Making the Perfect Steak

There is an enormous difference between a mediocre steak and a great steak. Choosing the meat, marinating or flavoring, and the actual cooking itself makes a big difference. It amazes me how some people make only so so steaks, while others make great steaks, often from equivalent meat. Here are some hints to make a better steak.

The meat does matter a lot, and we all have our preferences, but the cheapest meat tends to be tough and not overly flavorful. It is often very suitable for other purposes, like hamburger or pot roast, but not as steak. Your butcher can help, or I usually default to a rib eye. They are quite inexpensive at Costco, Sam's Club, and similar places. I'm not crazy about Filet Mignon, a very expensive cut, which just shows that opinions and tastes vary.

What about ultra premium steaks, ones for maybe 30-50 dollars a pound? Is that meat worth it? Well, I believe for special occasions it is if you love food. There is a massive difference between loving to eat, and loving food. If you're not sure it is probably not worth it for you (but it may be worth trying!).

Most steaks benefit greatly from a marinade or spices of some sort. I use a simple 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, preferably sea or kosher, and maybe some pepper and garlic. I rub the steaks and let them sit overnight or even 30 minutes of short on time. There are plenty of other choices as well.

Let the steaks warm up before cooking them. I give them a couple hours at room temperature before cooking as warmed up steaks cook better. If you are concerned about meat sitting out at room temperature, rest assured it's fine. What do you think people did before refrigeration? Meat is actually fine for a day easily at room temperature as any hiker knows, although I don't recommend that.

There are plenty of ways to cook, and I prefer to grill. Not everyone like the grilled taste, so it's up to you.

Cooking the steaks just right is difficult unless you have an instant read meat thermometer. If you are a pro, or close, you don't need one but if you only cook steaks occasionally you need one, trust me. I like mine rare, maybe 125 degrees or so. Of course preference makes a big difference here!

Let them cool for 5 minutes after cooking, and enjoy!

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