When it comes to ordering steaks, we all start to believe we’re a bit of a connoisseur in the field. We can tell the rump from our sirloins and our blues from our well done. But how much do you know when it comes to cooking it? Do you know how you’re going to season your steak? How long should it take for the steak to be seared? Or did you know that after all this your steak needs a rest as much as you do?
Thankfully we’re here to help. Here at the Blacksmith’s Arms, through years of experience, we believe to be great steak connoisseurs and will guide you through making the perfect steak.
Choosing your steak
The cut of steak you use is down to personal preference and budget. Different cuts will deliver different levels of tenderness and flavour.
Rump: A great first steak, for those trying to find their feet., great amount of flavour and easy to cook. Best served medium-rare
Sirloin: Considered to be a prime steak, like fillet, but has more flavour. Best served medium-rare.
T-bone: To make sure everything cooks evenly; it’s best finished in the oven. Great for sharing.
Fillet: Prized as the most tender cut and the most expensive. It has very little fat and is best served as rare as you like.
Rib-eye: There are two cuts to note: rib-eye, boneless and usually serves one, and rib on the bone, also known as côte de boeuf.
How to season your steak
There are people who argue that steak doesn’t need to be seasoned, as the flavour should come from the meat if cooked right and should only need to be touched by a sprinkle of salt and pepper. This, however, isn’t for everyone and there is no harm in bringing more flavours to a tasty steak if paired correctly.
Seasoning your steak before cooking allows it to draw in the flavours, with the longer you spend marinating, the more even the flavouring of the steak.
For a classic steak au poivre (peppered steak), sprinkle lots of cracked black pepper and sea salt on to a plate, then press the meat into the seasoning moments before placing it into the pan.
One of the easy favourites for a lot of chefs is to add garlic cloves and robust herbs like thyme and rosemary to the hot fat while the steak is cooking, which subtly adds background flavour to the steak without overpowering it.
How do you sear a steak?
Searing a steak until it gets a caramelised brown crust will give it lots of flavours. For this to happen, the pan and the fat need to be hot enough. The conventional way is to sear it on one side, then cook it for the same amount on the other side. This gives good results, but the second side is never as nicely caramelised as the first. To build up an even crust on both sides, cook the steak for the total time (as suggested below), but turn the steak every minute.
How long to cook your steak for?
When cooking a steak the time taken depends on two main factors, how you would like your steak cooking and the type of steak you are cooking with. Below we have given you a description of the different ways a steak can be cooked:
- Blue: Should still be a dark colour, almost purple, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance.
- Rare: Dark red in colour with some red juice flowing. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance.
- Medium-rare: Pink in colour with some juice. It will be a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy.
- Medium: Pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice. It will feel firm and springy.
- Well-done: Only a trace of pink colour but not dry. It will feel spongy and soft and slightly springy.
It’s very important to consider the weight and size of your steak before working out the cooking time.
Fillet steak cooking times (3.5cm thick)
- Blue: 1½ mins each side
- Rare: 2¼ mins each side
- Medium-rare: 3¼ mins each side
- Medium: 4½ mins each side
Sirloin/ Rump steak cooking times (2cm thick)
- Blue: 1 min each side
- Rare: 1½ mins per side
- Medium rare: 2 mins per side
- Medium: About 2¼ mins per side
- Well-done steak: Cook for about 4-5 mins each side, depending on thickness.
Cooking the perfect steak
Once you have sorted the ingredients and established how you would like the steak cooked there isn’t a lot more to it to learn….
- Season the steak with salt up to 2 hrs before, then with pepper just before cooking.
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan until very hot but not smoking.
- Drizzle some oil into the pan and leave for a moment.
- Add the steak, a knob of butter, some garlic and robust herbs, if you want.
- Sear evenly on each side for our recommended time, turning every minute for the best caramelised crust.
- Leave to rest on a board or warm plate for about 5 mins.
- Serve the steak whole or carved into slices with the resting juices poured over.
How to check if your steak is cooked
Use your fingers to prod the cooked steak – when rare it will feel soft, medium-rare will be lightly bouncy, and well-done will be much firmer. Using the finger test is a rough guide to how well done a steak is.
How to rest a steak
A cooked steak should then be rested at room temperature for around five minutes as well as half the cooking time. Although you are leaving the steak out the temperature of the steak will stay warm for up to 10 minutes. Resting the steak results in a more flavoursome steak as the juices are reabsorbed by the meat fibres. Any juices that aren’t absorbed by the steak we advise pouring on top when serving.
If this seems like a lot of confusion and you want to just be able to enjoy a gorgeous steak, then why not head down to us at the Blacksmiths arms! Here we have a great selection of steaks available to be cooked to your satisfaction as well as our amazing rump steaks available throughout on the 2-4-20 menu.
If you’re looking to go all out on your steak and would like to learn first-hand how they should be cooked, then why not come and try our Steak On The Stone!! Our Chefs will personally guide you through the steps of cooking the perfect steak and how cooking on a stone locks in the flavour to deliver the tastiest steak possible.