Sometimes the simplest recipes are the trickiest to perfect. When you’re serving up something that’s ?simply? delicious, you need to get it spot on. Steak is the ultimate challenge for lovers of pared back, perfect food. Get it right and the sheer goodness of the meat will shine through, making your dish a triumph. Get it wrong, and you’ll be left with a tough and terrible waste of beef.
But with very little to do other than buy, season and fry, cooking the perfect steak isn’t so much about doing everything right as making sure you don’t do anything wrong.
There are all sorts of misconceptions and ?misteaks? which can lead to a rubbery catastrophe. But, with a little care, you can avoid them all and serve up succulent steak that your diners will be daydreaming about for days to come. So, let’s get started. Here are 5 steak-cooking pitfalls to avoid at all costs.
1. DON’T buy your steak from the supermarket
The perfect steak begins long before you reach the kitchen. It starts out in the fields. The better the quality of your meat, the better your steak will taste. That doesn’t mean supermarket steaks are always lower quality. Rather it means that a dedicated butcher will be able to tell you a lot more about the meat you’re buying.
They’ll be able to explain the provenance, talk you through the difference between a rib eye, a sirloin and a feather blade, plus recommend an ideal cooking style and time so you can serve up something spot on and special.
2. DON’T cook your steak straight from the fridge
If your lovely lump of meat hits the heat while it’s still cold, your cooking times are going to be all out of whack. Your steak needs to warm up to room temperature before you can cook it with precision and avoid that nasty greyness that a chilly steak can take on once it hits the pan. The length of time your piece of mean needs to warm up will depend on its thickness. A big, juicy porterhouse will need an hour or two, while a slim minute steak won’t need any more than 20 minutes before it’s good to go.
3. DON’T underseason
It’s natural to be nervous of overseasoning with salt, but a healthy dose of the white stuff is essential to a perfect steak, it’s what creates that delicious caramelised exterior and sets off the big, meaty flavour of your steak. If you’re worried about your sodium intake ? don’t panic. Instead, remember that you can’t season the inside of your steak, that’s why giving it a good coating it so important at this stage.
4. DON’T be afraid of the heat
?If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen? is an essential mantra to keep in mind when you’re cooking steak. Cooking on a high heat can be scary and smoky, but that’s exactly what’s needed to get your meat beautifully caramelised outside and deliciously juicy inside. Get your pan as hot as you dare before you add your steak, fry for at least 2 minutes each side, then adjust accordingly.
5. DON’T eat it immediately
We know how tempting your perfectly cooked steak looks and smells right now, but patience is a virtue. Steaks significantly improve with a little resting. That’s because a nice little sit gives their scrumptious juices time to redistribute properly. 10 minutes is a decent resting time for most steaks. Thinner cuts can stand a little less, thicker cuts can take a little more. You may be worried that your meat will get cold, but trust us, it won’t. And remember: good things come to those who wait. Just think of this period as an opportunity for delicious delayed gratification.
Do you have a handle on cooking the perfect steak? Do you have any top tips? Perhaps you disagree with one of our big ?misteaks?. Share your opinions and tips with your fellow carnivores below or tweet us @IMSofsmithfield.