The most wretched steak I have ever eaten.Posted on July 1st, 2012 No comments
As the temperature has been above 90 for the last 5 days, I decided not to cook yesterday evening and went in search of food at a local establishment. My usual being co-opted for a graduation party, I went afar and to a place I have seen but not tried. I will not mention the name as I am sure they must do something right to remain in business, but I will not eat there again.
On entry the smell was quite enticing, and soon had me in a seat awaiting my New York Strip steak, medium rare.
What I was delivered was more like shoe sole. While the center was a nice warm pink, the overall mouth feel of the meat was like chewing a Gucci loafer, and I am sure the loafer would have had more taste. Absolutely, 100% undesirable.
It is quite simple to produce a tasty steak, and quite simple to produce shoe sole.
Now steaks are the most popular cut of meat to throw on a grill. They are flavorful, tender, and expensive, so you want to get the most out of your steak. Most folks are confused by all the different steaks there are , the best way to grill a steak and exactly how do you know when it is medium rare. (BTW well done is NOT cooked, it is CHARCOAL..)
Things NOT to do ..
- Be totally ignorant of types of steaks, and how to cook them
- Ignore how you are going to cook
- Pull the meat from the freezer and toss it right on the grill
- Cover the frozen steak with sauce and seasonings before cooking.
- Keep poking the meat to check on the doneness
- Always use a timer for your steaks
- Cut the steak Immediately after cooking
- Just toss the meat on a cutting board and chop away
In order to cook a steak properly, you must first understand what type of steak you have in front of you. This knowledge is vital because each cut requires a different method of cooking. You wouldn’t cook a 1½-inch thick filet mignon in the same manner that you’d cook a ½-inch thick top sirloin. Learning your cuts and understanding the desirable traits of each, is key.
The one common denominator to look for within all cuts of beef is marbling distribution. Marbling is the white fat that you see in all cuts of beef. Some cuts, rib eye for example, will be more marbled than others, a substantial amount of evenly distributed marbling is a good thing, more marbling means more gelatin, which means more TASTE. There is NO SUCH THING as a lean steak.
There is no theory of unified steak preparation, but there are ideal ways to prepare various cuts.
With the thick fillet mignon, it’s probably a better idea to pan-sear and then finish in an oven, you’ll produce a nice brown crust on the outside of your filet that is not quite as achievable through the use of an oven . If you must grill your fillet over open flame, finish it in an oven once the outside of the steak has been seared.
There is no global rule of thumb, you must understand each method and each cut in order to achieve desirable results.
THIS IS A KEY ITEM is in achieving a perfectly cooked steak. Always remove your steak from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes prior to the time you plan to actually cook it. The meat should be close to room temperature when it hits the grill / pan / boiler, not frozen rock hard.
The reason for this is rather simple: The colder the steak, the longer it takes to reach the desired serving temperature. An ideal steak will arrive on your plate as evenly cooked as possible. The best way to cook a steak as evenly as possible is to slowly raise the internal temperature prior to exposing the outside of the steak to a hot pan, oven or grill.
A great cut of beef is naturally flavorful, and all it really needs to enhance that inherent flavor is a little salt and pepper. Kosher salt to be the best choice for most meats in general, and fresh cracked pepper is always a better choice than the stale stuff that comes out of a shaker.
During cooking, never touch your steak other than to turn it.
Dick is the guy in charge of the grill at a barbecue, standing there poking the steaks with a fork to see if they are done, and letting all the lovely juices run out onto the fire. He needlessly moves your steaks around on the grill or in the pan guaranteeing the steaks will turn out to be lacking in flavor and ideal texture.
Don’t be a Dick.
To achieve maximum flavor accumulation, the steak must remain undisturbed for a long enough period of time to allow a Millard reaction to occur. Simply put, a Millard reaction is a process that allows meat to brown. It won’t happen if you continually fiddle with your steak. So leave it alone until it’s had a chance to brown, and then turn it over and leave it alone for another extended period of time. Always use tongs or a spatula when turning your steak.
Time and temperature vary greatly depending on thickness of cut and choice of heat source.
The best way to determine when your steak is cooked to your liking is to simply look at it and touch it. Gently press your finger into the middle of the steak. If it doesn’t bounce back at all, it isn’t cooked yet. When it just begins to lightly bounce back, it’s medium-rare. The more bouncy and firm it becomes, the more well-done it is. With a bit of practice, it’ll become very easy to know exactly when to pull your steaks off the grill. As simple method to “help” determine “donness” is as follows :
Very Rare / Raw
Beef that is cooked very rare is placed on a hot grill for a few seconds, turned, cooked on the other side for a few additional seconds, and then removed from the grill. The meat will be soft and very juicy. The color of the center will be blood-red and the color will become bright pink toward the surface. The short cooking time results in a steak that is barely seared, but it will have light grill marks on the surface. Note: It may be risky to consume beef that is minimally cooked. 110 F – 120 F internal temperature
The color of beef cooked rare is red in the center and gradually becomes pink away from the center. The meat is cooked very quickly. When grilled, the surface of the meat becomes a bit gray and has noticeable grill marks. The meat is juicy and tender. Note: It may be risky to consume beef that is minimally cooked. 120-130 F Internal Temperature (after rest)
The color of medium-rare beef is mostly pink from the center outward with no blood-red areas and is gray-brown on the surface. The meat is tender, juicy, and flavorful. Because of the increased concern with harmful bacteria that may be present in beef, medium-rare is the minimum degree of doneness that is recommended. 130-140 Internal Temperature (after rest)
Medium doneness refers to beef that is a bit pink in the center and gradually becomes gray-brown toward the surface of the meat. When beef is grilled to medium doneness, the surface is nicely seared. The texture is firm, but the meat is still somewhat tender. A greater temperature range is used to describe beef cooked to medium than beef cooked to other stages of doneness. 140-150 F Internal Temperature (after rest)
Beef cooked medium-well is mostly gray-brown throughout with a hint of pink in the center. The texture is firm and the meat has lost much of its juiciness, although it is not dry. The surface is nicely browned with a flavorful crust and if the meat is grilled, it has pronounced grill marks on the surface. 150-160 F Internal Temperature (after rest)
Be a bit zen-like when cooking steaks. They’re done when they’re done.
Like Item 3, IT IS KEY to allow your steak to rest prior to cutting into it. By cutting into a still-hot steak, you effectively allow a substantial amount of its internal moisture to escape in the form of steam and tangible juice. The same moisture that you worked so hard to trap and protect. This will result in a steak that is undesirably dry.
When allowed to rest, a hot steak will retain the majority of its moisture. Patience is KEY!
When cutting your steak, always cut across the grain.
If you cut your steak with the grain, it will be noticeably tougher to chew than it would be had you cut across the grain. The reason for this is that by cutting with the grain, you allow the natural fibers (THINK RUBBER BANDS) of the meat to remain intact. You’ll wind up with a mouth full of still-intact meat fibers, which can be tough for the teeth to break down for further digestion. When you cut across the grain, you immediately break all those tough to chew fibers into small pieces, thereby making each bite as tender as possible.
As shown above: