Happy Friday everyone! It's gorgeous here in Michigan, and I am in a good mood (partly because I am now eating steak ;D). At this time of year I just wanna soak up the rest of the sun before fall and winter set it. The weather has already taken a turn for the breezy and I fear my days of shorts and flip flops will be over soon.
In the spirit of summer Fridays and all things fun, today I want to talk about steak! Recently I was talking to a friend and she was asking me all about steak. If you know me personally, you know that it is one of those subjects that I could talk about for hours. I'm not sure when steak became so important to me, but I blame my dad. We had steak dinner, with all the fixings, at LEAST once a week growing up. So I have had a few steaks in my day. I started to explain how to prepare a steak when I realized that a post would be a better way to organize my steak related ramblings. So for all of you interested in learning a no fuss (meaning no thermometers and no grill) way of cooking steak, read on!
How to Make a Kick Ass Steak
1. Pick out a gorgeous piece of meat! : There are so many different steaks to chose from. You can pick a prime rib, New York strip, flank steak, and the list goes on. Different parts of the cow need to be treated differently, but in general there are a few characteristics you want to see in a good piece of meat.
a. Good Marbling : This means that the cut of meat should have clean, bright fat running through the meat evenly. Some cuts don't have as much (fillet mingon for example) and this quality isn't as important. But if you are purchasing a rib eye, porter house, or new york strip you should want your meat to have fat running around and throughout.
i. Why is fat important?
Fat = Flavor & Fat keeps the meat moist. (Pro Tip for juicy steak: try bone-in cuts of steak, the bone also keep meat moist)
b. When possible, Dry/Wet Aged: Even though you cannot find properly aged meat in your typical grocery store due to different regulations, if you can get it, it makes all the difference. When you age meat you are allowing it to decompose in a controlled environment. That may sound gross, but as meat ages the connective tissues that hold it together start to die and break down. The result is a natural tenderizing that creates soft, buttery and juicy meat.
ii. Since I can't buy my own dry aged meat at my grocery store, can I dry age my own?
When meat is properly dry aged it is done in a heavily controlled environment where humidity and hygiene are of the utmost importance. I don't recommend that you try this on your own. However, if you store your steaks in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap or vacuumed sealed into a bad, they will keep for at least a week.
c. When you can't find properly aged meats, look for a nice deep pink color in the lean tissues.
d. Grass Fed and Organic: The best tasting animals are the ones who have been treated the best in life.
2. Cook it!
a. Pre-Heat your oven to 420 degrees
b. Allow your meat to come up to room temperature as the oven pre-heats. If you put a cold steak in a pan, it wont ruin it, but you wont get the best crust. It takes less time to form a crust on steak when it is already at room temperature vs cold from the fridge.
c. Pick out a skillet that can go into the oven (I used my Cast Iron Grill Pan). If you don't have an oven proof pan, you can use a pan and a cookie sheet or glass dish (simply place it on the dish when its time to pop the steak in the oven.) Place it over medium high heat and wait for it to start smoking. Don't be afraid of the high heat, high heat is what will give you gorgeous grill marks/crust.
d. Toss in a high heat oil (canola, grape seed, peanut). You don't need more than a few tablespoons, just aim to grease the whole pan, not create a whole layer of oil.
e. Lightly salt your entire steak. Don't add pepper, pepper will burn when exposed to such high temperatures. Salt will pull out some of the moisture from the meat, which will then get into the pan and help create a steak flavored exterior!
d. Place your steak in the pan! You want to hear an instant sizzle. Don't touch it! Let it lay where you initially placed it for at least a minute or two. Then once you notice browning edges, you can peek at the other side. If deep brown marks/crust has formed, you can move on to the next step.
e. Flip your steak over, then immediately stick it into the pre-heated oven.
f. Allow the steak to cook, undisturbed in the oven for 2-15 minutes. I know that is a wide window, but ovens vary as well as pans and the small differences between cooks. I recommend for someone without any idea how to cook a steak, to check it ever 2 minutes. If you want a medium rare steak (and you do), poke it with your finger, if it feels like the tip of your nose, it is ready. The meat should feel firm, but have a little give. It should bounce back slightly. Meat gets firmer the more you cook it. You may look silly, but the feeling of the tip of your nose is what you are looking for!
g. When the reaches medium rare, pull it out of the oven and place it onto a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes (if not 20) undisturbed. Seriously, do not skip this step. If you slice into a hot steak, all of the juice will leak out with every cut you make. You don't want the juice on the cutting board, you want it in your steak! If you allow the meat to rest, the juices will thicken slightly and wont pour out of your meat when you cut it.
h. Slice and Serve! Put it on a salad, roast some potatoes, crack open a beer, or simply tear into with your bare hands. Just get it into your mouth and enjoy :D!
And that is it! Sure there are lots of different marinades, seasoning and techniques you can use, but lets face it, steak is good because it's steak. When I eat I steak, I want to taste steak, I want the animal fat and flavorings to be at the forefront of my flavor receptors. I grow strong on the flesh of cows, and I know a lot of you feel the same.
What is your method for cooking a kick ass steak? Have you tried this method, were you successful? Drop me a line below, I am always interested in hearing from you guys! TTYL!