9 Tips to Cooking the Perfect Steak

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Steak is a timeless crowdpleaser with effortless class, but it can be surprisingly difficult to get right. Whether it’s biting down into a frozen center, or attempting to cut through a piece of meat as tough a deflated basketball, the trick to getting a steak done to perfection is fraught with potential disasters. Want to knock it out of the park every time? Read on.

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1. Getting Warmer

The first mi(steak) novices make is to pull the meat out of the freezer and drop it straight into a sizzling hot pan. Give the meat time to warm up first.
At least half an hour before cooking, leave the meat out on a plate or in a cleaned sink at room temperature. Be wary, because as the meat thaws, it may drip a little water and even blood–it’s not a bad idea to put a paper towel between the meat and the plate to absorb the extra liquids.
You want to season the meat at this point so that the spices have a chance to soak in before you start cooking.

2. Prepare the Pan

A proper steak starts with a properly prepared pan. Make sure to choose a pan large enough for the cut(s) of steak to lie flat in a single layer. Use enough olive oil to completely cover the surface of the pan, and then set the pan over high heat. You want to give the oil time to heat up before you add the meat.

3. Hands Off

Once you get the oil sizzling hot, you’ll need to whip out the tongs. Do not try to put the meat in with your own fingers–you will get burned. And watch out for oil splatter.

4. Think About Thickness

Your strategy for the next step is going to depend on the cut of meat you’re working with. For a thin cut like skirt steak, go ahead and keep the flames way up–the heat will go right through the whole piece of meat. For a thicker steak, you want to turn the heat down just a little bit so that you don’t end up with golden palace housing a tiny frozen tundra.
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5. Be Attentive

Make sure to give each side of the steak it’s fair share of time against the surface of the pan. It’s better to flip the steak a few times while cooking then to let one side burn while the other stays pink.

6. Know When to Lay Off

Once the meat is browned on all sides, turn down the heat (just a little, not all the way) and let it continue to cook at a lower temperature.
There is no exact formula for how long to cook the steak at this point–it will depend on how well-done you want the meat. The best way to check doneness is with a thermometer, but you can also cut into the center a bit with a knife to check the inside.

7. Take Five

Once you remove the meat from the flame, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This gives the loose juices a chance to reabsorb into the meat and tenderize it. Patience is a virtue–by allowing the meat to rest, you get a more flavorful end product.

8. Cut It Right

Taking the time to properly cook the perfect piece of steak is a wasted effort if you chop into it like you’re felling a tree. Make sure to use a sharp knife and cut with the knife held perpendicular to the natural grain of the meat.
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9. Be Confident

Steak may be the star of gourmet menus, but it’s completely achievable at home. Be brave and take risks. A little practice is all you need to go pro.

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Home Chef started because our founder Pat loves to cook but was too busy to grocery shop. We get you – you’re busy, too. That’s why we make it easy for you to skip a delivery, edit your orders, or cancel the service directly online.

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