How To Cook The Perfect Steak
MEDIUM RARE, OF COURSE, IS THE SHORT ANSWER. BUT TO PERFECT THAT, READ ON.
1. Start with a good piece of meat. Sounds obvious, though Puharich can’t emphasise enough how easy this is if you get to know a local butcher. “Invest in this and it will pay big dividends,” he says. “Because you can’t turn an average piece of meat into a great steak.”
2. Bring meat to room temperature before cooking. That means sitting it out, on a board, for 30-40 minutes beforehand. “It’s important to allow consistency when cooking – when the meat is relaxed and the
entire steak is the same temperature, it cooks evenly and allows you to better recognise when it’s cooked upon touch.”
3. Season the steak with quality salt flakes. “I’m not a fan of pepper as it can be overpowering and turn meat acrid. I’m also not big on marinades – I want to taste the steak.”
4. Make sure the pan is screaming hot. “You want high heat to get the sizzle. Start out on a medium heat and the meat will stew and boil. A high heat starts the Maillard reaction when amino acids and sugars react forming a caramelisation on the outside. The goal is a nice, brown crust.”
5. Don’t keep prodding or turning it. Let it sizzle in the heat and do its thing. By moving it too much you release all the important juices. “They leach out. A general rule is cook it for 2/3 of the time on one side and one third on the other. So, for an average 300g steak, that’s around six minutes on one side, three on the other.”
6. Rest the meat. The hard work’s done, rest it and be patient. “Meat tenses during cooking. So rest it for roughly half the cooking time. If it’s taken nine minutes, then rest it for 4-5 minutes. The juices then get sucked back in, rather than creating a puddle on the plate as you eat.”
According to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), grass-fed meat comes from animals that have only grazed on grass. It’s leaner, provides a bigger, cleaner beef flavour that’s more characteristic of the region and grass they’ve fed on, and also contains more Omega-3s (which is good). The MLA folks, who say grainfed meat comes from animals fed grass for the majority of their lives, then transition to grain-based diets. Usually it’s 150 days for sirloin or 200 days for rib-eye. And grainfed will give the meat more marbling (fat) and a milder and softer beef flavour. Now you know.