If you want a great piece if steak, you need to start with a top-quality product. Instead of buying meat at a supermarket, look for the best meat purveyor in your area. A knowledgeable butcher will help you select the best meat, and can also make recommendations on the right cuts and how to cook it correctly.
Choosing the right cut
Speaking of the right cuts, there are a few options available. For tenderness and leanness, the most popular choice is the fillet. If you don’t cook steaks often, fillet would be better since it’s less likely to become tough. However, you won’t find many professional chefs that opt for fillets. Rather, they prefer sirloin or ribeye cuts. This is because these cuts have much more flavor than a fillet. In fact, if you’re after the best flavor, they recommend that you choose a well-aged ribeye steak.
Marbling = flavor
When we speak of marbling, we’re referring to the white parts of intramuscular fats within the meat. When you see marbling on a steak, you can know that the quality of meat is high, and that your steak will be packed with flavor. Fat in meat is essential for flavor, so when the fat is evenly distributed throughout the meat (what we call marbling), the flavor is dispersed evenly.
Getting the temperature right
While chefs differ on the exact method of cooking, they all agree that you should never cook a steak straight from the refrigerator. Take the steak out an hour before you plan on cooking it. This will ensure that your meat cooks evenly, and it’s definitely easier to control the right level of doneness!
Never cook wet steak
Before you sear your steak, make sure to pat it dry with a paper towel. If the steak is too moist, you could end up with boiled meat instead of a deliciously seared steak.
When to season
Most chefs agree that you should only season the steak right before hitting the pan. If you season it too early, the salt will draw out moisture, making the steak tough and chewy.
Make it hot, hot, hot!
According to Chef Gordon Ramsay, the temperature of your pan is very important. For a fillet, medium heat is suitable, but if you’re cooking a sirloin or rib-eye, then you want a hot pan. This is because heat should be high enough to render the fat, while creating a delicious caramelized crust.
Keep it still
When you cook a steak, you should refrain from turning your steak too much. Professional chefs suggest that you sear the steak until a delicious crust forms before you turn the steak.
Let it rest
You should never start cutting into your steak immediately. By resting it for a few minutes, you allow the meat to relax and the juice to redistribute. This will keep the steak juicy and the juices won’t run out on your plate.