Cooking the Perfect Steak
Five Things to Look for When Buying a Steak
Always Ask your Local Craft Butcher
1. When choosing a steak, striploin is a fine choice due to its tasty, melt-in-the-mouth succulence. Good striploin has just the right amount of fat and nice marbling. Rump (sirloin) steak is slightly cheaper than striploin but it's still a great steak for griddling or frying, with more flavour than striploin.
2. Age of the steak is important, as the hanging process develops the flavour and tenderises the meat. So ask your butcher how long the beef has been hung for. As a rule, 21 days as a minimum and 35 days as a maximum is a good range to go for.
3. Good beef should be a deep red colour.
4. Check the beef has good marbling - little streaks of fat running through the meat. This melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks.
5. A good layer of creamy-white fat around the top of striploin and sirloin steaks is essential.
Five Steps to Cooking the Perfect Steak at Home
1. Take steaks out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Heat your griddle or frying pan over a high heat, until smoking hot.
2. Lightly brush the steak with a little olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper just before cooking.
3. Don't griddle more than two steaks at a time, and keep them spaced well apart. If you add more than two steaks to the pan at once, the temperature will drop and the steak will stew, rather than fry.
4. Don't turn the steaks until good seared markings are achieved, then turn them over and cook on the other side (see timings, below).
5. Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes (in tinfoil) before serving, to allow the juices that have been drawn to the surface to relax back into the meat.
How Long to Cook a Steak for
These timings are based on cooking a striploin steak that's about 2cm (3/4 of an inch) thick. (Cooking times will vary depending on the type and thickness of the steak, and how hot your pan is.)
Blue: 1 minute each side
Rare: 1½ minutes each side
Medium rare: 2 minutes each side
Medium: 2¼ minutes each side
Medium-well done: 2½ - 3 minutes each side.