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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

how do you like your steak done?

Just a report on cooking beef steaks properly as I often get asked about it at work. Can't say that I am an expert but I am learning bit by bit and this week I purchased two fillet steaks and cooked them slightly differently, one quite blue with a creamy sauce and the other tenderised and peppered. Each one tasted nice in its own right and each one took some careful monitoring to achieve the right degree of moistness and bloodiness.

Fillet steak is very lean and, because it has short fibres, very tender. Ask for a piece cut from the middle of the fillet, not the end. Also, if you want the best cut ensure that the butcher removes the sinewy chain that runs down the side of the chateau briande part of the fillet. A full fillet is about two foot long. It makes for superb finely chopped steak for a stir fry and raw steak tartare. The fillet can also be utilised for beef wellington for that special occasion.
tenderised fillet steak with peppercorns

fillet steak
with a tomato relish, radishes and horseradish sauce

with double cream and pepper sauce

Here is some general advice on cooking steaks and we are talking here about sirloin, rump and rib eye.

Five things to look for when buying a steak

1. When choosing a steak, sirloin is a fine choice due to its tasty, melt-in-the-mouth succulence. Good sirloin has just the right amount of fat and nice marbling. Rump steak is slightly cheaper than sirloin but it’s still a great steak for griddling or frying, with more flavour than sirloin. However, it does tend to be slightly chewier, especially if it has not been matured properly. Rib eye steaks seem a popular modern choice due to the large proportion of fattiness which helps to make the steak succulent.

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. 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 sirloin steaks is essential.

Five steps to cooking the perfect steak at home                       

1. 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.

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. You must let the steak rest for about 3 minutes 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 sirloin steak that’s about 2cm 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.

Burnt to buggery. Half an hour on the BBQ.


khushi said...

Great tips to bear in mind! Not that we get beef here. Generally what passes as beef in the market is buff meat...that's buffalo meat.

Ken Devine said...

Very interesting, Phil. I've learned something.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas. I've been experimenting with our new toy, a plancha. What do you think of those?

Marian Barker said...

Cremated please ... with or without a Diane sauce!

Dean said...

I prefer rump medium to rare along with my eldest son because of the slightly stronger meaty flavour however my youngest prefers a medium sirloin, I am the designated Steak cooker in the family as the boys say the Mrs stews it and they wont let her near the pan.
Cant beat a red hot pan to caramelise those juices at first !

The Quizzical Observer said...

Medium rare sirloin for me, with a few chips and a crisp green salad with a dish of bearnaise sauce on the side. And a glass of robust red wine...

I think tomorrow night's supper is planned!

Phil Lowe said...

Khushi: Buffalo meat? Interesting.

Ken: Glad my advice helped for you.

Dedene:A plancha? Not heard of that one Dedene. I Google it and see.

Phil Lowe said...

Marian: Cremated? You're having me on, aren't you?

Dean: you had me salivating there. Caramalise those juices. Yum.

The Quizzical Observer: Hope that your meal was good.