast. It’s not tasty, even when you cook it for hours. Or days. Not worth it. I also do not like short ribs, even boneless short ribs. I just don’t get it. Ground beef has it’s own use and I don’t address it in this post. I very much appreciate ground beef.
I’m usually purchasing a top sirloin or skirt steak. What I’m looking for is a cut with some “marbling” or fat, but not too much. I always end up cutting the extra fat off, so why would I pay for that?
I usually cook steak 1-3 days after going to the grocery store, after eating the fish that I bought from the store. Fish goes bad faster, so it’s the first thing I cook after going to the grocery store.
The best thing you can do to make your steak great is to salt it 24 hours prior to cooking it. Up to 48 hours is fine. Raw steak won’t keep for much more after that, though the salt helps.
The second best thing to do for your steak is to take it out of the freezer at least 15 min before you cook it. Ideally, the steak would be room temperature when you start cooking it. Room temperature steak means that the steak would cook more evenly and it’s less likely that you’ll have a burnt exterior and too-raw interior.
You’ll want your pan over medium-high heat. Add a thin slice of butter or a squirt of olive oil once the pan is hot, then add the steak. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the meat. For an inch of meat, sear 2-3 minutes/side, getting a dark brown seared color. That’s where all the flavor is.
Let the steak rest 5-10 minutes before you cut into it. If you cut in sooner, all the tasty juices will run out of the steak. Letting it rest seals in the juices and flavor.
Pay attention to the smells of your pan and steak. As you make more steak, you’ll be able to trust your nose to know when to flip the steak. You’ll also start to get the feel for how stiff the steak becomes as it cooks. The more well-done it is, the stiffer the steak.
I go for medium-rare. It’s a celebration of the meat. A well-done steak has left flavor dimensions.
Gordon Ramsay has a much watched YouTube video on how to make the perfect steak. How he moved the steak and bastes the steak with butter is quite sophisticated. You can graduate to that at some point, but the method above sure does work. I bet it would be closer to Gordon Ramsay’s if there was a 1/2 stick of butter and more salt on the steak. Just saying.
If I’m feeling sophisticated, I’ll smash a piece of garlic and fry it in my little bit of oil, for a minute or two, before adding the steak. You could also add a piece or two of onion, fresh rosemary, or fresh sage. Dry herbs will burn.
I’ve now taken to cooking a large piece of steak and having it ready to go for my next few meals. Cooked steak stays good for much longer than raw steak. If I know I’m going to be keeping some in the fridge, I super make sure to keep it on the rare-medium-rare side, so when I heat it up, it’s still good and not overcooked. When I’m ready to eat the steak, I cut it into bite size pieces and arrange it in a ring on a dish so the pieces warm up evenly. If it’s a weak microwave, I just zap it for 30 or 45 seconds. If it’s a strong microwave, I cook it for 90 seconds on power level 5 and see where that gets me.
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