How to Cook the Perfect Steak

For lovers of meat, a good steak is a thing of true beauty. It can take a farmer years of love and attention to create the perfect bit of beef, so the care taken at the cooking stage is crucial to bringing out its best – because let’s face it, nobody likes a tough steak.

As much as it can be tempting to go fancy, when it comes to cooking steak, a simple approach is always best. In fact, to achieve a MasterChef level of at-home culinary perfection you’ll need little more than a hot pan or grill, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil.

Keen to know more, we dove deep into the world of prime cuts to uncover six of the most useful tips designed to up your steak game and maximise your carnivorous culinary pleasure. 

Choose the Right Cut 
It’s a common misconception to think that price directly correlates to flavour. Sure, a piece of marbled wagyu ribeye will be next-level delicious, but cheaper cuts are often just as tasty – you just need to know how to cook them properly. Consider the skirt or the flank, which, as harder-working muscles often have greater depth of texture and flavour. The trick to finding the best cut? Do your research. Ask your butcher a few questions and your tastebuds will thank you for it.

Heat it Up 
Whether you're cooking in a frypan or over the barbie, it's super-important to get the heat right first. If it's still coming to temperature when you begin cooking the meat, you'll over-cook your cut or make it uneven and tough. If you're the kind of cook who likes to oil the pan, it should be almost smoking – otherwise, you’ll end up with greasy meat. But it's not just about heating up the pan: equally, if not more-so important, is the temperature of your uncooked steak. Take it out of the fridge an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature all the way through, then pat down with a kitchen paper until dry and you’re good to go.

To Turn or Not to Turn 
Kitchen wisdom has long held that one should only turn a steak once, lest it become tough. This way, amino acids and sugars combine to create complex aromas and flavours and give the steak its all-important brown caramelisation. Turning that theory on its head, TV chef Heston Blumenthal’s approach advocates turning the steak every 15 seconds, which he says encourages even cooking and a wonderful barky crust. Many home cooks have discovered the delicious benefits of the approach, so if you’re yet to try it, give it a go and see for yourself.

Timing is Everything
When it comes to testing a steak’s “done-ness,” professional chefs take a sensory approach. A gentle prod with tongs or a finger should yield either a soft response (for rare), a springy bounce (medium) or a firm reply for well-done. If that all sounds a little too risky, you could try investing in an ultra-cheap meat thermometer. At 55 degrees your meat's rare, 60 for medium or 70 for well done. You'll never go back.

Let it Rest 
With all those wonderful aromas wafting around the kitchen, it can be tempting to want to dig in immediately. But letting your cooked steak sit for three to five minutes (on a warm plate, covered with foil), is the ultimate tip for maximum tenderness and taste. Resting allows the muscle fibres to relax and lets the meat to re-absorb some of its juices. Plus, it'll continue cooking while it sits, gently arriving at the finished temperature.

Remember: your Butcher is your Friend

The one sure-fire way to become a great steak chef is to have a conversation with the people who know meat best. The passionate team at Farm Fresh Meats go the extra mile to build relationships with the best local farmers and love to talk meat with customers. Every cut of meat requires a different approach, so while you might not know exactly how to cook a hanger steak, the folks behind the counter will. Tell them what you like, and they'll happily find something to suit your taste and your budget too. 

To purchase the freshest cuts of steak with side serve of time-honoured butcher’s wisdom visit to the team at Farm Fresh Meats.