Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ish You Should Know - How To Cook A Steak

I mentioned in my list of things that guy’s shouldn’t do that burning a steak is next to a capital offense. I then started to think about all the times I have seen marvelous cuts of meat not only hockey pucked up but also undercooked, over seasoned, and just downright tough as taffy.

So, I figured I would enlighten all the bovine challenged out there how to properly handle beef. (No porno quote intended).

I feel like a bit of education is in need first though.

In order to cook a steak properly, you must first understand what you’re working with. This knowledge is vital because each cut requires a different method of cooking. Learning your cuts and understanding the traits of each, is the first key to preparing a great steak.

You can find cooking times here.

Generally speaking, the one common denominator to look for across the meat board is marbling distribution. Marbling is the white fat that you see in all cuts of beef. An even distribution throughout the meat is a good thing.

Remember this.

Ribeye steaks tend to have more marbling than other cuts. Naturally, if you are trying to avoid fat in your diet you will have to go for leaner cuts. Then, of course, you will have to add a tad bit more for flavor.

Knowing your cooking method is the next step on the road to the perfect steak. From pan searing to grilling there really is no one perfect way to cook a steak. I prefer a charcoal grill, while some others might prefer the crust of a pan sear. Since I prefer charcoal, most of the advice that I’m going to give you revolves around an open flame. However, depending on the cut, there are more desirable methods to achieve desirable results.

You can learn more about cooking methods here.

The next key is often overlooked but is basic common sense. Allow your steak to become as close to room temperature as possible before cooking. Simply put, a cold steak takes longer to get to the desired temperature risking charring on the outside.

I can’t stress the next point enough. A good cut of beef is flavorful enough! You do not need to over season or over sauce it. I don’t knock it if that’s how you like it. But I feel they are best with a little olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper….maybe a little garlic if you’re feeling jazzy.

Here is a good place to find some steak recipes and other general information.

Closely following the importance of that step is this: While cooking, never touch your steak other than to turn it. Don’t be the guy pulling a Jason and stabbing the steak to death; wasting all the juices. Always use tongs and try to time it so you only have to turn it once. Also, do not put the steaks on while the grill is at its peak. Cook some dogs first or something. Flame ups are your enemy here first and foremost. If you run into an inferno you can’t handle just close the vents, close the lid and it should die out. If you can, make a squirt bottle to keep handy then do so. Refrain from playing hot potato with the meat while the fire is dancing. Burned steak is an affront to steak lover’s everywhere. You want a good crust but not asphalt.

There are places in the South where you will get jumped for burning food on the grill.

If you follow these steps and study up you should never run into that polite smile/half grimace of someone biting into your nasty ass food. Holla.

I.M. Haight

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