Cooking a perfect steak isn’t magic, it just takes a little technique and know-how. If you’d like to learn how to cook a steak like a pro, read on! Here are our 6 top tips for perfect steak.
1. Select an Excellent Steak
We recommend you find a local butcher (or check out our steak classes!) to help you select an excellent steak. Generally, beef that has been well and sustainably raised produces a better quality product, but the most important factor when you’re grabbing something from the market is called marbling.
The USDA grades meat based largely in part on marbling, a term used to describe the amount of intramuscular fat in a steak. See those white lines running through your steak? That’s fat, and the more your steak contains, the more flavorful it will be. Truffle Shuffle uses and recommends the highest quality prime beef, but with a discerning eye, the educated cook can spot a well-marbled steak with plenty of flavorful intramuscular fat regardless of grade.
We are proud to give you our top tips for cooking a perfect steak.
2. Temper your steak, not your expectations
Tempering a steak so that it's the same temperature all the way through is a step that home cooks often overlook. By resting your steak at room temperature before cooking, you ensure your steak cooks quickly and evenly.
3. Season Your Steak
Pat your tempered steak dry with paper towels, then season liberally on all sides with salt, making sure to evenly coat the meat. You can get fancy with marinades if you so desire, but we recommend keeping it simple and seasoning with Balinese Truffle Salt and maybe a touch of freshly ground black pepper.
4. How to Cook a Steak
We have a signature technique that will ensure perfect edge-to-edge doneness. First, preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a neutral-flavored oil like canola or grape seed oil to your pan and get it ripping hot. Just when the oil begins to smoke, add your steak and allow to sit without nudging for one minute. Flip and allow to sit for one minute, then flip every 30 seconds until cooked to your desired doneness (about 4 minutes in total for medium-rare). To finish the steak, add 2 tablespoons of butter, a smashed clove of garlic, and a couple sprigs of thyme. Use a metal spoon to baste the steak for 30 seconds, then transfer to your cutting board to rest.
Chef's Tip: a good trick is the "bounce test". Form your hand into a fist and, using your other hand, press on the muscle just below your pointer finger and above your thumb (or the upper lip of a hand puppet). Your steak is done when it gives a similar bounce back when pressed.
5. Give it a rest
You may be tempted to consume your sustainably sourced, well-marbled, perfectly cooked crackly crusted steak right away, but a crucial part of cooking a steak is patience. You need to let it rest. We suggest resting your steak for at least half the amount of time you took to cook it.
In response to the heat of your ripping hot pan, juices in your steak will crowd to the meat’s center. Resting allows that moisture to redistribute through the steak as it cools. As the meat cools down to 120F, it firms and is able to hold more moisture. Without this crucial step, juices from your steak will run freely from its center and end up on your plate instead of in your mouth where they belong.
6. Carve It Like a Pro
For an elegant presentation, we recommend you carve your steak before serving.
Beef has muscle fibers that run throughout it like the natural grain in a piece of wood. Especially for tougher cuts like flank or hanger, meat should be sliced “across the grain”, or perpendicular to the fibers running through your steak. Make sure to let your knife do the work! Be patient and slice without pressing downwards, then fan your beautiful slices to make your steak look tre soigne. Nice work, Chef!