5 Keys to a Perfect Steak (in Quarantine)
One cannot be too picky when it comes to eating these days! Five years into being a “cheating pescatarian” (purely as a result of going after what I like to eat), I’m now faced with the need to re-learn how to cook meat again! It seems like the usual keys to cooking a good steak remain unchanged, with several compromises that one may need to take during the quarantine time. So, without further ado, these are five things you need to cook a good steak.
photo courtesy of Freeda Yin
1. A Fresh(ish) Cut
It goes without saying that the ingredient is the key to a plate’s success. HOWEVER, given the challenge you might face when getting basic grocery needs, just start with a decent cut. Unless you got one of the fancy meat subscription boxes and are spoiled with good options. Defrost the steak in the fridge overnight beforehand and try to get to the steak when it’s time (aka do not re-freeze). This is the best you can do.
2. A Very Hot Pan
Ideally, you would use a cast iron. HOWEVER, just go for your regular non-stick or whatever man. Make sure your steak can fit, that’s all.
3. High Smok Point Oil
It’s actually an extension of point 2. In order to get the pot to a high temperature, you would want to use an oil that’s high in smoke point. That said, given the consideration of taste, you probably wouldn’t want to use coconut oil or Asian style sesame oil either. (The sesame oil from the Asian grocery stores have a wonderful aroma usually used as a finishing oil on appetizers or noodles, and will overpower your steak.)
For those extremely curious ones, here’s an OIL SMOKE POINT CHART from Master Class. (A note on Masterclass, they seem to be running some very aggressive marketing campaign, and I’m constantly bombarded by their ads on Instagram. So please let me know if you have any good experience with them — thank you in advance.)
4. Cook Time
Know the rareness/doneness you like & cook accordingly!
If you like going by numbers, here’s a chart that summarizes the cooking time.
If you function better with intuition, worry not, here’s a guide to use your hand as a reference point.
5. Let It Rest
I know…it looks so good and tempting, and your kitchen smells amazing. You’ve put all the hard work into it and now you want to dive in!
You need to let it rest, and you shall not regret. There’s science behind it. Normally let it rest for about 10 minutes (shorter if it’s less than 1.5 inches thick; longer if thicker).
If you are ready to try your hand, here is a recipe for ya.