This post is about how to cook a perfect steak (I tested two ways), my love of grass-fed beef, and my secret crush on Heston Blumenthal. You can use this method for cooking scotch fillet, sirloin and rump steak.
Let’s start with the basics. To make a good steak, you need two things: good meat and a reliable cooking method.
My preference is to buy grass-fed meat as much as possible. It’s better for the planet, your health and the flavour is far more superior. Grass-fed cows get to roam around freely, eat what they’re designed to eat, grow at a normal rate, and as a result, stay healthy with no need for antibiotics or hormones. Their meat contains a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and a higher concentration of nutrients in general.
RELIABLE cooking method
Everyone has an opinion on how to cook the best steak: there are restaurants, books and websites dedicated to this topic! While the methods might differ slightly, you have to find what works for you and your kitchen/frying pan/grill situation.
I’ve always known the most common method: temper the meat (bring it to room temperature), grill for 3-5 minutes on each side, rest for half of the cooking time, eat. But then came Heston, a self-taught cooking genius, and changed everything! His method involves turning the steak every 15-30 seconds instead of letting it do its own thing.
My Steak Cooking Experiment
I decided to test the standard method of cooking a steak versus Heston’s crazy frequent turn technique and share my findings. I wanted to set up a controlled environment – same steak, same grill pan – to see which method is better.
I’ve acquired some excellent quality grass-fed beef steak (Scotch fillets), some good ghee and coconut oil (I like a combo), sea salt, and a good cast iron grill pan. Here is how it went.
Step 1. Pick your cut
I used two Scotch fillets (also known as rib eye or rib fillets), about 300 grams / 0,6 lb each. Rib eye fillet comes from the rib section of the cow. Other cuts you can use are T-bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin or Filet Mignon (the most tender and usually the most expensive cut by weight). There are other fabulous cheaper cuts but we should talk about those another time.
Step 2. Tempering the steak
This step is the same for both methods. Tempering means bringing the steak to room temperature. If you cook the meat straight out of the fridge, you will end up with overcooked, even burnt outer edges and raw middle or you’ll end up overcooking the whole steak.
Rub the steak with pepper and salt. Set aside on a plate for at least 20 minutes if it’s right out of the fridge. The salt will penetrate the beef and as you start cooking the meat, the juices will flow to the middle flavouring the meat inside. When you rest the meat, the juices flow back further developing the flavour of the beef.
Step 3. Heating the pan
Heat a grill plate, a frying pan or a BBQ to high. Spray or brush with coconut oil or/and ghee and make sure it’s sizzling hot. This part is still the same for both methods. I like my steak medium rare so the below cooking times will need to be adjusted if you want yours rare or medium. ‘Well done’ is not an option in my kitchen! See suggested cooking times at the bottom of the post.
Step 4. COOKING THE STEAK
Regular method: Cook the steak for 4 + 1/2 minutes on one side (you can rotate it half way to get the criss-cross grill marks) and then 2 + 1/2 minutes on the other side. I rested the steak for 5 minutes before slicing. Resting allows the meat to relax and the juices to flow evenly through the meat.
Heston’s method: I cooked the steak for 6 minutes in total except that I turned it over every 30 seconds, so 11 times. I rested the steak for 5 minutes as well. In both methods the temperature remained at the same level.
Method #1: The steak below was cooked following the standard method – a total cooking time of 7 minutes, turned over once.
Both steaks tasted really good and to be honest, the difference was very minimal. But, I have to pick Heston’s method just because the meat seemed a little bit juicier, it was quicker to cook and maybe because I have a bit of foodie crush on him.
The meat was well seasoned and I was quite happy to with a little hot mustard on the side, but you could also try one of these delicious gravies and sauces.
So, to make a good steak you need to use good quality, ideally grass-fed meat from your preferred supplier, pick the right cut, choose your cooking method, make sure to temper your meat, use a good frying pan like cast iron or a BBQ grill, and don’t forget to rest the meat before slicing it. Below are the recommended cooking times for a 1-inch thick rib eye steak.
Very Rare: 4-5 minutes
Rare: 5-6 minutes
Medium Rare: 6-8 minutes
Medium: 7-10 minutes
Well done: Not Recommended
Have you got your own tips and tricks for a perfect steak? What is your favourite cut? Tell us in your comments below.