forum: Food & Drink

#1 Wed 20 Jun 12 7:24pm


Member since Thu 03 Nov 11

GRRRRRRR steaks!!

I must be the cruddest cook in the world! I cannot seem to get a steak right. When doing in a pan/griddle I've gone from overcooking it in 3 minutes flat to still being there getting rid of pints of blood after 15 minutes, both identical in thicknesses! Trying griddle with no oil to a pan with butter etc. I've tried the softness test, used a food thermoometer, none of it works! 140 degress is meant to rare or medium, when I put the thermo into the middle it doesnt even go past 120! Then I cut steak open and it's overdone!!!!!!! Duff thermometer or duff user???

Anyway this time I decide to go down the marinade route and soaked the steak for half hour in oil, crushed garlic, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper etc. I later discover that all you taste is garlic. When using garlic in a marinade I see no point using ANYTHING else whatsoever because garlic is ALL you can taste!

Anyway I then read it's best to sear for 2 mins in a pan then put pan in oven for 5 mins or so. First off the oven temperature is meant to be 500F, a setting we don't even effing well have on most ovens! Secondly, I tried this method, pan in oven first, get out onto hob to sear steak. This took more like 25 second per side not 2 minutes!! Then into oven on around 220c because I also had wedges cooking. After so long is when I have this thermometer problem constantly reading 120c and no more and the steak is like 15cm thick tops!! (Thermo also tested in hot water worked fine upto 160 or so). Turns out it's way overdone and now tough as old boots. GOD HOW DO U GET THIS RIGHT?!??!!??!

Last edited by marlow77 (Wed 20 Jun 12 7:26pm)

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#2 Wed 20 Jun 12 9:10pm


Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: GRRRRRRR steaks!!

Hmmm ... Now bear in mind you have a vegetarian telling to how I cook steak for my family ( if nothing else it makes a good story !)

* get the steak you are going to cook to room temperature before you start to cook it .

* oil the steak ( and not the pan ! ) you don't need to marinade it in oil , just dribble a little oil over steak and rub all over the steak.

* pan should be hot , I use a griddle pan and get it 'smoking' hot .
The steak gives a sizzle as it hits the pan . I then turn the heat down just a fraction , hardly at all , just enough to maintain a steady heat of the metal the pan is made from.

*I don't move the steak at all for a while , to start with it sticks a little to the pan but when it's ready to move you will find that it has become unstuck and it easy to lift and turn .

*I turn then steak , but leave it cooking on the same side.

* after a short while I then turn the steak over .
And I repeat the process .

* to tell if the steak is cooked ...

:Take your forefinger and press it against your forehead , that is what a well done steak feels like if you press it in the centre .

:Take your forefinger and press it against the cernter of your chin , that is what a medium steak feels like if you press it in the centre .

: Take your forefinger and press it against your cheek , that is what a rare steak feels like if you press it in the centre.

Next really important stage is to rest the steak for a few minutes , this relaxes the meat fibers and allow some reabsorbtion of the meat juices.
This will also stop the bloods running over the plate .

When steaks cook , they need room around them otherwise they start to steam with the juices that can't evaporate in the pan , so don't be tempted to fill the pan and cook all steaks at one go.

I season the steak with a little pepper after I have turned it over do I season the side that had already been cooked . If I am to add salt that's done at almost the end of cooking.

When choosing steak , make sure you get one with a marbling of fine veins of fat running through it , that way the steak will be tastier and moist.

I never marinade a steak but may add a sauce to the plate at the end .

Hope this helps .. Other people have different methods of cooking steak but this is what I do for my family and it works every time.

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#3 Wed 20 Jun 12 11:26pm


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Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: GRRRRRRR steaks!!

mummz those testing forefingers got me thinking about face creams...dont ask me why hmm that is a whole new method to me so please excuse... smile

I agree with mummz when the steak has to be at room temperature, at least 1 or 2 hours.

I add a little oil and butter to a hot pan..butter for the taste and oil so that the butter doesnt burn.

Pepper the two sides of the steak, no salt. Put it onto the pan, if it doesn't sizzle its because the pan is not hot enough so take it back out until the pan is ready.

Once the meat placed in the pan, flatten it down and dont move it so that the juices caramelize and form. Too often, we tend to want to move the meat and it is often an error.

Wait 2 to 4 mins until one side is brown and then turn it over, at this stage you can salt the browned meat a little.

Do the same with the other side and spoon over the juices from the pan so that the meat wont dry.

When the second side is browned, turn again to heat through.

Take the steak out of the pan and cover it in cooking foil to rest and also until the blood leaves all the fibers...a trick for me as i like steak medium (pink) but not bloody.
Otherwise it can be served directly with all the juices from the pan.

If the meat is very thick, do the same thing, then finish cooking at lower heat so that heat reaches the center of your piece of meat. Turn when half cooked. Cover with the juices more regularly otherwise the steak will be a lot dryer.

Test it with a knife, if its still pink its edible. If not you'll have a new pair of shoe soles.

As mummz says, make sure that you choose the meat with 'marbling of fine veins of fat running through it , that way the steak will be tastier and moist'.

Good luck  big_smile

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#4 Thu 21 Jun 12 10:01am


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Occupation Why is the Rum always gone???!
From out to lunch
Member since Sat 07 Jan 06

Re: GRRRRRRR steaks!!

first a few questions..

did you really mean 15 cm thick or was it 15mm?....
15 cm is getting into roast territory certainly challenging to do with the method you described.

what exact cut of beef are you using?   This will have a great impact on how tender  it is and how it tastes.

what kind of thermo are you using?   Some can take upwards of 40 to 50 secs to get an acurate reading .

there are different thoughts about salting. 
Personally I like to aggresively  salt immediately before the meat goes into the pan. It helps with crust formation .  The caveat to this is that you need to cook the steak no more than 3 mins max after you have salted it  or alternately let it rest for at least 45 mins after being salted .  The rest will let the juices  that the salt pulled out become reabsorbed  into the meat taking the salt quite deep into the fibers as compared to surface seasoning.  This will give you a seasoned but not perceptably salty steak.  I have tried salting after cooking or when mostly cooked and the flavour has a more pure salt taste than salting before .

I have been converted to the flip often philosophy. This is after the initial wait til the steak releases naturally from the pan of course. Again this is about crust formation ,evenness of cooking and keeping the juices more even thoughout the entire steak.

Unless you answer ,I can't really give specific advice on technique without knowing the steak cut , thickness and just what kind of pan you are using.   Cast Iron or a heavy duty stainless would be my preferred choice  if you don't have access to a bbq grill.

Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule or a cook.  { cowboy saying}
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#5 Thu 21 Jun 12 2:41pm


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Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: GRRRRRRR steaks!!

A nice cut to try is New York Strip.  They are usually fairly even in size and always good.  I prefer using the barbecue with wood smoke and lid down.

I usually err toward cooking medium when I am trying for medium rare for MrP.  I don't bother letting the meat come to room temperature.  It may be that cooking from cold is a benefit in my case.

When cooking a very thick steak, I preheat the oven to the hottest temperature and place the seared steak in for just a few minutes, maybe 4 - 6 minutes, depending on the size.  Presence of bone, fat content, thickness and cut make a difference in cooking times, so keep an eye on it.  It's not a big tragedy if you cut a tiny slit into the center and find it too bloody and put it back on.  It's much better than overcooking it.

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#6 Thu 21 Jun 12 3:15pm


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Occupation Musician
From NYC
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: GRRRRRRR steaks!!

You've gotten some good tips.  The key to cooking steak is searing it correctly, cooking it evenly on both sides and then letting it rest.

Make sure that you've chosen a cut of meat that is specifically for steak.  The absolute favorite for chefs is the ribeye cut.  It remains tender even if you over cook it. 

Tip:  Make sure the steak is at room temperature and the surface is very dry.  I do this by allowing the steak to rest nestled in paper towels for about 30 minutes before I cook it.  A dry surface ensures a nice crust.

Tip:  Marinades are ok, but make sure there is no salt in the marinade.  Salt draws out the moisture.

Tip:  Use a dry rub instead, I like to make a little paste with salt/pepper/garlic/dried herbs/paprika sometimes and a touch of olive oil.  But I suggest only salt/pepper for the first time you do it since you're very sensitive to overwhelming flavors.

Tip: Heat up your pan until smoking.  Add a touch of oil and put the steak in.  Don't move it around.  Do not poke it or prod it with a fork, that just releases the juices you're trying so hard to contain.  Leave it alone for 2 minutes.  Turn it over and do the same.

Tip:  To check for doneness do not insert a thermometer.  Check it with your finger using mummza's method or mine:  Poke the soft cushy skin in your palm under the thumb.  That's what rare feels like.  Now touch your thumb and forefinger and touch that same cushy part.  That's what medium rare feels like.  Now touch your thumb to your middle finger, that's what medium feels like.  Touch your thumb to your ringer finger, that's medium well and then your pinky is well done.

Tip:  If you haven't seasoned your steak with anything other than salt/pepper, now is the time you can add a compound butter.  Turn off the heat and add a pat of the butter ontop of your steak and let it melt.  My favorite is compound butter made with roasted garlic, parsley and scallion. 

Tip:  Transfer to a plate (using tongs, not a fork) and cover with foil for five minutes.  Then you can eat it.

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