Is there anything more delicious than a juicy steak, cooked just right? Accompanied by a robust red, this is a dish that will never go out of style.
That said, it’s also a dish that can easily go wrong. Cook your steak too long and it will instantly toughen and become chewy; cook it too little and you may as well be eating straight from the cow.
Owner of Richmond butchery, Bertie's Butcher, Darren Moncrieff says the secret to the perfect piece of beef is not so much the cut of meat, but the size. “Regardless of whether you are cooking a sirloin, porterhouse or fillet, the key to getting it right is cutting it approximately three centimetres thick.” Chef Emily Bollinger continues: “When you first put the meat in the pan, don’t be afraid to turn the heat up high to sear it because you won’t burn it, but you will get the crust just right.”
Below, Moncrieff has shared his simple formula to getting your steak bang on each and every time below – in this case to be cooked medium, but you can cook a little more or a little less if you prefer.
Firstly, choose your cut. Tenderloin, porterhouse (sirloin), Scotch fillet (rib eye) and rumps are the easiest cuts to grill. As mentioned, they should be three centimetres thick and 200 grams to 300 grams per person.
Grab a frying pan (aluminium, iron or steel, not non-stick as they do not get hot enough for searing) and take the steak it out of the fridge 60 minutes prior to let it reach room temperature (this is important!). If you are cooking rump, make two or three nicks in the fat to avoid the steak curling. Toss the steak in vegetable oil and Sea Salt (don’t use refined salt – the chunkier the better) and turn your stove top to the highest heat, waiting until the pan is hot.
Next you need to sear the surface to trap the juices in. Add the steak to the pan for one minute searing one side then turn it (using tongs only so as not to pierce the meat) to sear on the other side for another minute. From here, reduce the heat to medium-low or 30 per cent of full heat, and leave the steak on its second side for three minutes before turning it back to its original side for a further three minutes.
Remove the steak form the pan and set aside somewhere warm for three-and-a-half minutes (ideally on a warm rack such as the barbecue shelf).
To test if your steak is done, press the centre with the back of the tongs. The steak will feel soft if it's rare, slightly firmer and springy when it's medium and very firm when it's well done. The best way to do this is through the finger test. Each one of your fingers, when touched with the tip of your thumb will reveal how the steak should feel to a particular level of cooking.
WELL DONE: Gently press the tip of your pinky and your thumb together. Feel the fleshy area at the base of the thumb with your other hand. It should feel quite firm. This is what well-done meat feels like when you press on it.
MEDIUM: Press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little more.
MEDIUM RARE: Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb.
RARE: Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below the thumb should give quite a bit.
BLUE (Or raw to rare): Open up the palm of your hand and feel below your thumb. This is what meat cooked to rare feels like.
To serve the steak, lubricate it with juices from the pan or add a teaspoon of seasoned butter.