Cooking the Perfect Steak
6 Steps to cooking that perfect restaurant steak at home. Once you get used to it, it's very easy!
How long to cook a steak for
These timings are based on cooking a striploin steak that's about 2cm (3/4 of an inch) thick. (Cooking times will vary depending on the type and thickness of the steak, and how hot your pan is.)
- Blue (1 minute each side)
- Rare (1½ minutes each side)
- Medium rare (2 minutes each side)
- Medium (2¼ minutes each side)
- Medium-well done (2½ - 3 minutes each side)
- Well done (4 minutes each side)
4 Things to Remember When Buying a steak
- When choosing a steak, striploin is a fine choice due to its tasty, melt-in-the-mouth succulence. Good striploin has just the right amount of fat and nice marbling. Rump (sirloin) steak is slightly cheaper than striploin but it's still a great steak for griddling or frying. Ribeye is the fattiest but also the tastiest cut. Fillet steak can be more expensive but it is the most tender.
- Good beef should be a deep red colour.
- Good beef should be a deep red colour. Check the beef has good marbling - little streaks of fat running through the meat. This melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks. Don't mix marvelling up with the stringy sinew in poor quality meat. This sinew doesn't melt and is very chewy.
- A good layer of creamy-white fat around the top of striploin and sirloin steaks is essential.
Using the Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat
All of the following tests will be compared to how parts of your hand feel in different positions. It is important that your hand be relaxed so you get a good idea of what the meat will feel like. Each example involves you using the index finger of your “poking” or “feeling” hand to press on the fleshy area between your thumb and base of your palm on the other hand (Look at the photos below if this sounds confusing). You will be comparing the feeling in this area of your palm with that of the center of the meat you’re cooking.
To get a good indicator of what raw meat feels like, open the palm of your hand and relax it. Take the index finger of your other hand and push on the fleshy area between your thumb and base of your palm.
Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below your thumb should not be tough at all and should give when touched. Now, open up your palm again to compare how this compares to the Raw feeling.
Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below your thumb will be what it feels like when meat is Medium-Rare, which is more firm and less giving, but still spongy.
Gently press the tip of your ring finger and the tip of your thumb together. The fleshy area beneath your thumb should still give a little but be getting more firm.
Gently press the tip of your pinky finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area beneath your thumb should feel pretty firm, yet springy.
Okay, now that you’re an expert for how to use these tests to check for doneness, keep in mind one thing: meat continues to cook even after it’s removed from the heat. So, if you’re wanting a steak cooked at medium-well, for example, you should remove the steak from the heat when it is about medium and let it rest for approximately 5-10 minutes. As the steak rests, it will continue to cook to medium-well.