Tender, juicy steak is an all-time favourite dish. Rare, medium or well-done, filleted or marbled, steak can be enjoyed in countless ways. Find your favourite and follow these tips to cook the perfect melt-in-your-mouth steak.
A properly prepared steak is usually at the top of the list of most people’s best-loved meals. You can never underestimate the power of a juicy, tender steak. Enjoy it with chips, salad or mashed potatoes, it doesn’t matter that much, since, once you’ve mastered these cooking tips, you’ll love it any possible way.
The first step is choosing the best raw steak. Generally choose steaks that are bright cherry red in colour but remember aged steaks will have a more purplish hue. The marbling of the steak is also a very important factor – as a general rule, the more marbling, the more taste. The marble (fat) should be evenly distributed throughout the meat. Steak with little or no marbling will be more lean and tender but tends to have less flavour than that with a higher fat content.
The most important part of creating an excellent steak dish is using the correct cut. There’s a wide selection of different cuts of steak perfect for various flavours and recipes. The various cuts of steak can be divided into three main sections:-
The rib is the least tender section of the three, but has fantastic marbling and flavour. It contains such cuts as the Rib Roast, Back Ribs and the Rib-Eye Steak. We suggest grilling or frying, but be careful of flare-ups from the heated fat.
The loin, in general terms, refers to the middle-upper section of the cow. This area of meat tends to be leaner and here you’ll find cuts such as Sirlion, T-bone, Fillet and the Porterhouse. Fillet provides the most tender, lean cut of beef. Although tender, these cuts are less flavourful than the cuts from the rib section, as they have less fat. T-bone and Porterhouse Steaks are similar in that they have both Fillet and Sirloin, they are ‘double steaks’ divided by a bone. When cooking T-Bone, be mindful that the fillet side will cook faster.
The rump refers to the hind-end of the cow. This area of meat is extremely flavourful and comparatively inexpensive. It’s great for BBQ’s and is sometimes marinated to offer exciting flavour options.
Once unwrapped, it’s ideal to bring the steaks up to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking. This ensures that the steak doesn’t cool down the oil when it’s placed in the pan and therefore ensures that the meat browns really well.
Add a little oil to the pan and make sure that pan and oil are hot before you add the steak. Turn the heat up to high to seal the meat on both sides before cooking on medium heat. Let the steak rest for a few minutes on a tray or plate before serving, to allow the juices to flavour the meat.
Some chefs recommend that steaks be taken off the heat and allowed to rest for 5 minutes after being sealed both sides. After resting like this, return steaks to the pan, cook to desired temperature and then remove from the heat and allow to rest again for 5-8 minutes before serving.
If you want to braai your steaks, wait until the fire you have made has formed coals. Whether using wood or charcoal, wait until a thin layer of ash has formed and the flames have died down before adding the steaks. The coals/wood need to be extremely hot. Use tongs to flip the steaks, rather than a fork, or you may lose some of the moisture through puncturing.
Here’s a list of recommended cook times for steak:-
Recommended cooking times for a 3.5cm thick fillet steak:
Blue: About 1½ minutes each side
Rare: About 2¼ minutes each side
Medium-rare: About 3¼ minutes each side
Medium: About 4½ minutes each side
Recommended cooking times for a 2cm thick sirloin steak:
Blue: About 1 minute each side
Rare: About 1½ minutes per side
Medium rare: About 2 minutes per side
Medium: About 2¼ minutes per side
For a super juicy steak, marinate the meat for at least an hour before cooking, but don’t pierce the skin. You can trim the fat off the steak once it has cooked, but only then, as it adds flavour and helps creates a more tender steak.
A great way to marinate your steak is to heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add one Knorr Beef Stock Pot and stir over gentle heat for 3-4 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes and then add lemon juice and herbs and chillies to taste. Rub the mixture firmly into the meat using your fingers. Leave to marinate for 1 hour before cooking. If you want to add an extra flavour dimension to a simple steak, try our recipe for Rump Steak with Red Wine and Mushroom Sauce.
Red wine and mushrooms act as a rich base for the sauce, whilst cream and Knorr Classic White Sauce add a level of creamy indulgence. Add a touch of rosemary, pour over your juicy steak, and serve with roasted sweet potato wedges.