Cooking the Perfect Steak
September 7th, 2011
The first step in cooking the perfect steak is to pick the right cut.
The juiciest and most full of flavour steaks are usually well marbled and come from part of the cow’s body that hasn’t been toughened up by exercise.
So cuts from hardworking muscles such as shoulder and thigh, are obviously more connective tissue based. Yes, they are full of flavour, but they are much more chewy.
Weaker muscles on the other hand, such as the tenderloin are more tender, but they are more bland tasting as they lack the fat marbling.
So what’s the best cut? Rib eye. Simply because it has more marbling than tenderloin, but it’s also a less-worked muscle than the shoulder or thigh.
How do you cook the perfect steak?
One of the best kept secrets is to ensure you cook your steak slowly at a very low temperature.
This will activate certain enzymes that soften the meat. Try something completely different. Don’t just throw your steaks in a pan, but instead put them in plastic bags and cook them gently in water. Only then can you sear them quickly till they are brown.
Get a large pot and fill it three-quarters full of water and then use a digital thermometer just on the inside edge. Adjust your cooker’s heat to raise the water temperature until it’s between 118° and 122°F (that’s between 47.5 and 50°C)
No need for seasoning yet, just place each steak inside its own large resealable bag like a Ziploc. Squeeze all the air you can out of the bag and seal it. Now cook the bagged steaks in the water for 30 minutes. Then turn up the water temperature to between 136° and 140°F (that’s 57.5 to 60°C ) and let the steaks cook another 15 minutes.
Then take the bags out of the water and put them on paper towels to soak up the excess moisture. The steaks will look greyish pink because they are not seared yet. Brush the steaks with vegetable oil and sear them in a hot pan for just 20 or so seconds on each side.
Now it’s time to finish your steak
First, you have to let the steaks rest for 15 minutes. Myhrvold and Young have proven that if you let the meat rest before you serve it, you’ll dramatically improve how juicy it is.
“Resting doesn’t redistribute juices that have been squeezed from the centre of the meat,” Young says. “Instead, letting the protein-rich juices cool slightly helps them thicken.” Then slice the steaks thinly across the grain then salt it.
Try sea salt as its bigger crystals carry more flavour and a little extra crunch when you bite into your steak is delicious too.