How to Cook a Steak
How do you cook a steak? How do you select a steak? There’s nothing quite like having a homemade steak dinner, and here you will find everything you need to know to cook a perfect steak. First, we will go through the different types of steak cuts, and then explore the different techniques you can use to cook steak.
The first step to culinary excellence is of course to find your perfect cut of meat, whether it is our Scotch Beef Côte de Boeuf that is perfect for sharing, or our variety of twin packs that are ideal to serve as a meal for two. Our twin packs include a Scotch Beef Ribeye Steak Twin Pack which features our prime ribeye steaks, marbled with a small ribbon of fat to add a depth of flavor and prevent the steak from drying out. We are also proud of our Scotch Beef Fillet Steak Special Trim Twin Pack that showcases why the fillet is the most premium and most tender steak available. Lastly, our Aberdeen Angus Beef Sirloin Steak Special Trim Twin Pack offers two classic steaks that are both juicy and full of flavour.
We also have an enormous Stoltman Steak for those that like to challenge themselves, and a generous Scotch T-bone Steak for those who have an appetite for the classics. The other fine steaks that we sell separately include the little-known but excellent value for money Scotch Beef Flat Iron Steak, our versatile Scotch Beef Rump Steak and Pave Rump Steak, a tender Scotch Beef Bavette Steak that is beautiful when marinated, the delicious flavor-packed Scotch Beef Hanger Steak, and lastly our Scotch Beef Fillet Steaks Larder Trim Centre Cut that will impress any dinner guest. We also offer a Scotch Beef Picanha Steak, a South American cut of meat that provides a unique alternative that is ideal for serving sliced.
Our Scotch beef steaks come from cattle that are born, raised, and processed right here in Scotland and adhere to the Quality Meat Scotland standards. This means you can be assured that our meat is of the highest quality and from local farms that adhere to strict animal welfare standards. Our highly skilled butchers prepare each cut to order in-house, ensuring that every product we deliver is made and delivered fresh.
If you are still a bit unsure about what the different cuts of steak are, or how to cook a perfect steak just read on.
A Guide to Steak Cuts
The Sirloin: The Sirloin is a classic steak that tasty and tender, and particularly well suited for having with a variety of steak sauces.
The Fillet: The fillet is a lean cut that melts in your mouth and is best when cooked quickly on a very hot pan.
The Rump: This cut is full of flavor due to being marbled with fat which dissolves when cooking, which adds to the tastiness and helps prevent the steak from drying out.
The Minute: Minute steak is so-called because it fries very quickly, and is ideal in sandwiches and stir frys.
The Ribeye: A favourite with chefs, this steak is well-marbled and very rich in flavor and goes very well with blue cheese and peppercorn sauces.
The T-Bone: This steak is comprised of two different cuts, with sirloin on one side and fillet on the other. This can require more skill as the fillet will finish cooking faster than the sirloin.
The Flat Iron: This cut comes from under the shoulder blade which gives it quite a bit of texture and plenty of flavor, and is best cooked slightly rare.
The Hanger Steak: This is also known as the onglet or “butcher’s steak” as traditionally it has been the preferred cut of the professionals, it has a lot of texture and flavor and is best when cooked very quickly at a high heat and served rare.
The Bavette: A very versatile cut that is well suited for marinating, this is particularly popular in France and is the steak often served as Steak Frites.
A Guide to Cooking Steak
Cooking steak can seem like a challenge but if you follow a few essential tips and tricks you will be fine.
To start with, steaks are cooked to the following descriptions:
• Blue: Not cooked in the middle, seared on the outside
• Rare: Very pink in the middle
• Medium/Rare: Cooked but still quite pink in the middle
• Medium: Cooked throughout and only slightly pink in the middle
• Medium/Well Done: Cooked throughout, only the slightest hint of pink
• Well Done: Cooked throughout, not pink at all
Generally, you want to aim for Medium/Rare to Medium, as that allows for the steak to be cooked through without it becoming overcooked where it may run the risk of becoming chewy. However, people do have personal tastes and preferences.
Before you cook your steak
The next thing to note is that before you start cooking your steak should be taken out of the fridge and left to sit until it reaches room temperature. This is because if the steak is too cold you may end up overdoing the outside before the middle of the steak is fully warmed and end up with an undercooked steak. While it is sitting, you should rub the steak with a flavourless oil with a high smoke point like sunflower oil or rapeseed oil, salt, and pepper. Make sure to be very generous with your seasoning, as a lot of it will be lost when you start frying.
Then you want to heat up a pan or griddle until very hot. Cast iron skillets are perfect for cooking steak as they retain a lot of heat evenly. The essential thing is that your pan or griddle must be big enough for you to place your steak comfortably on it. If your pan is not big enough for two steaks do not try to squeeze them in, simply cook one after the other.
Next, the important part is the sear. Once the pan is very hot place your steak in the pan, and make sure when laying your steak into the pan to lay it going away from you. This should help stop the oil from splashing on you. When the pan is hot enough, the meat will brown and form a sear. This is called the Maillard reaction, and is a chemical reaction between amino acids and heat that causes the meat to sear and caramelise, bringing a lot of flavor with it.
By Cooking Time:
The cooking times for these descriptions are as follows:
• Blue: 1 to 1.5 minutes on each side
• Rare: 2.5 minutes on each side
• Medium/Rare: 3 to 4 minutes on each side
• Medium: 4 minutes on each side
• Medium/Well Done: 5 minutes on each side
• Well Done: 6 minutes on each side
Do bear in mind this is for a sirloin steak that is about 1” thick, you may need to adjust the cooking times.
By Touch Test:
For another easy way of telling how cooked a steak is, you can use the touch test.
This is the preferred method used by chefs, as it can be used for all types of steaks.
Simply hold your palm out in front of you, and with your other hand feel the palm flesh between your thumb and forefinger. This will have the same feel as raw steak.
Then, with your palm outward again with the same hand touch your index finger to your thumb. With your other hand again press the fleshy bit between your thumb and forefinger. It should feel slightly more rigid. This is the texture of rare steak.
With the same hand press your thumb and middle finger together, then once again feel the fleshy bit between your thumb and forefinger. This should feel quite a bit firmer and is the texture of medium/rare steak.
Press your thumb and ring finger together and feel between your thumb and forefinger, this is the texture of medium cooked steak.
Lastly, press your thumb and pinky together. The fleshy bit of your palm between your thumb and forefinger should feel quite tough, this is the texture of a well-done steak.
Another way to cook your steak is to use a meat thermometer to assess the temperature of your meat and therefore gauge how cooked it is. Simply put your thermometer in the very centre of the steak, and the temperature for different levels of cooked it as follows:
Medium/Well Done: 65C
Well Done: 72C
After you cook your steak
When your steak has finished cooking, make sure to let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes. This allows for the juices to redistribute which gives the steak a better texture. Also, note that your steak will keep cooking during this time due to residual heat.
Now you have selected your perfect steak and know how to cook it, why not have a look at our recipes for The 10 Best Steak Sauces and The 10 Best Steak Side Dishes to complete your meal?