Cooking 101: How to cook steak and getting that right Sizzle!

On how to cook steak, please watch this video:

With Scotland being well recognised in producing some of the worlds best beef, we must take time to look at the purchasing and consuming and the factors that lead to the overall experience.

With many of us nowadays being well informed and more aware of, and wanting to know where and how the meat we eat is produced. The factors are value for money, quality, appearance, flavour, juiciness, tenderness and enjoyment are what we look for, whether we are buying for cooking at home or eating out, it is worth while talking to you local butcher face to face about quality and different cuts that might be best suited to your taste, where they will even throw in a juicy marrow bone for your dog or for making the most delicious stock or gravy.

When it comes to eating out and ordering steak, especially a prime cut like rib-eye, we know to expect to pay top coin, so if this is the case what stops us from asking to see the steak before it hits the grill? After all we wouldn’t usually buy something without knowing a little about the purchase first of all, this showing confidence towards ingredients and menu transparency between all parties with the likes of our global foot print, the farm to table approach, origins of ingredients, dietary requirements, allergens and intolerance, which are never to far from the news and has led to more awareness when it comes to menus and product labelling. For example meat allergy: where some people have an allergic reaction to a particular meat. Processed meats often contain other ingredients like milk, so it is possible for someone who is allergic to milk to react to a meat products, though beef allergy is extremely rare. With so much bad press recently relating to meat and the recent drive on meat-free meals, I still believe that it is very much a matter of balance and variety in our diet as no single food contains all the nutrients needed for good health. As a chef, I have a set standard of quality and that means starting with the basics and building fantastic ingredients into brilliant flavours and when it comes to seasoning, for those who are watching salt content, try experimenting with different herbs, spices, rubs, marinades and sauces for other ways of seasoning and lifting the flavour. A good colour from a hot pan, grill or barbecue is fantastic, as colour means you have created flavour at the very beginning, where flavours are exciting and I have learnt over the years that If I am not excited about flavours and what is being created and served it not only rubs off onto the people around you, but can also filtered onto the customers and that is when things start to fail.

When it comes to deciding what wine to have with beef or any meal for that matter, I think it is time to bury the old school thought of red with dark meats and white with light meat and fish. The reality of it is most of the time it depends on our mood, where we are eating, the people we are with, who is buying the wine or if we are trying out a new wine. I am by no means a wine connoisseur. It really does depend on the previous situations. When it comes to a bottle of wine what I do believe to be true quality comes in three, very basic, uncomplicated steps that I can say I fully trust when it comes to paring with food. Firstly its the attentive noise the cork has made on extraction from the bottle, though becoming very rare with screw caps making more of a scene. Secondly it’s the low echo of the first glug beginning to flow and bless the glass with its presence and soon turns into more of steady stream of excitable glugs. Thirdly, its the combination of a small morsel of good quality beef that has been ramified with a knifes wit and staged on the proscenium of a fork, dispatch momentarily and then conform with a gentle sip, and just wait for the I do part.

When it comes to cooking steak or roast, we obvious all have our own preference to its done-ness. A little treat for me on a roast is the crispy, caramelised yet sticky pieces you find on decent roast, with the roast itself cooked nice and still moist. This little treat has to be first come, first serve, which is usually the person who is cooking and by rights it should be, an award or small payment, a comforting, luxury treat for efforts in the kitchen. What I would recommend even to the hardcore frazzlers is to try and take the cooking degree down to the next level. For example if you take your steak well done, try the next time at medium to well and if that degree is to your liking perhaps try and take it medium. Continue with this thought until you find your own happy medium. I would certainly try this method if you are eating out and perhaps speak to the staff that you would like to try a different degree of cooking. Any decent cook should be happy to oblige and if a lower cooking degree is not for you the meat can easily be re-fired and the cook happy to cook it to your liking after all it’s you that is paying for it in the end.

There are six accepted cooking methods for steak. A digital probe would be a good investment for any home kitchen, not just for cooking steak but other meat and even fish. Digital probes can be bought for about £10 in any good home cook store or online.

Degree of Doneness: From Rare to Well

Internal temperature:
10-29 degrees Celsius

The meat should be seared on all six sides with the highest levels of hygiene observed. To touch, the meat should be completely raw internally and feel like a raw piece of meat.

Internal temperature:
30-51 degrees Celsius

The meat should be seared on all six sides equally. The steak should have a 5-8mm depth of cooked meat around the outside and and raw inside. To touch, the steak will have a little resistance.

Medium Rare
Internal temperature:
57-63 degrees Celsius

The meat should be more cooked than a rare steak and have a very pink/ reddish colour and be moist. To touch, the meat will have slight resistance with some “give”.

Internal temperature:
63-68 degrees Celsius

The meat will be less pink in the middle’ but moist with less colour . To touch, the meat will resist with a little give.

Medium Well
Internal Temperature:
72-76 degrees Celsius

The meat will look cooked through with just the slightest colour and a little dry around the outside. The centre should have a little moisture. To touch, it should be firm.

Well Done
Internal Temperature:
76 degrees Celsius or above

The meat should look fully cooked and have no colour but brown inside. To touch, it will be very firm.

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