How to cook a steak

How to cook a steak

Photo of a raw picanha steak on a dark grey background

No matter the cut, there are a few golden rules when it comes to cooking a steak. First off, you need to bring your meat to room temperature, so take it out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking it and season it well. The sign of a good steak is one that can stand up on its own, so opt for a big fat one. If you’re feeding two people, it’s better to have one thick steak than two skinny ones.

Get a frying pan spanking hot. The first part of the steak to touch the pan should be the fat – use a pair of tongs to hold it against the hot pan so that the fat renders out nicely. Once you’ve put the meat down on the pan, don’t touch it. Leave it to get a nice char. Ideally, you should turn the steak only once. You can throw in a knob of butter right at the end for flavour and use a spoon to toss that lovely melted butter over the top of your steak as it finishes cooking. Give it a good long rest before carving and eating, particularly if it’s a big steak for two.

Every single steak is different and no one cooking time fits all. When you’re buying a steak, have a chat with your butcher and see what they recommend in terms of prep. But however you’re cooking it, whether it’s on a barbecue or in a pan, the most important bit of kit you can have is a digital meat probe thermometer. That way, you’re left with a perfectly cooked steak every time.

Beef temperature cheat sheet

When using your magical meat probe, all the guesswork is taken out of cooking a steak. This is the best tool you can have in your arsenal. Remember, the internal temperature continues to rise a little when it’s resting, so always take your meat off the heat when it’s a couple degrees cooler than your desired temperature.

  • Rare: 50°C (so remove it at 48°C)
  • Medium rare: 55°C (so remove it at 52°C)
  • Medium: 60°C (so remove it at 58°C)
  • Medium well: 65°C (so remove it at 63°C)
  • Well done: 70°C (so remove it at 68°C)
  • Very well done: Get the hell out of here.

From AND FOR MAINS by Gaz Smith and Rick Higgins


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