Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Cooking the perfect steak (or at least trying to)

I've been attempting to cook the perfect steak for a few years now. I rarely go out for steak, as dining on the good stuff in restaurants tends to cost a fortune. Budgetary constraints mean it's usually a better option to buy a decent piece of meat and cook it at home.

I've had some success with the cook it hot and fast, followed by a long rest method as recommended here, but recently stumbled across this method that recommends cooking over a much lower heat for a longer period of time. The general idea is that the slow frying in butter builds up a crust, rather than actually chars the meat, and that it's this crust that enhances the flavour (something to do with the Maillard reaction).

So here is my attempt. First you need to procure some beef. To use this method you're going to need a steak at least 1.5 inches thick. Mine was a 600g (about 21oz) bone-in sirloin from the Ginger Pig, and was just 1.5 inches exactly.

Next, congratulate yourself on the fine piece of beef you have purchased by opening a drink. Cooking steak is thirsty work!

Stage 1 of the cooking process, get your pan over a medium (not high!) heat and fry the steak on it's edges. There are two reasons for this, first some of the fat will render out which will then be part of the cooking medium for the next stage, second it looks nicer and helps to crisp up the fat. You may also notice that I'm not using a griddle pan. I always find I get an uneven crust/char with the griddle pan (due to the ridges), whereas what I'm looking for is an even crust over the whole steak, hence the frying pan.

The method recommends 10 minutes cooking on the edges, followed by 10 minutes on each side. As my steak was only just 1.5 inches thick I stuck to the 10 minutes for the edges, but reduced to 7 minutes per side. Next up, stage 2 of the cooking process, add butter to the pan and fry on each side for 7 minutes. This photo is just after turning after the first 7 minutes. After the first turn you should change the butter as it will eventually start to break down and burn. You can see the nice crust starting to build up, but it's a bit patchy and not as even as I'd hoped for.

After turning, each side should be salted and basted with butter to help keep the crust developing. And here is the finished article, transferred to a plate for resting. This is the final stage of the cooking process. Place the steak in a warm oven (about 70 deg C) for around half the time you cooked it for. In my case this was about 11 minutes.

While the steak is resting, time to finish off the accompaniments. Parboiled potatoes straight into the steak pan to crisp up in the butter and beef fat.

And some lightly dressed rocket, for health purposes.

Then it's time to remove the steak from the oven, keeping fingers crossed that I haven't ruined it. The moment of truth:

Looking pretty good. I'm glad I opted to reduce the cooking time a bit, as any longer and it would have been overdone (it ended up medium rare). Pour a nice glass of red, and we're ready to serve:

This was a very, very good steak. Meat from the Ginger Pig is always delicious, hung for ages it develops a rich, almost creamy flavour. I like this cooking method, but it still wasn't perfect. The crust just didn't develop as well as I'd hoped for. What I'm after is a deeper, browner, saltier, crisper crust with a slightly rarer interior. The quest continues.


Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

loved this. A fantastic looking steak and clear, easy to follow instructions. You also seem to like Punk IPA with your steak which is my beer of choice!


Dave said...

Thanks Neil. This was my first attempt at doing a photo recipe with instructions so glad to here it made sense! Can't beat a bottle of Punk while cooking.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...