Learning how to cook steak properly is essential if you are a food lover. A nice juicy steak with chips or sautéed potatoes and some fried cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms makes a lovely treat. As well as knowing how to cook it correctly, buying the right meat in the first place is key to creating the perfect steak meal.
Sirloin and rump steak are two of the most popular types of steak. There are more expensive cuts, but sirloin especially, is fine for a good, relatively inexpensive, steak meal. Rump steak tends to be a bit tougher, but it has more flavor and can also make a good meal if cooked correctly.
Consult with your butcher to find out for how long the steak has been hung. It should have been hung for between 21 and 35 days ideally. The meat should be deep red in color and be marbled with fat throughout. The marbling of fat bastes the steak from inside as it is cooking. You also want your steak to have a decent layer of fat along the top. The fat should be creamy-white in color.
When preparing to cook your steak, take the meat out of the fridge ten minutes or more before cooking. You will need a frying pan with a thick bottom or a griddle. Avoid non-stick pans if you can as these usually stop the steak from forming a good crust.
It is essential to get the pan to the correct heat before you cook the steaks. Heat the pan on a high heat. Wait until it is smoking hot before putting your steaks in it. Before cooking the steaks, dry them with kitchen paper, brush them with olive oil and then season them (use freshly ground black pepper and sea salt). You should only cook two steaks at a time. They need to be fairly well spread out to get the right amount of heat to cook well. When you put a steak in the pan, it should should sizzle if the pan is at the right temperature.
It will depend on how you like your steak and how thick it is as to how long you will need to cook it for. Perfection comes with practice but, as a guideline, a 1 inch sirloin steak will need to be fried for between 4 and 6 minutes if you want it rare. For a medium rare steak, fry for between 8 and 9 minutes. To cook a medium to well done steak, fry for around 10 to 12 minutes.
You should turn the steaks every minute during cooking. You can tell if your steak is cooked by pressing on it with your finger along its length. The whole steak should feel the same texture if it is cooked correctly. Don't pierce the outside of the steak with a knife. Trust the timings and the texture test.
When the steaks are cooked, remove them from the pan and let them rest for between 3 and 5 minutes before serving. This allows juices from the surface to relax back into the center of the meat, making it nice and juicy all the way through.
Follow these guidelines and you should be well on your way to knowing how to cook steak perfectly. With experience you will learn how to adjust the times correctly for different types and thickness of steaks. Don't forget to pour the resting juices over the steak when serving to get the most out of your meal!