How to Cook the Perfect Steak
Rare, medium or well-done? Steak to order is not a problem with these helpful tips. One of the most important steak cooking tips is to start out with a good steak in the first place! A poorly cooked steak of prime grade will still likely taste better than a low-grade steak cooked well. Look for a steak with marbling throughout. This will ensure that it is flavourful and remains juicy. For a great steak, get a great cut of meat like scotch or eye fillet.
Step 1 – Prepare the steaks
• Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature (for about 20 minutes).
• Season with salt and pepper.
Step 2 – Preheat your pan
• Heat the frying pan over a high heat until hot, but not smoking. Adding the steak to a high heat will seal the surface and lock in the juices. If the pan is too hot, the outside will burn before the inside is done, too cold, and your steaks will be tough.
• Brush the steaks with oil, or pour a little oil into the pan.
• When you place the steaks in the pan, a loud ‘sizzle’ will tell you if it’s hot enough.
Step 3 – Cook to your liking
• For a medium steak: Cook on one side without touching for 3-4 minutes, then reduce to a medium heat and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
• Gently turn the steak over with a pair of tongs (don’t pierce it, or the juices will escape), and cook for a further 6 minutes. (You can vary the times here if you prefer a rare or well-done steak.)
• To test for doneness, press the steak gently with the tip of your finger. Rare should be soft and supple, well done firm, and medium in between.
Step 4 – Rest your steaks
• Resting is just as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender all the way through.
• Remove from the pan, place on a plate or rack, cover with foil and set aside for 3-5 minutes to rest. Resting helps allows the juices to settle and the muscle fibres to relax, which ensures the steak is tender.
Step 5 – Serve your steaks
• If you have a large and thick cut of meat, it will continue to cook, even after you have removed it from the oven. Therefore, take it off a little early or serve immediately.
Guide to steak cooking times
The times given here are a guide only and refer to a steak that is approximately 2.5cm or 1" thick. Thicker steaks may require a longer cooking time, and vice versa for thinner steaks.
Rare: 1-2 minutes per side - rest for 6-8 minutes
Medium rare: 2-2.5 minutes per side - rest for 5 minutes
Medium: 3 minutes per side - rest for 4 minutes
Well done: 4.5 minutes per side - rest for 1 minute
Ö Rather than oiling the pan, brush the steak with oil to prevent it sticking.
Ö Don’t cut your steak to see if it is done. Doing so will release valuable juices. Instead, touch it! A firm steak is well done, a springy steak is medium, and a soft steak is rare. The more often you cook your steak, the more obvious this will be. Or, if you have a meat thermometer a medium rare steak will be about 55-57 degrees Celsius.
Ö Don’t use a fork to turn your steak with forks - you want to keep all of the juice and flavour contained in the steak. Instead use tongs, preferably long-handled tongs so that you don’t have to get too close to the heat.
Ö When grilling, be sure that the grill is very hot as it will sear the outside of the meat and lock in the juices.
Ö Once you are done cooking your steak, remove from heat and let it ‘rest’ for at least five minutes. This will allow the juices to spread out.