5 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Steak
Cooking the perfect steak is often seen as the true sign of a great chef. This particular dish requires vigilance, patience, and quite a bit of knowledge about the chemistry behind cooked meat. Here is a closer look at five great tips that will ensure your next steak comes out better than ever.
1. Let It Warm Up
We have all heard about the dangers of leaving food out for too long, but allowing your steak to come up to room temperature for around 60 minutes is actually completely safe and important to the cooking process. Cooking cold steak can result in a dry shell with an unpleasant gray center. Bringing your steak up to room temperature before cooking it will give you a better texture, appearance, and taste.
2. Always Choose a 2-Inch Cut
Many people do not realize that the vast majority of steaks they eat in restaurants have nearly identical measurements. In addition to shipping better, a steak that is 2-inches wide will sear on the outside while cooking perfectly on the inside. Professional chefs have also found that 2-inch steaks create the perfect mouthful, and texture is extremely important when it comes to this dish.
3. Correctly Marinating
Marinating and seasoning a steak is one of the most controversial steps in this process. As a general rule, most cooks agree that a high-quality steak should receive as little marinade as possible. In some cases, the best steaks should receive nothing more than a healthy dose of salt and pepper on both sides. This can be done up to an hour before cooking while the steak is brought to room temperature. Kosher salt should be used because the larger grains create a better crust. Stronger marinades should only be used to add flavor to cheaper cuts of meat.
4. Two-Stage Cooking
Steaks generally come out better when they are cooked over two different heating zones. The first zone should have a relatively high temperature between 450° and 650° F. You can sear your steak for two minutes per side at this heat and use tongs to get a quick char on the outer edges. The meat should then be transferred to a second heating zone set between 325° and 350° F until your desired doneness has been achieved. While many people prefer their steaks on the rare side, all beef must be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F.
6. Let Your Steak Rest
While it might be tempting to dig right in, this will ruin all of your hard work. All steaks absolutely must rest in order to let the fibers relax and the juices spread. Cutting the meat too early will result in a puddle of juices on the bottom of the plate instead of within the fibers. For most steaks, 10 minutes at room temperature will be enough to let the meat soften.