If you get it right a fried steak is one of the best meals you can eat anywhere. Quick and easy to do a home, with quality ingredients you can rival any of the finest restaurants. If you want some great advice on how to cook steak so you can get it just how you like it every time read on.
Steak is not one of the cheapest cuts so it is important to cook it the right way so that you can achieve the perfect meal not an expensive “misteak”. There are many different types of steak all with different flavours and textures. (the guide below shows you the variations and cooking options to consider.)
For this guide we are taking a rib-eye steak as the example. (Though Sirloin or Rump Steaks would also work just as well). The focus here is on cooking with a pan rather than the grill or BBQ.
Preparing to cook steak
It is best if you get the steak to room temperature before you start cooking. Meat straight from the fridge will brown on the out side yet the temperature inside will remain low and not cook properly with the timings we suggest here.
So take the meat out early and allow enough time for it to warm. If you are returning home late in the day and do not have enough time you can speed the process by wrapping the steak in cling film and place in a bowl of warm water. The cling film is to keep the meat dry – it will be hard to brown a wet surface.
Drying your steak and seasoning
Much of the distinctive flavour in your finished steak will come from the charing, caramelisation and browning on the outside surface. A wet steak will not form a good browned crispy surface so the next stage with your now room temperature meat is to use a cloth or kitchen towel to pat the surface dry.
Next very lightly oil the meat surface, we recommend a vegetable oil for this – As you will be cooking a high temperatures a more refined oil will take the higher heat without burning and imparting unwanted flavours.
To season, rub the outside with plenty of coarse sea salt. Be generous and make sure any areas of fat don’t get missed. Don’t put the seasoning on too soon as the salt will take moisture from the meat. Up to 15 minutes before you cook will be about right – the loss of some moisture on the surface will only improve the crust. A good amount of freshly ground pepper will add extra depth to the finished steak taste.
How to cook steak in the pan
To get a good tasty exterior on you steak you will need to cook it at a high temperature. To get a good evenly hot cooking surface use a pan with a heavy bottom. Cast iron cookware is perfect for this.
Place your pan on a high heat with a very small amount of oil in the pan. A little oil will help. You can see that as the temperature rises the oil will thin and spread out. When it starts to smoke you are ready to cook.
Depending on the thickness of your steak you may need to reduce the heat whilst you cook
Thickness and timing
The speed at which you steak cooks will depend on the thickness of your steak. Too thin and the meat will be cooked through before the outside is brown, very thick can result in a charred outside and raw middle. To get the perfect result of a good crust with a juicy interior look for a steak that is at least 2.5 to 3cm thick. Obviously customers in our shop can ask for their steak cut as thick as they like. Experiment with different thickness’s to get you steak just as you like it.
We suggest only turning the steak once for each side and maybe using tongs to brown the outside edge of fat (if you have a sirloin or rump) at the end.
Rare: 2 ½ minutes each side
Medium: 4 minutes each side
Well Done: 5 minutes each side
To gauge how well cooked you steak is you can also try pressing the steak with your finger tip – soft will be rare whilst firm to the touch will be well done.
Your steak will continue to cook after you have taken it from the pan so don’t be tempted to leave it too long – it will get firmer. Do let it rest for a few minutes before eating.
If you want a really rich version try adding some butter at the very end of the cooking time and basting the steak with it just before you place on the plate. You can see Gordon Ramsay demonstrating here >>
Sirloin Steak comes from the same area as your Sunday roast but cut into steaks such as “T”-bone, Porterhouse and Entrecote. Prime cuts which are suitable for grilling, frying, and barbecuing.
Beef Fillet also comes from this section. Probably the most prized cut of beef, the fillet is very tender and very lean, as a steak it is suitable for quick cooking under the grill or frying. Larger peices are used for dishes such as Beef Wellington. Other names for cuts of fillet include Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, Tournedos and Chateaubriand.
Thin Flank Steak
Meat from this area is often known as “Skirt”,” Hanger steak” (or “Onglet” in France). It has plenty of fat marbling which makes it moist and flavoursome. This cut is often used in Mexican recipies such as Fajitas. Good for grilling and frying (quickly as it is quite a thin cut).
Although this is a prime cut, it’s often cheaper than fillet or sirloin because it’s not quite as tender. However many say that it has a far superior flavour than sirloin or fillet. Rump is suitable for quick cooking such as frying, stir-fry, grilling or the barbecue.
If you would like to know more about the different Cuts of Beef and ways to cook them have a look at our “Cuts of Beef” guide >>