How to properly prepare a steak.

I have a few steaks right here (directly in front of the computer, where I keep all of my meat products) and I was wondering how to prepare them. Usually, I just cook them until medium rare. Sometimes I let them soak in soy or teriyaki sauce, but outside of that I am clue-less on steak preparation. Today I smeared a steak in dijon mustard and ground pepper, that turned out pretty good. Any good Doper tips or recipes on steak preparation

Rub salt and pepper on both sides.

Any frying or grilling pan will do but cast iron is better.

Heat the pan on high heat until really hot, add oil, leave until oil has thinned (shouldn’t take long).

Put the steak(s) in and leave for 5 minutes – good idea to unplug smoke alarms and open windows at this point, but they’re not burning.

After the five minutes, flip and cook for a further 2-3.

Good steak. Got the recipe from a cookbook of my mum’s that has the best method of cooking just about anything and it hasn’t failed me yet!

What kind of steak?

If it is a good grilling steak, like a NY Strip or T-Bone, dip it in canola (or veggie) oil, then season both sides with salt and pepper. While doing this, put an iron skillet in the oven and set it for 500 degrees. When done, take it out and put it on the stove at the highest heat. Cool for 30 seconds per side, then put in the oven for about 1 minute more, serve.

If a lousier cut, like a flank, marinate overnight in a marinade of your choice (I like soy or liquid smoke or a homemade barbecue sauce among others). Toss it into said iron skillet. When medium rare (or whatever you want), remove, cut against the grain very thinly and put on top of an awesome salad (add tomato, green pepper, onion, crumbled bleu cheese) and add dressing of your choice (preferably ranch, blue cheese, or a good vinegarette).


I dunno, the meat kind. It is about an inch thick, big strip of white fat on the side. Thus is the extant of my meaty knowledge.

Did the steak have a label on it of some kind or did you find it on the side of the road or perhaps you just sliced up a chunk of cow in a field somewhere? Assuming you bought the thing you should know the cut.

Sorry. It just looked nice in the store and is now sitting in tupperware. I will pay more attention to this next time.

Definitely pay attention to what cut of meat it is. If you pick the wrong cut for your needs, you could get a piece of meat that’s too tough, and who wants that???

I poked around and this place seems to have a good overview of what kinds of cuts you can get from a cow. The more tender meat will be from the rib and loin section farther away from the hooves and head. The chuck and round sections generally are better for wet cooking like stews and pot roast.

With a good steak, one that’s more tender like a strip steak or rib eye, I like the Alton Brown method. Season with salt and pepper, then rub with high temperature oil like canola or peanut. Cook on high heat in cast iron for a minute or so on each side, until you get good browning, only flip once. Finish in the oven at 500, maybe another 3-4 minutes, but you have to watch this part, it depends on the thickness of the steak, and how done you want it. Then let rest for at least 2 minutes before slicing.

Tougher steaks need to be marinated, or sliced very thin at the end, to make them less chewy.

I’d bet that you’ve got a sirloin there, which should be fine for cooking this way, though it’s tougher than the nicer steak cuts, so a marinade might be a good idea. I’ve never been a fan of very rare sirloin, I think it does a bit better if it’s cooked medium, just barely pink in the middle.

Which brings us to “how done do you like it?” and “how do you get it done to the right point?” I think that doing it by feel is your best bet. Feel the meat in the middle of the steak, press it with your finger when raw. Feel how soft that is? A rare steak will be just a bit firmer than that, with a well done steak being pretty darn firm, so you can gauge how done the steak is by how firm it feels. Or, get an instant read thermometer. Try to avoid cutting the poor thing open while it’s cooking, that’s not cool.

How do you prepare a steak?

“Now, Steak… You’re about to meet your maker. Well, our dinner-maker anyway. It’s going to be hot. Very hot. It may be a bit of a shock at first, but you’ll just have to suck it up. It’s not going to be pleasant, but you’ll be all the better for it when it’s over…”

There’s some good input here.

Regardless of how you cook it, please please let it rest before you cut into it. I’ve seen way too many lovely steaks ruined by people who insist on cutting into it while it’s hot. Hint: those juices that run out are better when they’re IN the steak, not on your plate. Resting makes 'em stay juicy.

We’ve had lots of good threads on cooking steak. Do a search so you don’t miss anything!

For a real treat, use cracked peppercorns. When the steak is done cooking, remove from the pan, lower the heat and deglaze the pan with a little water or beef broth, add some half and half and cook until it thickens. Pour over steak. Voila! Steak au poivre!

Steak au Poivre without dijon mustard and cognac in the sauce??? Thou art heathen, sir! :wink:

Bien sur, Mon Sewer! The above was the hurry-up version. :slight_smile:

Half and half has a tendency to break at temperatures usually used for reduction, heavy whip is much more forgiving.

Another quick and easy recipe; grab a blender cup, glug in both red wine and soy, toss in a shallot or two (or some onionish thing, ginger too, possibly) a lot of black pepper, maybe even a little cinnamon, whiz smooth. Marinate beef at room temp for 30 minutes. Cook hot, and pull it while still quite rare, chuck it on a plate, and cover with film wrap and a thick towel. Let rest 15 minutes, and serve.

Three completely random tips that I’ve picked up over the years:

  1. Get your cooking device (grill, iron skillet, rock, etc) as hot as you can before introducing the meat. I like the oven idea for a cast iron skillet, but I prefer to use a grill.

  2. Ignore the suggested “beef” temperature on whatever temperature taking instrument you may have (meat probe, digital thermometer, those electronic grill fork thingies), because by the time your steak hits 170 F internally, you’re going to wind up with shoe leather. Those numbers are usually for ground beef, not a whole cut. It’s up to you to decide how you like your meat cooked and then figure out the temperature from there. That is, if you want to use a thermometer and not just eyeball it.

  3. Athena is right- letting it rest before cutting can mean the difference between a nice juicy steak and steak soup.

When I cook sirloin, I always cut off the fat bits beforehand, because I don’t like to see lumps of gristle on the plate. Is this normal practise, or heathen abomination?

I generally prepare my steaks by coating them in oil with a bit of salt. I cook them in a hot frying pan.

  1. I don’t think you should salt your steak before you put it on the skillet - it draws out too much liquid. Wait until you’ve browned both sides and then apply your kosher salt.

  2. I myself prefer to rub them down with olive oil, but that just might be due to my Mediterranian upbringing.

If you salt it right before tossing it into the pan, there’s no difference, liquid-wise (you’re right though that you don’t want to put salt on and then let it sit).

Also, I find that olive oil has too low of a smoke point and can lead to scorched tasting steaks.

I heat a cast iron pan on the stove for about 10 minutes at the highest temp. Meanwhile, I lightly drizzle the steak with peanut oil and cover it with fresh ground (or cracked, depending on my mood) pepper along with a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder. Right before tossing into the pan, I sprinkle the steak with kosher salt. About 3-4 minutes per side in the pan, max (I like it rare). Pull it out of the pan and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It’s at this point that I might drizzle it with a little olive oil or (if I’m feeling very decadent) a small pat of butter to seep in while it’s resting.

At what point does the steak go in the pan?