Steak...so seemingly simple and delicious. Yet if you're anything like me, you've had a hard time getting that home-cooked steak to even remotely resemble those over-priced beauties you get out at a restaurant. So what gives? Are we doomed to paying $49.99 for a good steak forever? No! You just need to understand a few basic steps (adapted from something I originally tried from Bon Appétit about year ago) and I promise you that your steak will come out perfectly. Trust me, mine even passed the discerning Husband test!
So, first things first, unfortunately cooking a great steak takes a bit of planning, meaning it's not as easy to do on a whim. So if you plan in advance your better off since you'll have time to do the following super important prep steps. Trust me, time & salt are the two biggest secrets...
Buying your steak: aim for one about 2″ in thickness so that you can keep the interior nice and tender while being able to attain that nice crispy char on the outside.
A few hours before: take your steak out of it's wrapping and lightly salt it on both sides. Lay it on a wire rack over a pan and put it back in the fridge. This will help the steak retain it's moisture and guarantee that it is juicy.
1 hour before: Room temperature steak is key! I know this feels counterintuitive, but if your steak is in the refrigerator, take it out and let it warm to room temperature about an hour before cooking it (of course if it's a steamy summer day maybe a bit less).
Right before cooking: Give the steak another good sprinkling of Kosher (coarse grained) salt. This time, be a bit heavier handed with the salt...you want an even coating since this helps make a crust on the outside of the steak. Do the same with freshly ground pepper (or even better, freshly cracked pepper so it's bigger pieces)
When it comes to actually cooking your steak the biggest key is to have two temperatures so that you can start off by searing the meat on a very hot grill or pan and then finish it at a lower heat so it cooks through to the right temperature. If you're cooking on a grill this is pretty easy to do, but for us city-folk, I use one of those double grill pans that fits over 2 burners so I can have one side high and one side low. For medium-rare you want an internal temperature of 125° And I'm sorry, but I can't give you any other temperatures because in my mind it is blasphemous to cook a steak any more than that...but to each their own, it's just not SavoryGirl supported! Also, please don't press your steak down with the spatula or flip it more than absolutely necessary (twice, 3 times at the absolute most).
Now here comes the hard part....let the steak rest for 10 minutes. That's right, 10-whole minutes. Really hard to do when it smells and looks so good, I know. But don't waste all the good effort you put in thus far by cutting into it too early and watching all of those delicious juices run away. Trust me, it's worth the wait. Go have a beer or open your wine...but leave the steak alone!
Now, it's time to dig in! Top the steak with whatever you prefer: nothing at all, blue cheese, sauteed onions & mushrooms...the options abound! And then take that first bite and feel yourself being transported to a fancy over-priced steakhouse, in the comfort of your own home. Job well done!