Cooking steaks may seem intimidating if you don’t know what you’re looking for in a cut or how to prepare it. Luckily, once you learn the ropes, cooking any kind of steak becomes a breeze. To help you learn how to cook steak like the pros, here are a few tips for preparing restaurant-quality steaks at home.
Understand That Not All Steaks Are Created Equal
One of the most common mistakes people make when preparing steaks is thinking that they should all be prepared the same way. The texture of the steak is going to be highly dependent on two things: how much the muscle was used during the animal’s life and the fat distribution. The more the muscle was used while the animal was alive, the tougher the meat will be. Additionally, you want the fat of the meat to be evenly marbled throughout to ensure the meat stays soft and juicy when you cook it. For example, the best ribeye cuts come from the center of the ribs, which see little movement and have evenly distributed fat content.
Use the Right Equipment
Depending on the toughness and thickness of the steak, you’re going to need different equipment. If you have a thin, tough cut of steak, you’ll want to use a slow cooker to slowly break down the muscle while allowing the cut to retain moisture. For thicker, naturally tender cuts of steak, you’ll want to wait until the outside is cooked, then flip to the other side in a cast iron skillet. In truth, you don’t want to cook a quality steak well done, as you risk turning any cut of steak tough, no matter how expensive or naturally tender it is.
Go Light on the Seasoning
If you buy an expensive cut, the last thing you want to do is go too hard on the seasoning. Part of the tasting experience is enjoying the natural flavor the beef has to offer, and high-quality beef will have its own flavor profile. If you want to add seasoning, stick to aromatics, such as thyme or rosemary. You can also add some cracked black pepper, salt, or garlic butter. Remember that a good steak won’t need excess marinating unless you’re working with a tougher cut.
Don’t Cook Cold Meat
After you take your meat out of the fridge or freezer, let it rest at room temperature and allow the cut to warm up. You want the internal temperature of the uncooked steak to be close to the internal temperature of the cooked steak. For example, a medium-cooked filet mignon medallion should be 145℉ when it’s finished cooking. If you let the uncooked steak’s internal temperature rise to 50 or 60℉, it will cook much faster and more evenly. Without this step, you risk overcooking the steak to prevent a cold center.
With these tips for preparing restaurant-quality steaks, you’re ready to cook any cut of steak that comes your way and make it delicious. And if you’re looking for something unique, you can buy picanha steak at Vincent’s Meat Market to impress your next dinner guests.