ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR! ITS TIME TO BRING OUT THE GRILL MASTERS 2000’S (you know which ones I’m talking about…….)
If you don’t have these on, more than likely the people at the cookout will question your legitimacy as a griller (not really but you get the point. In all seriousness, one staple item that most men claim that they have the best recipe for is the infamous STEAK.
Steak to some is a very difficult dish to make. Compared to chicken and beef, steak has many different styles that it can be cut into, in the details below, I will give you all some tips on how to recognize the perfect steak for the occasion, as well as tips on how to cook certain cuts:
When shopping for steak, if at all possible, you want to make sure that the steak is grass feed. You can do this by reading the label as shown below:
You always want to make sure that the claims being made are from an accredited third-party source such as the USDA. In the picture below it will give you a brief description of what makes the difference between a grass fed animal and a grain fed animal and why it makes a difference in how it will affect the meat:
If you are not familiar with the term, marbling is the thin, white lines of fat that are exhibited throughout the steak, that when cooked, is responsible for a lot of the meats boldness, flavoring, and tenderness. “What happens is as you cook the meat, these layers of fat melt and cover the meat, resulting in more flavor, moisture, and tenderness.” – Craig Morris, USDA deputy administrator, “Beefing Up Your Knowlege”
Basics To Cooking Steak:
Just like with any other meat, you must let steaks thaw out, but it is ideal that the steak is at room temperature before you begin the process of seasoning and cooking. “Frying or grilling from the cold will prevent the heat from cooking the middle of the steak effectively.” – Jamie Oliver, British Celebrity Chef
Use the seasonings of your choice, but do not season the pan. All seasonings should go on the steak, including things like butter, olive oil etc. Allow cooking utensil to become extremely hot before cooking. “Aim to cook medium-rare to medium, as you will be dealing with a tough piece of meat if cooked any further” – Jamie Oliver, British Celebrity Chef
(Me personally I do medium well, I just can’t do a lot of pink in my meat.)
Types of Steak:
Aka: Culotte (literally, ‘trousers’) in France and (confusingly) sirloin in the US.
Found: This cut is located on the animals bottom/backside/booty, whatever you want to call it.
What To Look For: You won’t see much marbling as it’s a lean cut – the rump does more work than other parts of the animal – but make sure yours has been cut against the grain. The ideal size is about two inches thick.
Taste: This is the ideal steak for your everyday steak. It is typically packed with flavor but since this is a naturally tougher piece of meat, it requires extra care when cooking it.
How To Cook It: It needs a minimum of three minutes on each side with plenty of basting. As it’s a muscular cut, you need to break down the fibers with heat and fat to make sure it’s tender. Resting is vital here, too.
Found: On the front ribs of the cow. The ribeye section spans from ribs six through to 12.
What To Look For: A good example should be well marbled with a central layer of fat running through.
Taste: Its fat content brings the flavor.
How To Cook It: This is a cut of meat that is said you can cook as rare as you want due to the meat not being “worked” as much as the other cuts of the cow (even though…that is not my style). Always remember, get the pan HOT AF!! Then get to cooking this juicy piece of meat.
Found: From the middle-back section of the cow, covering the spine
What To Look For: These types of steak will be dark red but don’t accept anything with a green, almost slimy deposit as it means it has started to spoil.
Taste: Due to it’s typical even fat to muscle ratio, its easy to achieve a melt in your mouth, beefy consistency while cooking this cut of meat. Typically juicy and flavorful as most butchers let this meat age for up to 60 days as it responds well to aging.
How To Cook It: You need to properly render the fat, which means a super-hot pan. Keep cooking until the fat has taken on a golden brown color the entire width of the steak. Take it rare, medium, or well done.
Found: Inside the sirloin, running along the side of the animal’s spine.
What To Look For: You won’t find any marbling here – this muscle does not work at all. You’re after a deep cut of a similar width, so it cooks at an even rate.
Taste: It’s the leanest, most expensive cut and popular among gym-goers. However, its lack of fat means less flavor It works well with fatty sauces.
How To Cook It: Cook it rare or medium rare and go for a medium heat with plenty of basting. As it’s so lean it can easily become tough as the fibers tighten, so be careful not to overcook.
Found: The lower middle of the animal. It’s part sirloin and part fillet with the two cuts divided by the ‘T’ of bone.
What To Look For: This cut takes skilled butchery, so make sure everything looks even and cleanly cut. Straight lines and good-sized portions of both steaks make a good steak.
Taste: The best of both worlds. You’ve got the leanness of the fillet contrasted with the fat of the sirloin. Ready you largest pan.
How To Cook It: The two different cuts require different cooking times, so it can be tricky. Your best bet is to have the butcher leave the bone in. Sear the whole thing in a hot pan, then transfer to a 200°C oven for 10 minutes to make sure everything is properly cooked and tender.
Found: The end of the inner flank, just above the liver and kidney, sitting over the belly.
What To Look For: An even, flat sheet of meat, with an almost rope-like texture and good, even marbling. You can expect superb value for these, as the UK is only just starting to adopt it.
Taste: Arguably the best-tasting cut when properly prepared. Fat and muscle tissue in perfect harmony to create a full flavored, meaty steak that’s brilliant on the barbecue.
How To Cook It: These benefit from tenderizing by marinating overnight. Try olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, salt and coriander and leave it in a freezer bag in the fridge. Bring up room temperature and cook on a searing heat for four minutes on both sides.
Found: On the shoulder blade.
What To Look For: This should be cut with the grain – don’t let this put you off when buying, but cut it off prior to cooking.
Taste: It will be a little tough and a little chewy, but the flavor (and its inexpensive price tag) makes up for it.
How To Cook It: Never serve it beyond medium. Because of its density, it will take slightly longer to cook – say, eight minutes. Start it in a hot pan and reduce the heat, to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.
Found: On the tail of the fillet – the most expensive cut in the butcher’s window.
What To Look For: A thick-cut cannon of steak that has even size across its length.
Taste: This is the perfect sharing steak. It’s as tender as a fillet with the flavor of a sirloin – not with huge meaty flavors and texture like butter when cooked properly.
How To Cook It: It’s extra lean, so benefits from the addition of copious butter. Heat a hot pan and sear it on all edges. As it’s cylinder shaped, use tongs to make sure each edge gets golden-brown color. Finish it for 14 minutes in a 375 F oven and slice into two-inch rounds before serving.
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