When a steak is seasoned and cooked perfectly to your liking, there’s nothing like it. If you think you can only get this from a fancy steakhouse, you’re wrong. If done properly, you can achieve the perfect steak at home. Whether you’re cooking on the grill, or on a pan inside, here are some smart steak cooking tips via the Pioneer Woman.
Let The Meat Rest (Twice)
Always let your steak rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Skipping this step results in an unevenly cooked steak because placing a chilled piece of meat in a pan or on the grill makes it hard for the heat to reach the center.
You also want to let your steaks rest after cooking. Take your steaks off the heat and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes to allow the juices redistribute and the fibers to relax. Try to avoid cutting into a steak as soon as it comes off the heat, as it will leave you with a tough, dry steak.
Salt is the most important ingredient when it comes to steaks. At the bare minimum, it is important to season your steaks with a generous amount of salt and cracked black pepper. You will want to do this before you let the steaks rest so that the seasoning has time to work its way deep into the meat.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try some bold spices like cumin, smoked paprika, sumac, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, or even cinnamon.
No matter where you are cooking your steaks, always start with high heat. A hot cooking surface will caramelize the outside of the steak, sealing in the juices and flavor. You will find that this will also create a steak that’s crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.
Chefs may have their own ways to determine the “doneness” of a steak, but using a meat thermometer will help prevent you from overcooking your steaks.
Press the probe into the center of one steak once you think they have reached the right temperature. Keep in mind that the internal temperature will continue to rise 3-5 degrees after you remove the steaks from the heat, so it might be wise to take the steaks off the heat just before you hit your mark.
Here’s a guide for the perfect internal temperatures:
- Rare: 125°F
- Medium-rare: 130-135°F
- Medium: 140-145°F
- Medium-well : 150°F
You want to avoid overcooking your meat as the flavor and juices will dissipate the longer you cook it. Err on the side of caution by taking it off the heat earlier than later. If it’s a bit underdone to your liking, you can always cook it more, but there’s no turning back when your steak is overcooked.
Please note that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your steaks and the temperature of your heat source. When searing on high, the Pioneer Woman advises cooking 1.5in steaks for about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
Your perfectly cooked steaks will taste great as is, but you can also amp up the flavor with toppings.
Adding a chunk of butter sounds simple, but is one of the best toppings for your steak. The butter melts into the steak juices, creating an amazing sauce.
You can also try sautéed mushrooms, gremolata, fresh pesto, tabbouleh, or vegetable slaws to complement your steaks.
As you can see, attention to detail and great piece of meat can go a long way when you’re cooking at home. Follow these steps and you’re on your way to perfectly cooked steaks.
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