7 Steps to Cook a Perfect Steak

7 Steps to Cook a Perfect Steak

January 11, 2019

     

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Perfectly cooked steak is a thing of beauty. The savory aroma, the artful sear, the tenderness as your knife slices through to reveal the juiciness within—if you’re like us, you’re in love even before the first bite.

That’s why it’s so important to know proper cooking methods to ensure that your passion gets to the plate. To create the ultimate steak experience with Wagyu, consider following these tips.

Wagyu vs. regular steaks

The moment you see a Wagyu steak, you can tell that it’s different from the type of steak you generally find in the grocery store or even a meat market.

No matter what cut you choose—filet mignon, strip steak, flank steak, rib eye, top sirloin, flat iron, skirt steak, or chuck steak—the dominant feature is the marbling. Wagyu is prized for this quality, because the abundant fat throughout means ample tenderness, rich flavor, and defined grain.

Other types of steak like Angus may have quite a bit of marbling compared to lesser-quality steaks, but they are still nowhere near the amount seen with Wagyu. Because of this, recognize as a first step that you must never cook Wagyu past medium-rare.

Seriously, just don’t do it. Have guests who insist on well-done steak? Secretly cook them something else and hoard the Wagyu for yourself. We support you.

Thaw for best flavor

You don’t need to leave the steak out on the counter for hours—that’s frowned upon by the USDA, anyway—but a 30-minute session at room temperature, preceded by defrosting in the refrigerator for 48 hours if your steak is frozen, is perfect for ensuring even cooking and better flavor.

Season lightly

Because the steak has such amazing flavor, many people (including us) don’t like to get heavy-handed with the seasoning mix or employ a dry rub. We’re fans of some sea salt and pepper, but if you’re tying together other flavors from a meal, adding in other seasonings makes sense. For example, if you’re cooking up some Southwestern flair, add a hint of cumin and chili powder.

Choose your cooking method

Most likely, you have a favorite way to cook a steak. Maybe you’re the grillmaster of the family, getting grill-related gifts every holiday season (how many aprons and tongs can one person have, right?). Or you might love your cast-iron cookware, inherited from some pioneer grandpa from way back. Pick the right choice for you, but just be aware that each method has its nuances:

  • Outdoor grilling: You may need to rub a little olive oil on the steak if your grill is the everything-sticks kind.

  • Pan-grilling: Lightly grease the pan with vegetable oil first; then heat until very hot for the searing moment.

  • Broiling: This method cooks steaks, but it’s not ideal because you might not be able to sear (more on that in a second).

  • Sous vide: If you have the machine for this, you can make some delicious steaks, but again, keep in mind that searing may not be an option.

Sear first

No matter which cooking method you use, searing helps to seal in the juices before the real cooking begins. Simply heat up your grill or cast-iron skillet and sear each side for a minute or two until it’s brown and crispy. Then lower the heat and cook for about four to five minutes. Keep in mind that broiling doesn’t tend to sear well, unless your broiler gets especially hot.

Doneness and resting

As previously stated in the strongest possible way, you don’t want to overcook the steak. The most popular technique is called “the touch test,” which can take a little time to learn, but once you know what a rare or medium-rare steak feels like, you’ll have the hang of it.

Take it off the grill or pan just before it seems medium-rare, since it continues to “cook” slightly during the five-minute resting period. We know it’s tough, letting it sit there for five entire minutes without digging right in. Be strong.

Slicing and serving

Prepping the perfect steak doesn’t end when the resting time does. Proper slicing really does make a difference. Check out this helpful video of Chef Derek Walker of the St. Joseph Center in California for the best techniques and to see what medium-rare looks like. Spoiler: Cut across the grain. Also, consider serving with a tasty accompaniment like garlic aioli.

Once you master these simple steps, you can make the most of your Wagyu steaks and bring that beauty to your plate anytime.

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