Cooking the perfect steak

Living in Australia, there is no doubt that a perfectly cooked steak is number one on the menu. For the cook, it can be a difficult task to nail that steak every time, particularly when you have some guests who would like their steak finished medium rare, and others who prefer a more well-cooked steak. The Australian Butchers Guild have put together a fantastic guide to cooking the perfect steak, every time!

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Quick tips

  • Only buy steaks of even thickness, not ‘wedge shaped’
  • Beef steaks should be at least 21mm thick
  • Lamb cuts should be at least 15mm thick
  • Always defrost in the fridge, if frozen
  • Pat dry with kitchen paper before cooking
  • Take the steaks out of the fridge 10 minutes before cooking
  • If using a pan, it should be heavy-based
  • Season the steaks lightly with salt and pepper
  • Oil the steak not the barbecue.

The three basic essentials

1. Heat the pan, barbecue or grill to moderately hot before you add the steaks. This ensures maximum flavour and tenderness. The steak should sizzle as it makes contact with the heat. Don't crowd the barbecue as this reduces the heat and the meat will then release juices and begin to stew.

2. Turn the steaks once only. The more you flip the steak, the tougher it gets. Let the steak cook on one side until moisture appears on top, then turn it.

3. Learn to test when your steaks are done.  Knowing when your steak is ready to be removed from the heat is the key to a perfectly cooked steak. Use either the back of your tongs or fingertip (clean hands please) and press the centre of the steak. Rare is soft when pressed, medium is springy and well done is very firm.

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Always rest the steaks after they come off the heat. This keeps the steaks juicy and tender. Just loosely cover with foil for 2 to 4 minutes before serving.

A little bit more detail

Whilst you can apply the 3 key principles to cooking any beef, lamb, goat or veal steak, practice makes perfect, so here are a few extra tips for getting the degree of doneness right every time.

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RARE

  • Cook for a few minutes per side (depending on thickness)
  • Turn once only
  • Cook until steak feels ‘very soft’ with the back of the tongs
  • Internal temperature approximately 55-60ºC
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MEDIUM RARE

  • Cook one side until moisture is visible on top surface
  • Turn once only
  • Cook on second side until moisture is visible on top
  • Cook until steak feels ‘soft’ with back of the tongs
  • Internal temperature approximately 60-65ºC
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MEDIUM

  • Cook on one side until moisture is pooling on top surface
  • Turn once only
  • Cook on second side until moisture is visible
  • Cook until steak feels ‘springy’ but soft with the back of the tongs
  • Internal temperature approximately 65-70ºC
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MEDIUM WELL DONE

  • Cook on one side until moisture is pooling on top surface
  • Turn and cook on the second side until moisture is pooling on top
  • Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook until steak feels ‘firm’ with the back of the tongs
  • Internal temperature approximately 70ºC
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WELL DONE

  • Cook on one side until moisture is pooling on top surface
  • Turn and cook on the second side until moisture is pooling on top
  • Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook until steak feels ‘very firm’ with the back of the tongs
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COOKING THICK STEAKS

  • Brown all sides in a hot pan
  • Slightly reduce heat and cook as required
  • Turn a second time
  • If cooking thicker steaks medium well or well done, you may need to finish them in the oven
  • Test when to take out of the pan by using the back of the tongs or a steak thermometer to measure the temperature in the middle of the steak
Source: http://www.australianbutchersguild.com.au/...