How To Cook The Best Steak In The World - Part 2PART 2:- Cooking To Perfection
The process of actually cooking your steak is quite simple, but there are a few key things you need to know to get the best result. Firstly, the advantage of using the chargrill means you can have nice cross-markings on your steak when it's finished, which looks fantastic for presentation. To achieve this, your steak will need to be turned three times, the first time straight over itself, then on the second turn spin it around 90 degrees so the lines from the grill will cross over each other and make little brown squares all over the steak, and then the third and final turn will be straight over itself again.
When you're finished the steak should have cross-markings on both sides, and you can choose whichever side looks best to serve facing up. What you should find if you have got the grill positioning right for your preferred doneness, 3-4 minutes in between each turn should have your steak turn out just the way you like it! (If you are cooking your steak bleu, you only need to cook it for 3 minutes on each side in total, just enough to seal each side basically).
This is just a guide to work by only, as each grill will produce slightly different results, but definitely the most important stage of cooking your steak is knowing when it is at the exact doneness you would like. This can sometimes be a little tricky, but there are a couple of methods for testing your steak without needing to cut into it.
The best method to use when you're just starting to learn would be what I call the "thumb test". Hold your left hand out open and relaxed, and press the flesh of your left thumb with your right index finger. It should feel quite soft, and this is how a rare steak should feel when you press it with your finger.
Now lightly touch your left thumb to your left index finger, and press the flesh of your thumb with your right index finger. This is how a medium-rare steak should feel when it's ready. Next, lightly touch your left thumb to your left middle finger, and pressing the flesh of your left thumb will feel like a medium steak when it's ready. Touching your left thumb to your left ring finger will make the flesh of your left thumb feel like a medium-well steak, and touching the left thumb to your left little finger will make the flesh of your thumb feel like a well-done steak.
Try this out as a guide to get you started, and as with all things, practice and experience will help you hone your ability and instincts to know just when your steak is cooked to perfection! And just as importantly, make sure you get feedback from every person that you cook a steak for, this will make your progress go much faster. As they say, "feedback is the breakfast of champions!"
Another method to use, which can be a little bit sneaky, is if you can see into the middle of the steak at the edges to see what colour the middle looks like. This works really well for a scotch fillet, as you can gently pull away part of the meat right where the C-shaped piece of fat is without damaging your steak, and see if the inside is red, pink or grey.
Now I will explain to you each doneness, so you can work out how you would like to cook it and so you know what to look for when it is finished. I will start with bleu, which is basically just sealed, is still very red in the middle, quite mushy to the touch, and will feel a little cool inside, only slightly warmed.
Rare is red in the middle from edge to edge, a little mushy, and will just feel warm inside. Medium-rare is red in the middle and pink at the edges, and will feel warm inside. Medium is pink in the middle from edge to edge, feels tender to the touch, and will be warm to hot inside. Medium-well still has a quarter in the middle that is pink, and will be grey at the edges, feels quite firm and is hot inside.
If you plan to cook your steak medium-well or above, I would suggest you could speed up the cooking time by using a steak weight to place on top of your steak. It should be shiny silver and kept clean, and what will happen is the heat coming up from the flames below will be reflected down on to the top of the steak so it cooks on both sides. Make sure if you use a steak weight that you only place it on your steak after sealing one side so there is no chance of cross-contamination. Well-done steaks are grey throughout, no pink at all, quite firm, although can still be juicy, and is very hot inside. Very well-done steaks are grey throughout with no pink at all, very firm, very hot, and no juices whatsoever.
You can also get your steak cooked Pittsburgh, which basically means charring the outside so it is burnt while the inside doesn't need to be completely cooked. For example, if you want to have your steak Pittsburgh-Rare, you could char the outside, and the inside would be red in the middle from edge to edge. To do this you will need some oil or butter, I personally use lemon butter just for the flavouring, and drizzle some over the steak until it drips onto the flames underneath. Your goal here is to build the flames up so they are licking at the steak and will cook the outside much faster than the inside.
CAUTION! Be very mindful of how much butter you use, make sure you have fire safety equipment, and if necessary that you have adult supervision. Do not do this if you do not feel comfortable working with large flames, it can be very dangerous if something nearby catches fire, so please be very careful if this is how you would like to have your steak cooked.
Everybody has different preferences when it comes to their beef, but I would urge you to try each different way so you can work out for yourself what's best for you. Many people fear the sight of blood coming out of their steak, if you can work up the courage to try something new for yourself, who know, you might find you really like it! I personally eat my steaks medium-rare, and would like to take this opportunity to mention that once your steak starts getting to medium-well and above, you really lose a lot of the nutritional benefits of eating beef, so I would recommend not cooking your steak any more than medium, but obviously that is a choice that is entirely up to you.
Now all that's left to do is to serve up your perfectly cooked steak, but first make sure you rest your steak for a minute or two away from the heat, so the juices inside settle and even themselves out through your steak. There are many choices of sides and sauces that can go with your meat, far too many to list here. I always love it with a creamy mashed potato and seasonal steamed vegetables, and my favourite sauce is mushroom sauce.
If you have the time the best sauce is made using beef bones, cooked off with a little tomato paste, then make a stock by boiling the bones in water with some celery, carrots, onion, leeks, bay leaves and peppercorns. Simmer it for a couple of hours until it reduces about three-quarters, and then remove the bones and vegetables. Add some red wine and port, and reduce it down to about half of where it is now, until it starts to thicken with a nice consistency. From here you can add some sliced mushrooms, or peppercorns if you prefer, and even add a little cream if you like as well. This is very time consuming to make the jus (rich beef gravy), but if you can do it you will find it well worthwhile. One other little tip I have for you is to brush a small amount of lemon butter over your steak before saucing it, this will keep your steak very juicy and tender. I hope you enjoy cooking and eating many steaks in the future, and make sure you go out and impress your friends with your newfound cooking skills!
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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