If you like steak you’ve come to the right place. Whilst it may get a pretty bad rap at times, red meat is a delicious and fantastic component of a healthy, balanced diet. Why? Here are a few of the headline benefits of beef:
- Rich protein source (and the amino acid carnitine)
- Good fat profile (and rich in CLA)
- Full of minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium
- Source of B vitamins
Here are some of my tips for how to get the most from your steak:
Buying Your Steak
- Look for the Red Tractor logo –
This ensures not only are you supporting British farmers but gives you the added assurance that you’re buying a quality product. Also, buy local if you can.
- Organic, grass-fed beef is best –
I love the phrase ‘you are what you eat has eaten’ – the healthier the cow, the healthier and better quality the beef.
- But, remember we live in the UK –
Standards of meat production in the UK are worlds apart from that of countries such as the United States. The majority of ‘regular’ beef cattle in UK live off a grass rich diet and antibiotic usage is far less intensive this side of the pond.
- Don’t presume more expensive cuts carry are better –
It’s about the quality of the meat and how you treat it, not the price. You can never go wrong with good piece of rump or sirloin.
- Look for 21+ days matured –
The maturation process imparts flavour to the meat and it’s a premium well worth paying for if you’re after a good steak.
- Look for good marbling –
Not only does fat equal flavour, but this also keeps the meat wonderfully juicy.
Preparing Your Steak
- Bring up to room temperature before cooking –
If the steak goes into the pan cold the fibres will contract, making the steak tough, and also release a lot of the juice that you want to keep inside.
- Make sure your pan is smoking hot before cooking –
Preheat the pan for at least 5 minutes to make sure you’re up to temperature.
- Oil the steak, not the pan –
This allows you to get the pan smoking hot without setting fire to things. Always a bonus.
- Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper –
This doesn’t just enhance the flavour but helps develop a nice crunch on the surface of the steak.
Cooking Your Steak
- Cook juicy cuts on a griddle, drier cuts in a flat pan –
Cook a juicy cut in a flat pan and you’re likely to start stewing it, cook a dry cut in a griddle and you’re likely to dry it out.
- Use tongs –
Don’t try and turn your steak with a knife or fork as you’ll puncture the meat and release the moisture that you want to keep inside.
- Don’t overcook it –
Even if you like your steak well-done, there’s no need to overdo it. Timings obviously depend a range of factors but, as a guide, it’s about 1 minute a side for blue, 2 minutes for medium and 3 for medium-well for a typical 2 cm thickness.
- Finish by basting with butter –
The addition of butter makes everything better, steak is no exception. For the last minute or so of cooking add a knob of softened, unsalted butter to the pan. Grab a spoon, tilt the pan towards you and basting the steak in all the buttery goodness.
Eating Your Steak
- Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes or so –
Resist the urge to dive straight in – resting the meat stops you losing all the juicy goodness, allows the fibres to relax gently and helps keep it beautifully tender.
- Invest in a good steak knife –
Worth the outlay if you’ll be eating steak often, makes cutting through fat a breeze rather than a chore.
- Cut in the direction of the fibres –
This not only makes cutting easier work but also helps to keep the meat tender.
There you have my 17 steak tips. Have I missed anything? Let me know your thoughts be dropping me a comment below.