Evie's Tip: Cooking Steak

I often get asked what the best way to cook a steak is and my answer is always the same: it’s a personal preference. I like mine griddled / pan fried medium rare, or done on the BBQ. However, now I’d add grilled to that too as I have experimented for this week’s tip by putting a steak under the grill for the first time and I must say it was very nice; it had slightly charred edges which were delish.  I researched the best way to grill a steak and think I picked the winning method to share. I actually made two grilled steaks both a different way and the way I’ve written below is the best – the other was just a waste of a nice bit of steak – which of course I still ate - no waste in my kitchen!

Step one starts long before you cook it and it is to choose your cut. I don’t eat steak all that often so when I’m going to have one I choose the best I can. For me that’s the Rib-eye cut it is less tender than some other cuts but without doubt it is the most flavoursome, plus you can make it tender by giving it a bash with your fist, a mallet or asking your butcher to tenderise it.  Next on the flavour scale is the Sirloin or Top sirloin cuts, I don’t bother with the other steak cuts when I’m having steak. I do, however, use minute steak and frying steak when I’m doing stir-fry, fajitas or I’m doing a mid-week quick dinner just a quick fry steak with veg.  But for those special steak nights it HAS to be a Rib-eye for this gal.

If you’re buying steak it really is best to get it from the butcher or meat counter at the supermarket.  Speak to the butcher and ask ‘what steak would you have?’ I bet they’ll say a Rib-eye. It’s not as expensive as a Sirloin either yay! If you buy pre-packaged steaks they are often a bit wet and slippery and need to be patted dry with kitchen paper before frying so they brown quicker – remember to do this before cooking.

I know how I like to cook them but I was struggling on tips to share for buying so below is the top tips from Jason Atherton, former executive chef of Gordon Ramsay's Maze Grill in London.

Five things to look for when buying a steak 

1. When choosing a steak, sirloin is a fine choice due to its tasty, melt-in-the-mouth succulence. Good sirloin has just the right amount of fat and nice marbling. Rump steak is slightly cheaper than sirloin but it’s still a great steak for griddling or frying, with more flavour than sirloin. However, it does tend to be slightly chewier, especially if it has not been matured properly.

2. Age of the steak is important, as the hanging process develops the flavour and tenderises the meat. So ask your butcher how long the beef has been hung for. As a rule, 21 days as a minimum and 35 days as a maximum is a good range to go for.

3. Good beef should be a deep red colour, like the meat featured below. 

4. Check the beef has good marbling – little streaks of fat running through the meat. This melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks.

5. A good layer of creamy-white fat around the top of sirloin steaks is essential, but remove this after cooking and before eating.

If freezing, freeze on day of purchase and defrost in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  If not keep refrigerated and take out of the fridge an hour or so before you cook it to bring it up to room temperature, never cook a steak from the fridge.

There are a whole host of rules on how to cook a steak and cookbooks / the internet are just a minefield of conflicting information so below s what I have found to be the best after years of experimenting.

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NOW TO COOK...

 Grilling a steak is definitely the cleanest clean way to cook it, and doing it correctly will give you nicely seared slightly charred edges and a soft and succulent inside. You can season with a clean pre-made steak seasoning or as I like just some black pepper.  Avoid salt, or just add a small bit as the salt draws out the moisture out of the steak.  Add the salt after the cooking.

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1.      heat your grill on the highest setting for at least 10 minutes 
2.      place your room temperature steaks on the grill pan and put under the grill about 2-3 inches away from the heat 
3.      turn once half way through cooking 
4.      rest for ½ the cooking time, add salt if desired and serve 

COOKING TIMES:

For a 1 inch / 2.5 cm thick steak cook on each side:   1½-2 mins  rare, 3 mins med, about 4 mins well done. 
For a 1½ inches (4 cm) thick each side:  4 mins for rare, 5 mins for medium,   6 mins well done 
These timings are just a guide as meat size differs just place the tip of a knife in the thickest part to test if the juices are the right colour for your liking.

FRYING OR GRIDDLING 

1.      Heat your pan on a high heat, it can be a bit scary to have it so high but I promise you it will be worth it 

2.      if your butcher hasn’t tenderised for you, give the steak a bash with the end of your fist, more like a thump not a knuckle punch (classy hey?) you could use a meat tenderiser but I don’t have one and I’ve been using my fits for years so it will do!

3.      then add some seasoning as with grilling no salt at this stage. 

4.      add a small amount of oil to the pan let it heat up and then add the steak, try and place the steak away from you so it doesn’t splash towards you and let it hit the pan at the same time so that it evenly sears the outside of the meat.

5.      Use a big spoon or something to press lightly on the top of the steaks so that as much of the steak as possible is kept in contact with the frying pan

6.      turn half way through cooking 

7.      rest for ½ the cooking time, add salt if desired and serve

To griddle follow the same steps as frying but there is no need to press down on the meat.  This is how I cook mine.

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HOW LONG TO COOK A STEAK - PAN FRYING OR GRIDDLING  

These timings are based on cooking a sirloin steak that’s about 2cm thick (cooking times will vary depending on the type and thickness of the steak, and how hot your pan is).

Blue: 1 minute each side 
Rare: 1½ minutes each side 
Medium rare: 2 minutes each side 
Medium: 2¼ minutes each side 
Medium-well done: 2½ - 3 minutes each side.

Why not try steak with 
•       green veg stir fry (sugar snaps, courgette, broccoli) 
•       oven baked sweet potato chunky chips a griddled, or grilled, tomato and a fried             egg 
•       homemade mushy peas and a fried egg 
•       oven roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and a salad

I’m sorry for the lack of photos!!! My role at work has had a change and I’m travelling so much more than before so I’m not in my kitchen 4 nights a week. Boo I hate being away from home but not a lot I can do about that one for the moment! 

Stay clean

Lots of Love 
Evie 
xxx

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