How to cook the perfect steak

At the very top of the list of foods every man should be able to master has to be the classic steak.

Beef is bouncing back, right in time for all your big summer cookouts, and steaks in particular are regaining the culinary high ground. Once exiled with the rest of red meat for possibly destroying your heart and raising cholesterol, many health and diet experts are now preaching the benefits of getting steak back on your plate.
Loaded with muscle-building protein, iron and zinc, Steaks are packed with selenium, which, say researchers, reduces a man’s risk of prostate cancer.

Stefan Porter of Meat Porter explains below how steak should be cooked for optimal taste and bragging rights.

The perfect cut

For cooking at home, choose a Sirloin or Rib-eye that has a good marbling of fat throughout. This is the white lines of fat that run through the steak itself, which enhance the flavour and keep the steak moist as it cooks, from the inside out. Also look for something that’s been hung (the process used to age meat and make it more tender), for a minimum of 21 days and ideally as long as 35 days. This will ensure a really flavoursome, tender meat.

Remove your steak from the fridge around 30 minutes before cooking, cover and leave it to reach room temperature. This is to ensure the fibres of the meat stay relaxed when added to a hot pan, allowing it to release its full flavour.

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Season it well

In regards to seasoning, the jury is torn. Some chefs say to only season with freshly milled black peppercorn before cooking to ensure it doesn’t dry out, whereas top London steak restaurants urge you to season the meat well with both salt and pepper, in order to build up a delicious salty crust.

Adding flame to the fire

Before you begin, heat your griddle or frying pan over a high heat until it’s smoking hot and add about a teaspoon of good quality olive oil. Once the pan’s ready, drop the steak in with one fluid motion, adding only one or two steaks per pan, so that there’s enough room for each to really render in the fat.

Sear each side until it is sealed and begins to crisp up nicely, flip it – every 15-20 seconds to be exact. This will help to seal in the flavours and keep it moist.

Timing is everything

Whether you like it soft and pink or chargrilled and juicy, to cook the steak just right, attention must be paid. Depending on how you like your steak cooked, the below is a guide for how many minutes to cook a steak that’s about 8oz, on each side:

  • Blue: 1 minute
  • Rare: 1 and a half minutes
  • Medium-rare: 2 minutes
  • Medium: 2 and a half minutes
  • Medium-well done: 4-5 minutes

To test which stage the meat is at you can use your finger to press firmly on the surface of the thickest part. If it feels spongy it’s rare, if it has a slight resistance but still feels soft it’s medium and if it feels firm it’s well done.

Having a rest

Almost as important as cooking the steak itself, is giving it enough time to rest. This allows the heat to travel through to the centre and for the fibres to relax and absorb all of those delicious juices. Leave your steak somewhere hot – on top of an oven or hob for 5-10 minutes once it’s cooked and remember – if the steak oozes when you cut it, it hasn’t had enough time to rest.