All About Steak

star pooley

By
@starryrose

Everything you need to know about an American favorite!


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Ingredients

steak

Directions Step-By-Step

1
Purchasing Steaks:

When buying steaks, buy the best grade of meat you can afford. It should be USDA Prime Aged Beef. If your butcher does not have this, the next best grade is Choice.

Look for steak with fine texture and firm to the touch. You want the color to be a light cherry red color, not deep red. Also look for steaks that have marbling, as it is the thin threads of fat running through the meat that make it Prime and gives the wonderful flavor. Marbling is the white fat that you see in all cuts of beef. Remember that a substantial amount of evenly distributed marbling is a good thing. If you don't want much animal fat in your diet, then don't eat steak! To avoid fat in steak is to avoid steak altogether.

Size or thickness matters when purchasing steaks. The best steaks are 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches thick. A thin cut is likely to get dried out. The thickness of the steak is more important than the weight.
2
Grading Cuts of Beef:

The USDA's grading system gives a good way to assess quality. The grading designations are largely determined by the amount of visible fat that's streaked throughout the muscle tissue, called marbling. Beef that's richly marbled gets a higher grade; it's more tender, juicy, and flavorful because the intramuscular fat melts and bastes the flesh during cooking. Also, since fat insulates, marbling provides some insurance against overcooking. Look for small, evenly distributed specks of fat rather than larger and sparser ones.

Prime Beef:
The highest grade in the United States meat grading system. Prime has the most marbling and is produced in limited quantities. Prime beef is most commonly sold in fine restaurants, specialty meat markets and is exported to upscale restaurants in foreign countries.

Choice Beef:
Choice has less marbling than Prime but more than Select. It is typically found in the service meat case at your local grocery store.

Select Beef:
Select has the least amount of marbling of the top three grades, making it leaner but possibly less tender, juicy or flavorful than Prime or Choice. Select is most commonly found in the self-service meat case at your local grocery store. Not recommended for top-quality steaks.
3
Room Temperature:

Always let your steaks come to room temperature (70 degree F.) before cooking or grilling. If your room's temperature differs from 70 degrees F., then just adjust your time accordingly. A cold steak will contract when it hits the heat and this wall cause it to toughen. This is possibly the first biggest mistake people make.

Remove your steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plant to cook them - sometimes as long as 60 minutes (depending on size).

Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. You want to have a completely dry steak before cooking. If you steak is wet, you will essentially be steaming it!
4
Salting the Steaks:

Do not salt your steaks just before cooking. I know that some people do salt their steaks before cooking, but trust me and don't salt - the result will be juicy, delicious steaks to serve your family and guests! Salt after the steak is cooked to your liking, has rested the required time, and just before serving. Salt brings moisture (water) to the surface of the steak, and the water sits on the surface as you cook the steak. Thus, you are again basically steaming the steak. Traditionally, when browning meat, chefs skip the addition of salt because the salt draws water out of the meat's surface through osmosis. If, for example, you were to season a steak just 10 minutes before grilling, beads of moisture would appear on the surface, eventually forming a shallow puddle of juices. On the grill, the steak would turn gray, not brown.

On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee (Food Scientist):
Meat cells brown at around 310 degrees F. Water on a steak's surface boils and turns to steam at 212 degrees F, so a wet steak can turn gray and cook through before its surface can brown.



Exception to the Rule - Steak Salt Curing Method: This salt curing method can make a choice cut of steak taste like prime steak.

Use kosher or sea salt only (not fine table salt).

Use 1-inch steaks or thicker. Cover both sides of your steak generously with salt. Let sit at room temperature for one (1) hour. If using thinner or thicker steaks, modify the time accordingly.

Rinse off all the salt with water and then pat the steaks completely dry with paper towels.

Cook the steak to you liking.
5
Cooking Perfect Steak Recipe:

Recipe Type: Beef
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min


Ingredients:

4 to 6 ounce (1-inch thick) beef steaks (of your choice)


Pan-Searing Steaks:

In a heavy frying pan (I use my cast-iron frying pan) over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little so they don't stick to the bottom, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Using this Pan-Searing technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

When the steaks are crusty-charred and done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to any sauce you are making).

Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.
6
Sear-Roasting Steaks:

Preheat oven to 500°F (a very hot oven produces a juicy interior). Place 10 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron skillet in the oven. When oven reaches 500 degrees F., remove pan from oven and place on range over high heat (the pan and the handle will be extremely hot - be careful).

Immediately place steaks in the middle of hot, dry pan (if cooking more than one piece of meat, add the pieces carefully so that they are not touching each other). Cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving; turn with tongs and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and put the cast iron skillet with the steaks in it into the oven. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and degree of doneness you like. Using the Sear-Roasting technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

When the steaks are crusty-charred and done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to your wine sauce). Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.
7
Grilling or Barbecuing Steaks:

Using dry heat from a grill is another great way to cook quality steaks. Remove steaks from refrigeration 1 hour before cooking and wipe any excess marinade (if used) off the steaks.

When you are ready to grill, preheat barbecue grill and coat your grill with non-stick kitchen spray before you begin to keep your steaks from sticking to the grill. Place steaks onto hot grill. Only flip the steak once. Let it cook on one side, then let it finish on the other side.

Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

When the steaks are crusty-charred and done to your liking, remove from the grill and let sit 15 minutes before serving (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven).
8
Types of Beef Steaks:

Choosing the correct cut of meat is very important when grilling. Some of the best steaks for grilling are the premium cuts. Thickness of the steak is very important. Each cut should be between 1 inch and 1 ½ inches thick. The strip steaks and top sirloin should be a little less expensive than the filet mignon, t-bone, porterhouse, and rib eye.
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Filet Mignon - The filet mignon is a stylish cut taken from the heart of the beef tenderloin that has outstanding taste as well as texture. They're the most tender steaks you can buy, though not the most flavorful.

Also known as:
--Tenderloin
--Tournedos
--Chateaubriand
--Beef Medallion
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New York Strip - The New York strip is such an excellent cut for grilling, many grilling experts refer to it as the "ultimate" steak for cooking out.

Also know as:
--Strip Loin
--Shell Steak
--Kansas City Strip
--New York Strip Steak
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Rib Eye - Another classic cut, the rib eye has marbling throughout the meat - making it one of the juiciest cuts as well as very tender.

Also know as:
--Scotch Fillet
--Delmonico Steak
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Porterhouse - The Porterhouse is a very large steak that is actually a combination of two steaks: the New York strip on one side and a tender filet on the other. Many believe these to be the best of all steaks.

Also know as:
--T-Bone
--Short Loin
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Top Sirloin - The sirloin is near the rump, so the meat's a bit tougher than cuts from the loin or the rib. The top sirloin is a juicy cut taken from the center of the sirloin - the most tender part - and a great cut for grilling.
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T-Bone - Named for its distinguishing T-shaped bone, this choice cut is almost identical to a Porterhouse steak, only it doesn't have as much of the tenderloin muscle in it. The T-bone steak is a succulent cut that is a favorite of steak fans. It is both a strip sirloin (with the bone) and a tender filet mignon.

Also known as:
--Short Loin
--Porterhouse
--Club Steak
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Filet Fraud - Don't be fooled!

Also known as mock tender steak, fish steak, chuck fillet steak, chuck tender steak, shoulder petit tender.

Some less-than-honorable butchers and restaurants serve and sell cheaper cuts of meat that they masquerade as expensive filet mignon.

Real filet has a very fine grain and a buttery texture with no connective tissue. The chuck tender has more marbling and noticeable connective tissues. In other words, it is tougher.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef, Steaks and Chops