How to cook the perfect steak

Jan 6, 2021 | Jenni Ashford

Whilst some are giving Veganuary and Dry January a go this month, for others a January lockdown is time to hunker down, cosy up with a good glass of red and get stuck into some hearty meat dishes. Whichever applies to you, our Head Chef will help you achieve restaurant quality food at home with a series of recipes to keep you eating well while visiting a restaurant is off the menu.

Starting with steak.

Steak Night is always fully booked at Wear Park Restaurant, and with almost a decade serving up Exeter’s best steaks at Harry’s Grill before joining the team at Exeter Golf and Country Club, our Head Chef, Adam Little, knows a thing or two about cooking the perfect steak.

First stop: buy the best steak you can. Adam always recommends shopping for steak at your local butchers or farm shop for provenance, quality and freshness you cannot beat.

Next, the preparation: leave the steak out at least 1 hour before cooking (cover with grease proof paper or cling film) – this is so the meat is at room temperature and will cook evenly.

Use a thick based frying pan or griddle – a thin pan will burn the steak before it is cooked.

Turn up the heat: add a drizzle of oil (vegetable) and make sure the pan is very hot.  The pan should almost be smoking. If you think the fire alarm may go off – it means you’re doing it right!

Season the steak both sides with salt just before cooking – do not use pepper as this is a spice and will burn.

Make sure the steak has caramelised before you turn it over. It should be golden brown in colour – this is how you get the flavour out of the steak.

Turn the steak over and seal the bottom and then the sides leaving no raw meat exposed – you do not have to caramelise the sides or bottom.

Add a good knob of butter, a sprig of thyme and a glove of garlic.

Turn the heat down to medium and tilt the pan, spooning the butter over the steak 6/7 times.

Then place the pan (if no plastic!) or transfer the steak and juices onto a hot oven tray and cook in the oven at 180c until it’s cooked as you want it – medium rare, medium, well done.

Once cooked rest the steak for as long as you cooked it on a rack if possible, so the heat does not build up underneath.

Cooking times vary on the size of the steak.

Each cut and each steak is different therefore the only way to make sure your steak is cooked the way you like it is to use a meat thermometer.
55ºC for blue, 60ºC for rare, 63ºC for medium-rare, 71ºC for medium and 77ºC for well done.

The other way to check is by touch.

Relax you hand and use your index finger (on the other hand) to push between the base of the thumb and the palm.  This is what steak cooked rare feels like.

For medium rare – touch your thumb to your index finger, and apply the same pressure with your other index finger as before.

Now try your thumb to middle finger. This indicates medium well.

With that in mind, you should be able to check how well done the steak is while in the pan rather than being tempted to cut into it!

Good luck!

Want a night off cooking? Order takeaway from Wear Park Restaurant on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays instead.

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