How to Cook the Perfect Steak by Chef Charles Knight
Entrée (French, which means entry or entrance) is one of several savory courses in Western-style formal meal service. Its traditional definition, still used in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand (indeed, almost everywhere in the world outside of North America) refers to a smaller course that precedes the main course; however, in North America, the disappearance in the early 20th century of a large communal main course such as a roast as a standard part of the meal has led to the term ‘Entrée’ being used to describe the main course itself.
There are FIVE different techniques for cooking meats; roasting, sautéing, pan broiling (stove-top grilling), and baking. Cooking meats with liquids is referred to as braising and marinating.
Here we will focus on Pan Broiling (stove-top grilling) the method used in most upscale steakhouses.
Cooking the perfect steak is an essential skill for any home cook. Here are some tips to help you create the juiciest, most flavorful steak possible.
- Choose the right cut of meat. A ribeye, sirloin, or filet mignon are great options.
- Let the steak come to room temperature before cooking. This ensures even cooking throughout.
- Seasoning the steak with salt and pepper is an option. Some do and some do not.
- For an extra flavor boost, add unsalted butter, garlic or herbs to create a "pan sauce" for topping.
Because heat is conducted very efficiently through Health Craft cookware to the meat, the meat’s surface tends to brown very quickly, in 1 to 2 minutes. No fat is needed for cooking. Once the meat is browned sufficiently, it will release from the pan for turning. To prevent the meat’s surface from toughening while the inside cooks the heat is usually reduced after the initial browning. If the pan is covered, water vapor is trapped and a process more like basting results or you can open the vent to let the steam escape (if you have a vented lid).
- For more tender and juicier results always begin with meat that is at room temperature.
- Preheat the pan over medium heat 275ᵒF to medium-high for a light crust, 375ᵒF for a good crust, and for Pittsburgh style 450ᵒF.
- Sear the meat on both sides. It will stick at first. When browning is complete it will loosen itself easily from the pan and then turn and brown on the other side.
- Browing or searing the meat is known as the “Maillard Reaction” Amino acids and natural sugars are drawn to the surface of the meat in a specific way forming a sort of caramelization that intensifies the flavor.
Get the internal temperature right: For a perfectly cooked steak, it is important to get the temperature right. Use the Ultra-Temp thermometer that came with your Ultra-Tech cookware to ensure that the internal temperature of the steak reaches 130ᵒF for medium-rare, 140ᵒF for medium, and 150ᵒF for well-done. Or learn how the pros do it by using the following method.
- Rare: Rest your left thumb against your left forefinger and press down on the soft fleshy part at the base of your left thumb with your right forefinger. That is what raw or rare feels like.
- Medium-Rare: Place your left thumb directly over the center of your left forefinger and press down on the soft fleshy part at the base of your left thumb with your right forefinger. That is what medium-rare feels like.
- Medium: Place your left thumb in between your left forefinger and your left middle finger and press down on the soft fleshy part at the base of your left thumb with your right forefinger. That is what medium feels like.
- Medium-Well: Place your left thumb directly over the center of you left middle finger and press down on the soft fleshy part at the base of your left thumb with your right forefinger. That is what medium-well feels like.
Deglazing the Pan
One of the most sought-after features by professional chefs and knowledgeable home cooks is Health Craft’s non-porous surgical stainless steel cooking surface. The pan’s ability to completely release food particles (deglaze) adds the intense natural flavor of the meats cooked without the taste of contamination from the less expensive metals and coatings used in the manufacturing of most other pots and pans.
The chemistry of searing (caramelizing) the outer surface of meat is to cook it when it is room temperature. When placed into a hot pan, the meat immediately sticks to the pan and the natural salts and sugars in the meat are drawn to the surface along with melting marbleized fat. This process not only provides intense flavor to the outer surface of the meat, but the melting fat lubricates the pan as the meat is naturally tenderized. The result, the juices are locked inside, and the meat removes easily from the pans surface when the searing process is complete. Secondly, the residue remaining on the pan contains intense natural flavor. When meat stock, wine or liquid is added (deglazing), the residue is released to form a complimentary au juice or simmered down to become an intensely flavored gravy or demy glace.