One of the most pleasurable moments of life is nibbling on a perfectly-prepared steak. But delicious steaks don’t just grow on trees. You have to choose the right meat, prepare and season it properly, and make sure you use the right temperature and just the right time. Of course, plating it nicely adds to the enjoyment.
Cooking a really good steak can take years to master. No this article won’t make you a master steak cook in 5 easy steps. However, you can start your training by following these steps.
Choosing the Perfect Steak
A steakhouse won’t buy just any kind of steak. The choose prime. And if you want to emulate that mouthwatering, luscious, tender, marbled steak from the steakhouse, you have to get prim-grade beef. The good news is it’s no longer a challenge to get your hands on prime even from most local butchers. This Wall Street Journal article explains why.
If you still can’t get your hands on prime, your next best options are “choice” or “select”. Don’t bother with anything less than those grades.
How to Properly Prepare the Steak before Cooking
Thawing – while it’s tempting to just slap up the beef straight from the freezer, it’s not a very good idea. A really good steak requires consistent temperatures (see below) and when you place a frozen piece of meat on fire, the temperature goes significantly goes down.
The steak must be at room temperature when you cook it. Start thawing at least one hour before cooking. Make sure it’s out of the fridge and out of the packaging too.
Drying – If you’re steak’s surface is not dry, putting it over fire will essentially be steaming. Dry the steak with paper towels if you need to. Just make sure it’s dry.
Adding Flavor – Salt or salt and pepper is fine for adding flavor to your steak. But if you’re after that steakhouse flavor, you’ll definitely need more than two ingredients.
You can mix the following thoroughly and apply before cooking:
- 1/2 cup Diamond kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sweet or smoked paprika
- 3 tbs coarsely fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tbs paprika,
- 2 tbs mild chili powder, or 2 tbs ground chipotle chili, or 1 tbs chile de arbol or cayenne pepper
- 1 tbs granulated garlic
- 1 tbs granulated onion
- 2 tsp dry Colman’s or other hot mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
You can even try marinades to make it more interesting.
Cooking at the Right Temperature
Thick steaks should be cooked in lower temperatures than thinner steaks. Most cooks recommend searing temperatures for grilling steaks. This means that if you place your hands an inch or two above the grates, you won’t be able to count to three before you remove your hand.
The grate should not be too far from the coal.
Here’s a handy guide on the right temperatures needed for specific cuts, thickness, and doneness.
Plating and Serving like a Pro
Once the steak is done, you don’t simply throw it into a plate and serve it. Cooks call it resting. Resting lets the liquid drip first before you transfer the steak on a serving plate. Not letting the steak rest can ruin an otherwise well-prepared steak.
A good way to get rid of the liquids is to put the steak on plate with paper towels. The paper towel will absorb excess liquid and oil.
To complete the presentation, add some side dish. Home fry has, Aragula salad, roasted broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are matches steaks perfectly. You can find the recipes here
Josh Boone is a food blogger who likes to travel all around the world to get a taste of authentic foods. He also contributes to Cilantro The Cooks Shop.