Cooking a perfect steak can be challenging, even for a skilled cook: small cuts of meat can cook too quickly, becoming dry and tough, too large to burn on the outside without being cooked on the inside. If you are new to steak, I recommend using a heavy skillet or grill pan – charcoal or electric grills are also great for steaks, but the pan will be easier to control the temperature.
Step 1 – prepare the steak
- Cooking a steak begins by choosing meat from a grocery store or butcher. As a rule, imported beef is used for steaks, and although quality steaks from Russian beef have recently begun to appear, foreign terminology is still used to classify meat cuts. It is easiest to train in frying steaks on ribeye and striploin steaks, aka New York (in our classification, these cuts more or less correspond to a thick and thin edge) – they are soft in themselves, and will turn out to be tasty, even if you miss a little with the fry …
- Pay attention to the so-called marbling of meat: the fat should be distributed as evenly as possible over the meat, then during the preparation of the steak, these inclusions of fat will melt, making the meat more tasty and juicy. The classic thickness of steaks is 2.5 centimeters, and if you buy meat already cut, make sure that the steaks are of the correct thickness, if you take a large piece, try on how you will cut it. So let’s get started.
- If the steak has been frozen, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and wipe it dry.
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before frying to allow it to warm to room temperature.
- Brush the steaks on both sides with vegetable oil (I use olive oil, but you can use any unscented vegetable oil instead) and season generously with salt.
Step 2 – preheat the pan
- Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat – it should be hot, but not smoking (if the skillet is too hot, the steak will burn on the outside before cooking on the inside, and it will be tough).
- The hiss after placing the steaks in the pan will tell you if it is at the correct temperature.
- Another way to check the heating of the pan is to drip a little water on it: if you have heated the pan well, the droplet will gather into an elastic ball that will run along the surface of the pan like crazy.
Step 3 – cook to taste
- For medium-rare, place the steaks in the skillet so that they are not touching and let cook for 1 minute.
Use tongs to gently turn the steaks over (be careful not to damage them to prevent the juices from leaking out) and cook for 1 minute more to form a crust.
- Turn steaks over again and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes.
- To check the doneness, gently press down on the steak with your fingertip. The steak with blood should be soft and pliable, well done and firm, and the middle one, as expected, will be something in between.
Steak cooking time
You can vary the degree of frying of the steaks to your taste by increasing or decreasing the cooking time. Below is the approximate time that is suitable for a 2.5 cm thick steak. Thicker steaks require a longer cooking time and vice versa.
- Rare (with blood) – 1-2 minutes on each side, rest for 6-8 minutes;
- Medium rare (low roast) – 2-2.5 minutes on each side, rest for 5 minutes;
- Medium – 3 minutes on each side, rest 4 minutes
- Well done – 4.5 minutes on each side, rest 1 minute.
- However, the most accurate (although not always accessible to a beginner) way to determine the degree of doneness of a steak is to use a meat thermometer.
Step 4 – rest the steaks
- Leaving the meat to lie down for a while is just as important as cooking it correctly – in these few minutes, the juices will be distributed inside the piece, the temperature will even out inside and outside, and the whole steak will become warm, juicy and tender.
- Remove steaks from skillet, season with black pepper, and place in a baking dish. Place a slice of butter on each steak, cover with foil and leave in a warm place for 4-5 minutes.
- Remember, it’s better to rest the steak longer than necessary, and not less, this will allow it to acquire the greatest flavor and softness.
Step 5 – serve the steaks
- Steaks require sharp, non-serrated knives to cut the meat evenly.
- Serve the steaks on hot plates to keep them cool.
- It is believed that good meat does not need sauce – and if you agree with this statement, simply pour the juices mixed with the melted butter on the bottom of the mold on the steak.
- Choosing a side dish for a steak is a personal matter, I prefer a green salad.