Handling & storing the meat
Once you have bought the meat. Treat it like gold. Firstly, drain the meat of any juices that might have collected. Place it on some butcher’s paper or good quality kitchen paper because you don’t want pieces of paper sticking to the meat. Pat the meat dry and put it on top of the paper and a plate. Put another sheet of paper on top and cover gently with cling film/saran wrap leaving plenty of air around it. You don’t want to wrap it so tightly that you mash the meat. That will only squeeze out the juices. Keep the beef stored in the fridge until you need it. If you have several steaks, you can stack the meat separated by a sheet of paper.
Planning is Essential to Good Cooking
As mentioned before, depending on the taste of the diner, the cut of meat, the breed and so forth, you need to make a taste decision. There are no hard and fast rules here. Some people like meatier tastes, some people don’t. Sometimes you’re stuck with a cut which has subtler flavours and you may want to go for a rarer degree of cooking. Figure it out ahead of time and not while you’re cooking the meat.
Different views abound on how to cook a steak. The method described herein gives the maximum of control. You can adapt this for a barbecue but the key thing is control. For example high heat can be your enemy. It does not mean cooking faster.
Now let’s take the cut you want. Let it rest and start to warm up to room temperature. It shouldn’t need patting dry, but if it does then indulge it. Bring the pan up to temperature and add half teaspoon of oil or knob of butter just to coat the pan. You want the pan just hot enough so that the meat starts to sizzle as you put it in the pan. A heavy-based pan will ensure that the pan has enough heat to keep the temperature steady. With a thin-based pan you will struggle trying to adjust the heat to keep the steak sizzling but not so hot that it starts to burn the meat. You can easily make the pan too hot. What you’re looking for is just enough heat for a steady sizzle. You can use butter instead oil for that hint of nutty flavour. Other oils will impart different flavours and smells. Choose what best suits you.
When the pan is ready now season the meat lightly on the both sides and sear it on all sides. If you have a thick cut, stand the meat on its side to brown the edges. Minimise handling of the meat. If the pan is the right temperature, you shouldn’t have to be flipping the meat to stop it from burning or anything like that. If the temperature is too low the juices will come out and start to boil around the meat.
Sear the meat until you get a nice crust and a caramelised smell. It should also be visually appealing revealing a nice golden brown crust.
If you’re serving it blue take it off at this stage. If you’re cooking it further, take the pan off the heat and put it in an oven at around 180C. A well done 1 1/2 inch thick steak will take around 15 minutes.
Once you’ve taken the meat off the heat, let it rest on a warm plate covered with a clean cloth. This lets the meat relax and continue the cooking process for just that extra time without direct heat. This improves the juiciness without drying out the meat. Leave it for a minute or two.
You can use this time to prepare the plate for serving. Once you’re ready, serve the steak with the carefully chosen sauces and accompanying dishes.