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How To Cook The Best Steak In The World - Part 1

PART 1:- Choosing Your Meat

Every person likes their steak cooked a different way, so throughout this article I will make sure that I cover each possible different way so that you will always get the best result for yourself or whoever you cook for. There are several different cuts of beef that will make a great steak, and there are also many grades of beef to consider, depending on what the cow was fed on the farm, so your first step is to choose which one you would prefer. The choices include rump, scotch fillet, porterhouse, eye fillet and T-bone as the main premium cuts generally eaten.

The beef's grading will come down largely to marbling and maturity of the meat. There is a debate as to which is better out of grain-fed and grass-fed cattle, and really the answer is grass-fed beef is healthier for you as it is the most natural form of the cattle, while grain-fed beef will have a lot more marbling and flavour, so I will leave that choice up to you which way you want to go. As for maturity, I recommend finding a butcher that will hang your meat for quite a long time in their meat locker before carving it, I have found that 27 days is ideal. This will help tenderize the meat by having it stretched out and relaxing the muscles, to give you the best possible final result.

The rump and porterhouse are firmer cuts, and the rump in particular can be a bit tougher and chewier than the rest, and you will find a strip of fat at the top of each of these steaks, which will help flavour and tenderize the steak during the cooking process. Both these cuts I would recommend eating rare to medium-rare (I will discuss steak doneness a little later).

Meanwhile the scotch fillet will come very nicely marbled with fat throughout, and can usually be distinguished by a C-shaped piece of fat close to one side. Due to the marbling it will be very tender and full of flavour (however if you're on a diet it may be one to avoid for now), and I recommend eating it medium-rare to medium.

The eye fillet is the most tender cut of beef, and will normally be free of fat, although this also means you may need to do something extra to add some flavour to it, the most popular way being to wrap bacon around it during cooking, so the fatty flavours of the bacon are absorbed by the steak. This is my personal favourite steak, and is best eaten medium-rare to medium.

Lastly we come to the T-bone, which has both the eye fillet and porterhouse on either side of the bone, and will get its flavour from the strip of fat on the outside of the porterhouse. I recommend eating the T-bone rare to medium-rare, though it can be tricky to cook evenly due to the bone in the middle.

Once you've decided which cut of steak you will be eating, you need to work out how big a piece of meat you want. A normal-sized steak is generally around 300g for a good-sized meal, however it could range anywhere from 150g up to 1kg and even more! The size of your steak will become important later when you want to cook it to a particular doneness. For example, two different rump steaks could quite easily weigh the same amount, yet be completely different shapes, sometimes they can be wide and flat, and sometimes short and thick, depending on what part of the rump the steak was cut from.

Choosing the size of your steak and the shape go hand-in-hand, it's best to have a thicker steak for a rare or medium-rare steak, and when you want a medium-well or above thinner is better. This is so it doesn't take a long time for you to cook, and you can still have a juicy steak without burning the outside.

Now let's just get away from the steak for a minute and think about what you're actually going to cook it on. Ideally you should have a chargrill, one that sits on an angle, and has enough space underneath the flame to have a tray that you can put a small piece of wood on. What I personally prefer is mesquite wood, which comes from the USA, and the best thing to do is to soak it in water for a couple of hours before cooking. This will help the wood give off its smoky flavour rather than just burn away, and it will also last longer, usually for at least a couple of hours.

I mentioned earlier that if possible your grill should be built on an angle, sloping up towards the back. As you know, heat rises, so naturally you should find the hottest part of your grill at the back, and get slightly cooler closer to the front. Most grills and hotplates in general will have certain "hotspots" that you will need to find for each one to work out the bests places to position your food when cooking. Once you've used a particular grill a couple of times you should find it quite easy to figure out your favourite spots to cook on.

The combination of knowing where your "hotspots" are and using an angled grill will make it easier to find the best position to cook your steak. If you don't have a chargrill to use and you have a flatgrill or a hotplate instead, I would recommend not cooking your steak entirely through on the hotplate, particularly for medium or above, seal it on both sides then place your steak on a tray and finish it off in an oven. Otherwise all you will do is burn the outside and lose all the moisture and juiciness from your meat.

The other element to consider is how you would like your steak cooked. In general, a well-done steak should be placed at the back, a medium steak in the middle of the grill, and a rare steak at the front. Obviously, this leaves medium-rare between the front and middle, and the medium-well between the middle and the back. In some situations you will need to adjust this slightly depending on the size and shape of your steak, a big, thick rump may need to be pushed a bit further up the grill to cook properly, while a thin and flat porterhouse might be best kept a little closer to the front to avoid overcooking. Your steak positioning will come down largely to personal preference and a bit of practice and experience with your grill.

Now that you should have worked out where on the grill you will place your steak, you're almost ready to start cooking! What you need to consider now is how you will season your steak. You may not want any seasoning, that's fine, go right ahead and start cooking. If you wish to use salt and pepper, I would suggest waiting until one side of your steak has been sealed before sprinkling any on, as salt has the tendency to leech out some of the moisture from your meat.

My preferred method of seasoning is to get a really good steak seasoning spice and generously cover both sides before placing your steak on the grill. When you do place your steak on the grill, if you are going to have a rump or a porterhouse, make sure you place the strip of fat at the top, so as it cooks the fat will melt and drip through the steak, adding extra flavour to your meat.

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About The Author: Mick Reade is an Australian chef, who in 2001 was the winner of the Lonestar Steakhouse "Best Steak Cook in Australia" award, has cooked over 100,000 steaks during his career so far, and has been helping teach others how easy it can be to cook great tasting meals, for more information and recipes please visit http://www.alleasyfoodrecipes.com

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