How to Cook Steak
For most people, steak is a treat to be enjoyed once in awhile. It’s often too expensive to be a regular part of family meals. That’s why it is so important to know how to cook steak so that it is just right. You can start the process of learning how to prepare steak by knowing a little more about the different cuts of meat that fit into the category.
Some steak is thick but rather small in diameter. Filet mignon would be a good example of this type of steak cut. But when you have a larger sirloin steak you might be cooking meat that is only ½ inch thick or slightly more. You need to know that each cut of steak should be prepared and cooked in a specific way.
One of the key elements of picking a good steak is “marbling.” Some steaks have more of the light-colored fat than others. If you see the lines of white scattered very evenly across the entire steak you are in for a treat. The cooking will be even and the flavor will be distributed through the steak in equal portions. Make sure there is not too much fat. Meat slightly on the lean side is probably best. But you need some marbling to give the steak a great flavor.
Before you fire up the grill or oven, be sure you understand how you are going to cook the steak. If the cut is thicker, such as the filet mignon we mentioned earlier, you should probably sear the outside to seal in juices then cook it more slowly in a closed oven. If the cut is thinner, such as the ½ inch sirloin or a T-bone for example, you can sear the outside surface on the grill and continue to cook the steak on the grill over a period of time. *Thick cuts may burn on the outside before the inside is correctly cooked.
There are two pieces to the waiting game when you cook a steak. The first involves letting the meat warm to about room temperature before you cook it. Let the meat sit for 30 minutes or a bit more before you begin to grill it or sear it. This will bring it to cooking/serving temperature more quickly and may prevent you from burning the outer parts of the cut.
One of the ideas about cooking and serving steak that often gets lost is the “down time” between cooking and eating. Don’t let the steak sit too long after cooking. If the meat gets cold it won’t taste as good. It will seem chewy and even sort of greasy. But you do want to wait two or three minutes before serving it so the fat doesn’t burn your mouth.
Finally, you should never destroy a good cut of steak with too much “steak sauce.” Good meat usually requires little or no seasoning. A small amount of salt and/or pepper might be enough. If you want to take things up a notch in the seasoning department don’t smother your steak with tangy sauce off the shelf. Use a little blue cheese, or some dry seasoning sprinkled lightly over the surface.