- Meat Boxes
Let’s talk about steak! These delicious cuts of beef are something that most people leave for the professionals to do, but why should you? Don’t be afraid of cooking your own steak at home and making it that perfect Friday dinner time treat.
This extensive guide to steak covers everything you’ll need to know, from the cuts of steak, and their characteristics, to cooking temperatures and timings, as well as the perfect steak sauces.
We’ve even asked the nation for their knowledge of steak. Does the UK know the difference between medium rare and medium? What are their favourite sauces? We’ve found out everything about how the UK enjoys their steaks and you can find out more here.
There are lots of different cuts of steak available. To help you understand the difference between each we’ve listed them below:
The Sirloin is a classic steak that is tasty and tender, and particularly well suited for having with a variety of steak sauces.
The fillet is a lean cut that melts in your mouth and is best when cooked quickly on a very hot pan.
This cut is full of flavour due to being marbled with fat which dissolves when cooking, and further adds to the tastiness and helps prevent the steak from drying out.
Minute steak is so called because it fries very quickly, and is ideal in sandwiches and stir frys.
A favourite with chefs, this steak is well-marbled and very rich in flavour and goes very well with blue cheese and peppercorn sauces.
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.
This cut comes from under the shoulder blade which gives it quite a bit of texture and plenty of flavour, and is best cooked slightly rare.
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 flavour and is best when cooked very quickly at a high heat and served rare. If cooked more than Medium Rare, the steak can be very tough.
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.
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:
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 and they can all be enjoyed.
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 vegetable 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 it is 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 flavour with it.
The cooking times for these descriptions are as follows:
Do bear in mind that the above refers to a sirloin steak that is approx. 1” thick, and you may need to adjust the cooking times should you have a thinner or thicker cut.
Alternatively, seal the steak for 45 secs to 1 minute each side and place in the oven at 200° for the below times:
Remember to allow the meat to rest for the same length of time as cooking.
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 a 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 to find 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, and 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 is as follows:
Always oil and season the steak and rub into the meat before putting in the pan.
Sirloin steak has a little bit of fat around the edges, meaning you need to properly render the fat, which requires cooking in a super-hot pan. Keep cooking until the fat around the steak is golden brown. Then cook it following the above instructions.
Fillet steak is very lean, which means it can become tough during the cooking process. We usually recommend cooking it rare to medium, as to not overcook it, and also with plenty of basting to keep it moist.
Rump steak requires at least three minutes on each side with plenty of basting (using oils, butters and seasonings). It’s a muscular cut, which means it needs plenty of heat and fat to make it tender.
Because minute steaks are so thin, they cook quite easily within four minutes. Cook on both sides for two minutes and avoid cooking for too long as it can become quite tough.
Your oil needs to be spitting to ensure it’s hot enough for a ribeye steak. It’s best to cook rib-eye to at least medium-rare, as this gives the fat enough time to render down and flavour the meat.
The difference with cooking a t-bone steak compared to others, is that once you’ve seared it for 1-2 minutes on both sides, you then set the heat to medium and let it cook for at least 8-10 minutes longer for rare, 10-13 minutes for medium-rare, 11-14 minutes for medium and 13-16 minutes for medium-well.
You can even sear the steak for 2 minutes and then transfer to a 200°C oven for 10 minutes afterwards.
Flat iron steaks are quite dense, meaning it takes longer to cook (at least 8 minutes). We don’t recommend cooking it beyond medium, so set it on high heat for a couple of minutes and then bring it down to medium heat until it’s cooked through.
Try butterflying your hanger steak so that it’s flatter. Then we recommend cooking it rare, two minutes on both sides.
A bavette steak benefits from tenderising in marinade overnight in the fridge. Then let it get to room temperature before searing for four minutes on both sides. Check out the different steak marinades you can try.
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?
Now that you know about the different steak cuts and how to cook a steak, let’s take a look at accompaniments. A popular must-have with steak is sauce, and our survey revealed that peppercorn is the UK’s favourite steak sauce. But what are all of the different sauces that pair beautifully with a steak?
Learn to make each of these sauces with our extensive guide to steak sauce recipes.
We also have a range of ready-made steak sauces that you simply heat up and serve for a fantastic restaurant experience with ultimate ease.
Steaks are best eaten alongside some delicious sides, and there are plenty to choose from. But we’ve picked our top 10, along with recipes, so that you can easily pick your favourite.
Steak and chips are a classic combination, and chips are relatively easy to make once you get the knack of them.
You can use sunflower oil to fry your chips, but for a really excellent flavour, beef fat – also known as beef dripping – is a perfect choice to go with a steak dinner. In terms of potatoes, Maris Piper, Red Rooster, and Golden Wonder are ideal.
For frying, you want to use a deep pan and do not fill more than half the pan with your choice of fat. For a lighter alternative, you can also bake your chips by placing them on a baking tray, drizzling with oil and seasoning with salt, then roasting in a preheated oven at 200C/Gas Mark 6 for 45 minutes. Make sure to turn them at regular intervals too. You could also use an air fryer to get your chips crisp and delicious, without having to use all of the extra oil.
Coleslaw is a fantastic accompaniment to steak, providing a nice, fresh and crunchy balance to a meal. On top of this, coleslaw is incredibly easy to make and can be done in advance for a stress-free approach to a steak dinner at home.
If you are planning on making a steak sandwich, coleslaw also makes a fine dressing. You can use any type of cabbage, or even a mix of several for added colour and flavour.
Tenderstem broccoli fried with a little garlic and butter/olive oil gives you a really easy side dish that is packed with texture and flavour. You can also add asparagus and spinach to this recipe for an even greater variety of vegetables to pair up with your steak. Just make sure if you are adding spinach to only put it in at the end as it will only take a few minutes to cook.
Baked potatoes are a great side to have with steaks and will likely please anyone you are cooking for. On top of this, they are also delicious and incredibly easy. The ideal baked potato should be very fluffy on the inside with a nice crispy skin. Technically you can use any type of potato but Russet and baking potatoes are perfect.
This green leaf salad with a French style vinaigrette is a fresh, crispy, and zesty side dish for your steaks. You can have it by itself, or even with some of the other side dishes listed here like chips or baked potatoes.
Dauphinoise potatoes are a classic side dish of rich and creamy potatoes with cheese. This is a perfect pairing with steak, but also works incredibly well with roasts. If you are feeling particularly decadent you can fry a few bacon lardons and add them to the potatoes before you put them in the oven.
A slightly more unusual and modern side dish for your steak dinner, this couscous is bursting with lots of different flavours and colours, making it a really exciting side to have. The combination of the rich feta, sharp lemon and tomatoes, and sweet red pepper compliment a lovely juicy steak. In fact, you could slice your steak and add it to this salad rather than have it as a side dish for a lighter meal.
Mustard and mustard sauces go incredibly well with steak, and with this mustard mash you have a wonderful combination of a smooth and creamy mash that still has a punch of flavour. This very simple dish can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge, then simply heat up when needed. The best potatoes to use are Maris Piper, Golden Wonder, and Red Rooster.
Always a classic at barbecues, corn on the cob makes a very sweet, spicy, crunchy, and tasty partner with steak. It is also very easy to make and can be as seasoned or simple as you wish depending on your personal preference.
This dish originates from the city of Lyon in France, and consists of fried slices of potatoes with onion and garlic. It is easy to make, and is perfect with steaks.
We surveyed 1,000 people to find out what the UK loves about steak. What are their favourite sauces? How do they like it cooked? We even did some qualitative research to find out if people really know how they like their steak. Do you order medium-rare but then complain it was too pink? There may be better steak out there for you.
Our qualitative study found that out of the people surveyed, almost 50% [49%] of people prefer their steak to be cooked differently to how they order it.
58% of people who order medium-rare or rare then chose differently when choosing from the images of cooked steak.
The study also found that those who order it well done are most likely to order it correctly, with 89% guessing well done correctly from the photos.
Our research found that sirloin and fillet came in a close first place with 29.9% and 29.8% of the UK choosing that cut of steak over others.
|What type of steak do you prefer?||Percentage of UK|
Secondly, we asked them how they like their steak cooked, with medium-rare taking the lead at 27%. Following closely behind was medium at 22.9% and well done at 20.2%.
As little as 2.9% are daring enough to eat their steak blue, and 9.4% are ordering it rare.
|How do you like your steak cooked?||Percentage of UK|
With no surprise, peppercorn came out on top as the UK’s favourite steak sauce with 26.6% of the votes. But, at second, 14% of people said they have no sauce. Well, if you’re one of them then we highly recommend trying one of our top 10 favourite sauces next time you have a steak. You may be surprised how good they taste.
|What’s your favourite sauce to accompany your steak?||Percentage of UK|
|Red wine sauce||11.3%|
|Blue cheese sauce||7.8%|
So, you’ve learnt everything you need to cook your steak dinner. To order delicious and quality cuts of steak straight to your door, check out our beef steak collections, including sirloin, fillet, ribeye and more.
The qualitative survey had 84 responses in total, across 16 different images of steaks cooked in various ways.
We asked respondents how they order their steak, and then asked them to choose their favourite from three different images that showed the different ways of cooking a steak (from rare to well done).
We also surveyed 1000 UK citizens and asked them how they like their steak (blue to well done), their favourite cut of steak and their favourite steak sauce.