You don’t have to be a restaurant chef to know how to cook steak perfectly. Steak is a fast-cooking meat that you can prepare in minutes over the stove or in the oven. How you cook your steak and for how long, however, depend on the cut, grade and thickness of your meat. Take time to learn a little bit about the steak you’re cooking to ensure great results.
Types of Steak Cuts and Grade
Steak is cut from different parts of a cow’s body. While some pieces are tender and fast-cooking, others are tougher but flavorful. Therefore, the way you season and cook tenderloin, for instance, will be different from the method you use to prepare shanks. In terms of grade, your meat can be select, choice or premier. Remember that the most tender steak cuts are made from the rear part of the cow. The meat closest to the shoulders tends to be tougher but less expensive.
Seasoning and marinating are very important factors when learning how to cook steak. Seasoning with spices is recommended for tender steak cuts. This is because they’re too soft to marinate and adding too much flavor can ruin them. Marinades are best for tougher cuts like flanks, chucks and sometimes sirloin. In fact, if you want to tenderize tough steak, it is advisable to use marinades with citrus twists like lemon and herb.
Be careful when using salt to season steak, particularly tender cuts. Salt is known for toughening steak when used before cooking. The best way to salt steak is after meat is cooked. You can also add salt to meat before cooking. Just let the salted steak sit for an hour or so, then rinse it under cold water and pat to dry.
How to Cook Steak on the Stove Top
- 2 8 ounces New York strip steak,or any steak cut that you prefer.
- Salt and pepper for rubbing
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Rub salt and pepper allover the steak.You can also use your favorite steak rub.
- Before pan-frying steak, it is a good idea to rub it in a bit of oil first.
- In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of cooking oil. If you like your steak rare set the heat to high. If you prefer yours medium, adjust to medium heat.
- Wait until the oil is sizzling hot and add the steak. Cook meat until it forms a brown crust, turn it over and cook on the other side. Avoid moving steak while it is cooking.
- Watch the juices. If there are juices on top of the steak after cooking both sides, it is still rare. The best way to continue cooking it is either transferring it to the oven, or wrapping it in foil to cook until medium rare.
How to Cook Steak in the Oven
Step 1: To cook medium and well done steak, select the broiler option and preheat the oven.
Step 2: Follow pan-frying instructions above.
Step 3: Remove skillet from stovetop and transfer it into the oven.
Step 4: Cook steak on both sides inside the skillet for 2 minutes each until done.
Step 5: Test for doneness by pressing the steak with mitten-covered hands. If meat feels soft, it’s still rare. If it is firm on the outside and softer around the center, it is medium. If steak is tough all over, it is likely well-done.
Learning how to cook steak perfectly doesn’t have to be difficult. Although there are many cooking tips to try and practice, mastering the basics can get you good results. It’s simple: season your steak cut appropriately, pan-fry, transfer to oven and keep cooking it until it’s done just the way you like it.