Whether it’s a Friday night with your mates around the barbecue or a post workout dinner for one, this is a technique every man must master for the perfect steak.
Grilling a steak is a lot like art: many people dabble, but not everyone can do it well. Properly grilling a steak will set you apart from the majority of guys, will earn you props with your mates and might even impress the ladies. Most importantly, it’ll taste chin-drippingly good.
Follow these easy tips for a perfect steak that you and your guests won’t forget.
Choose the right cut
You can’t expect to end up with a great cooked steak if you start out with poor quality meat. The best cuts of beef steak to use for barbecuing are fillet, scotch fillet, porterhouse, T-bone, rump, round and blade. Look for cuts with a little fat marbled through the meat, as this helps to keep the steak moist
Thickness is also important. If your meat isn’t thick enough, it’ll be very hard to develop that delicious contrast between the crusty, crunchy, well-browned exterior and the perfectly pink, juicy, tender meat inside. Overly thin steaks will tend to overcook before they can finish developing a nice crust.
Bring steak to room temperature
Take the steak out of the fridge well in advance of cooking so that it is at room temperature all the way through before you put it on the BBQ. The meat can become tough if it goes straight from the fridge to the barbecue. This is very important; skip this step and you’re failing from the beginning.
Crank it up!
Preheat the barbecue to the correct temperature before adding the steak. We’re dealing with high heat cooking here. You want the grill to be at least 230 degrees Celsius so, as a general guide, you should be able to hear a sizzle as the steak hits the hot surface. High heat ensures a good sear and a crispy crust on your steaks. Still debatable as to whether heat seals the juices inside but you can judge for yourself.
Season your meat
When it comes to seasoning, let the flavour of the meat be the hero. Minimalism is the key as too many flavours can mask the true beef flavour. Salt and coarse ground pepper is a winning combination; steaks don’t need much to make them great and if you are using a quality meat you shouldn’t need anything more than this. If you want to get fancy, though, you can add spices like chili powder, paprika, or garlic powder to the rub.
There is no need to oil your steaks.
Oil can cause flare-ups and when the oil burns it leaves a bitter black residue. Even though you can wipe away the residue, some of that bitterness will remain. If your grill is the right temperature, it acts much the same as a stainless steel pan and it will release the steak or protein when done.
Timing is everything
The secret to cooking a perfect steak on a BBQ lies in getting the grill very hot and then grilling the steak for just the right amount of time. That’s the tricky part! The time needed to cook a steak varies depending on its thickness, and how you like it. Times will vary from BBQ to BBQ but a rough rule of thumb is 4 minutes per cm. The important thing is to measure the time you leave it on the grill. If 4 minutes per cm turns out to be too little or too much for your BBQ and your preferred doneness, note this and vary the time accordingly next time.
The cardinal sin of the steak world is turning your meat too often. Turn the steak only once; any more and the juices escape, which can make the meat tough. Be sure to always use tongs as sharp forks can pierce the meat and allow juices to escape, which again can make it tough and dry.
Don’t be tempted to cut into a steak to see if it’s done. This allows the precious juices to escape, making the meat tough. Instead, press the centre of the steak with the back of your tongs.
Rare – soft
Medium – slightly firmer and springy
Well done – very firm with no spring.
Let the meat rest
After cooking, always allow the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Heat pushes the juices to the centre of the steak. Resting it after cooking allows the meat to relax, and the juices to distribute evenly throughout, making it succulent and tender. Cover the steak loosely with foil before resting to keep it warm. If you cover it tightly, the meat will sweat and lose its moisture.
Remember that your meat will continue cooking slightly during the resting period, so taking it off the grill early prevents overcooking the steak.
Enjoy your steak, and your new status as King of the Grill!!