You found some great-looking steaks on sale and snapped them up. Your mouth is watering just thinking about cooking them. However, when you cook them, they are tough and do not have a great taste. You wonder what you’ve done wrong. These five fundamentals of cooking steak will ensure you have a great steak every time.
1. The Cut Matters
If you buy a cheap cut of steak, it is not going to taste as good as a good cut. To make a great steak, you need to start with a good base – a good cut of steak. Ribeye and the fillet are the best cuts, but they are also the most expensive. The next best cuts are the T-bone and the New York strip, though the New York strip can be tough and tasteless if the butcher doesn’t cut it correctly.
2. The Breed Matters
If you have never had Angus beef, you don’t know what you are missing. If you don’t believe this, buy an Angus ribeye and a regular ribeye and cook them the same way. The Angus will have more flavor. While the beef is more flavorful, the biggest difference is that it has more marbling. People often request butchers to cut off all the fat, but that is the worst thing you can do to any cut of meat, especially the cheaper cuts.
The fat is what helps tenderize the steak. It also gives it more flavor as it melts into the meat during cooking. Angus beef typically has more marbling than most other breeds.
3. The Cooking Process
How you cook a steak has more to do with the taste than adding spices, though spices can certainly help. Some steaks are better on the grill, such as the New York strip. At the same time, you can get a great-tasting steak in a frying pan with the pricier cuts. Regardless of whether you are using a grill or a frying pan, always cook your steaks on medium-high heat. You must keep an eye on them – a good steak is not one you can walk away from.
When cooking in a frying pan, add half tablespoon butter and half tablespoon oil – the butter will burn if you use only butter. For an even tastier steak, use a tablespoon of rendered bacon fat. Make sure you get the pan and oil hot before you put your steak in it.
Cook the steak to the desired doneness, flipping it only once. If you like your steak rare, you can pick it up with tongs and hold the sides of the steak to the bottom of the pan to brown the sides.
4. Choose the Appropriate Level of Doneness
Any steak cooked more than medium will have less flavor and be tougher, except for the cheapest cuts – and those should only go in the crockpot for several hours. Fillets and ribeyes are best when they are blue rare to medium rare. To achieve blue rare, make sure the pan and your choice of oil or lard are very hot. Using tongs, place the steak in the pan. Cook it for about 2 to 2.5 minutes, then flip it. The pan (or grill) should be hot enough to sear the outside in 2 minutes. The color should be golden brown with darker brown ripples. The inside will be very red and somewhat warm.
5. Choose the Spices
You do not need anything more than a little salt and pepper for a good cut of steak, but if you prefer a different taste, you can use any of the various rubs on the market, or you can make your own. A rub with a great flavor, especially for pan frying, includes salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Badia Redfish Seasoning.