There are many ways to cook a great steak, from a cast iron skillet over a campfire to a charcoal fired hibachi on the beach, to the propane workhorse of the back yard. Whatever the setting or tools used, here are a few tips that will help ensure success every time.
Recognize the variables
Creating the perfect steak is not hard, so don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. A good pair of tongs, good meat, good heat, and a little seasoning is really all that is required. The real work happens before the meat hits the grill.
Choose your steaks wisely
Befriend your butcher and learn the differences between one piece of meat and another.
There are the well-recognized cuts that are brilliant on the grill as well as a few secondary ones, each has its place. Ask before you buy, most butchers that I know are more than happy to share their knowledge. Whatever you choose, make sure your steaks have thickness, at least 4cm. and marbling. It is the marbling that gives much of the flavor.
Once we have chosen our steaks all we have left to do is cook.
Cooking your steak
The application of the right heat and a little salt will produce that lovely crust that contrasts so wonderfully with a soft interior. This is where having a nice thick cut comes in. A relatively hot fire and close attention are superbly important once you start the cooking process, but before we can do that we have to prepare.
Before they go on the grill, the steaks should be out of the fridge long enough for them to lose their chill, 45 minutes should suffice, they also need to be dried of any excess moisture so dab them with some paper towel.
Make sure your grill is ready, hot, and clean, and your steaks are lightly oiled and salted. Cooking times are dependent on heat, steak thickness, and cut. Learning to test the doneness of a steak without cutting into it is important. Learn the touch test. Do not overload the cooking area and try to turn your steaks only once, resist the urge to constantly flip them, but do move them away from any flare ups that might happen.
One final thing is to let the steaks rest. This is a most important step. Take the steaks off the grill when they are done to your liking and place them on a plate and leave them for at least 5 minutes, this will let the juices redistribute within the steak making them tender. Now is the time to grab a Pommies Farmhouse Cider because a relaxed steak and a relaxed chef are both wonderful things.
A gas or charcoal barbeque
Appropriate fuel for the barbeque
A plate with steaks on it
Tongs for handling the steak
Salt for seasoning, preferably a large flat flake salt, such as Maldon
Oil for brushing on your steaks before putting them on the barbeque
A large plate for resting the steaks after cooking
A pepper grinder loaded with peppercorns
Top tips for a great steak
Keep it simple
Learn what makes a good steak
Choose the best cut available
Have the steaks at room temperature before cooking
Good steak requires just a little salt and pepper. The flavor of the steak is easily overwhelmed by unnecessary dandification
Lightly oil and season just before the steaks go on the grill
Keep the fire nicely hot
Pay close attention to the grill once cooking commences
No need to constantly turn the steaks
Get a nice surface crust
You can always cook a steak a little more but never a little less
Learn to tell the doneness of a steak without cutting into it
Rest the steak after cooking
Article written by Cambridge Club's Executive Chef, Jonathan Sutcliffe