Cooking steak is both the easiest thing you can do and the hardest.
Sure, you can throw any old steak in a pan and hope for the best.
But, if it's a great cut of meat, it won't reach anywhere near it's full potential without some skill and importantly, some love.
The first place to start is to workout how YOU like your steak.
We are not all the same. How you like it will be slightly different to me.
For me, it has to be crispy on the outside (especially the fat), tender on the inside and perfectly medium-rare inside.
Your steak should have a range of flavours and textures. Nothing worse than a tough, brown steak with a consistently bland texture throughout. We've all eaten those steaks and to be quite frank, they give steak a bad name.
If I'm cooking in a pan I use plenty of butter and the pan must be red hot.
If I'm using a BBQ I'll marinate my steak in a little olive oil before placing it on a piping hot grill.
In both instances, I'll lightly salt the meat. This draws out the moisture increasing the depth of flavour and creates a delicious salt crust when cooked.
ALWAYS let your steak get to room temperature (or just under) before cooking.
A cold steak will not become tender when cooked. It needs to relax when it hits the pan. A relaxed steak lets it's edges crisp up and it's insides slowly warm to a beautiful pink colour.
I think of a cold steak as a tense muscle. You can't cook a tense muscle and expect a tender steak.
Flip it once, that is all.
If you've followed the above steps, you'll only need to flip it once.
Dropping a beautiful T-bone fresh out of the fridge into a luke-warm pan is a crime.
If your pan's not hot, you'll find yourself endlessly flipping the steak trying to get that perfect medium-rare finish. But you're fighting a losing battle! The battle was over as soon as the steak hit the pan or BBQ.
Your steak is probably stuck to the grill too. What a waste.
How do you know when to flip?
This is an important one. For me, I flip when I see a little bit of moisture (water and blood) pooling on top of the steak. That's when I know it's ready to turn over. I don't know why this is so, it just is.
One final piece of advice...
When you take it off the pan or BBQ, let it sit!
Your steak will continue to cook inside for around one minute after you've taken it off the heat.
It will also become more tender.
That muscle will loosen even more, like your body in a hot tub after a big day. Your steak will relax more and become beautifully tender.
It will also release moisture, leaving you with a more flavoursome yet equally nutritious steak when you place it on your plate.
Hot tip: Let your steak sit on a chopping board or rack with good drainage. Otherwise you'll have a soggy steak. It'd be a shame to trip on the final hurdle!
For me, the most important thing of all is that you treat your steak with respect.
This means sourcing the best possible meat you can. Your steak must be fresh, it needs the right level of fat marbling for your taste, it should be a beautiful light pink colour and it should not smell at all.
Your steak should look so damn good you want to eat it raw!
Checkout my How To Cook The Perfect Steak video below.
It features an epic song, Texas Sun by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges.
Thank you for reading this far. I hope I've inspired you to delve deep inside the inner workings of your mind and body to discover how you like your steak.
Then it's up to you to learn the craft of cooking your perfect steak.
It's truly a skill for life.