I’ve spent years perfecting a good steak, cooked at home. My method looks a bit strange, but is ultimately sensible, simple, and basically bugger-up-proof.
Season properly. Cook hard and fast. Flip Once. Rest Properly.
- Steak cut thick.
Normal super market thickness just isn’t going to let you get the nice balance between crispy browned oustide and juicy inside. 3cm is okay. But with my method, properly fat steaks, 4 or even 6 centimetres thick, are even more delicious, but not as scary as they look.
- Cast iron grill pan.
I can’t stress this enough… I know it’s written in bold font, but i’d need triple- or quadruple-bold to do it justice. If there’s no smoke, it’s not hot enough.
- Liberally season with Kosher Salt. This is probably the number 2 important rule.
There are proper scientific reasons for this. Kosher salt is very jagged on a crystal level, so does a brilliant job of drawing moisture out of the surface of the steak. Don’t believe people that tell you it will “dehydrate” your steak… it will, but not to any noticable level. What it does do is bring with it a lot of water soluble sugars and proteins. These sugars and proteins are the main component of the Maillard reaction (ie lovely browning) that occurs on the surface of the steak – and this browning makes steak taste like heaven, and not just sliced cow.
Also… kosher salt, because of the large but finely jagy crystals, has less than 50% the density of ordinary salt… so it’s less scary than it looks
- Sear violently.
For fancy grid pattern, rotate steaks 60 to 90 degrees after 45 seconds.
Pro tip: Because you only present one side, this is only necessary on this side.
- If it’s not smoking like a roomful of rastafarians, it’s not hot enough. Open a window, or turn the range hood extraction fan on.
- Turn. When to turn is the age old question… and i’m afraid the answer is “it depends”, almost entirely on the thickness. One thing i’ve found, is that an almost perfect “medium rare” is achieved if you turn as soon as “blood”* is seen starting to appear and pool on the top surface. Once you get the hang of the timing, rare, or even an amazing “blue” steak is achieved by turning earlier than this.
These particular steaks, because of the large pockets of fat, I gave a good 3 minutes on each side…. they ended up slightly further than medium rare, but still very juicy – and most of the fat had rendered.
- Rest. Every chef on TV says this EVERY TIME, but for years, all I got was cold, undercooked steak. TV Chefs appear to forget that home chefs don’t have 50 degree heat lamps suspended over “the pass” in which to leave steaks for a few minutes to finish cooking.
But! A cheap cake rack, placed over the grill pan (now turned off), can be used to suspend the steak in a warm environment that achieves perfect resting – with the added bonus that the drips sizzle and spit and smoke on the hot surface of the pan, and add lovely smokiness to the atmosphere of the resting steak. In this position, the steak will rest happily for more than 20 minutes, and still be edibly hot.
Pro tip: Chuck a thinly sliced onion or shallot on the pan, underneath the steak. By the time the steak is served, it will be incredible.
- Serve with Alton Browns Baked Potatos. These are the best. Honestly.
*Steak does not, raw or cooked, contain “blood”. All blood is drained from the animal carcass well before butchery. The red, blood like liquid that flows from cooked meat, is myoglobin rich water. That’s all