Cooking the Perfect Steak

While we’re sure you’d never serve a steak well-done, it’s an art form to do them well! Whether a fan of fillet or raving for rump, we’ve put together a handy guide to achieving the perfect steak.

The perfect steak

Preparation

If possible, allow the steak to come to room temperature before cooking. Taking your steak out of the fridge two hours before you’re planning to cook should be enough time for this to happen.

Drying

Patting your steak dry before cooking it will help it form a nice crust whilst browning and avoid any unpleasant boiled-meat flavours.

The Pan

A heavy-duty, thick-based frying pan, ideally with a non-stick coating, will achieve the best results, as will a heavy griddle pan or skillet. These types of pans get really hot – ideal for getting that slightly sweet, charred finish to the outside of your steak.

Seasoning

The trick with seasoning a steak is not to do it too early – salt will draw moisture from the meat. Spread a thin layer of course sea salt and a generous grinding of black pepper on a plate. Moments before cooking, press your steak into the seasoning on the plate and turn to coat evenly.

Oil

Whilst some people prefer to oil the steak then add it to a hot dry pan, while others add a splash of oil directly to the pan, many top restaurants now avoid using any oil at all. We recommend searing your steak over a medium-heat in a dry pan, then once it’s browned on all sides add 25g of softened butter with a crushed clove of garlic (skin on). When the butter is melted, use it to baste the steak whilst it cooks to your liking. The browning of the butter will help add a lovely savoury crust to your steak.

Whether using oil or a dry pan, make sure your pan is nice and hot before adding your steak – if it’s too cold, your meat could turn our greasy or under-browned.

Cooking time

It’s very important to consider the size and weight of your steak before calculating the cooking time. If you’re unsure, ask your butcher who should be able to tell you how long you need to cook your meat.

We recommend the following cooking times for a 3.5cm thick fillet steak:

Blue: About 1½ mins each side

Rare: About 2¼ mins each side

Medium-rare: About 3¼ mins each side

Medium: About 4½ mins each side

We also recommend the following for a 2cm thick sirloin steak:

Blue: About 1 min each side

Rare: About 1½ mins per side

Medium rare: About 2 mins per side

Medium: About 2¼ mins per side

For a well-done steak, cook for about 4-5 minutes each side, depending on thickness.

Prod the cooked steak with your fingers – when rare it will feel soft, medium-rare will be lightly bouncy, and well-done will be much firmer.

Resting

Always rest your steak! A cooked steak should rest at room temperature for at least give minutes. The resting time allows the fibres of the meat to reabsorb the juices, giving a moist and tender finish to your steak.

The garnish

Planning the perfect steak dinner means planning your perfect side dishes, too. Chunky chips, French fries or mash. Green salad or green vegetables. A béarnaise, peppercorn or red wine sauce. The choice is yours!