Every month Michael Jones, who runs Drings butchers on Royal Hill, performs a butchery master-class for a small group of local meat lovers. He finishes each class with a cookery demonstration, some tasty food and a few cold Meantime beers. Recently he ran a beef butchery class, so he asked me to demonstrate how to cook a steak.
The first step is choosing the cut. Fillet is the tenderest but it’s very expensive. Sirloin is tender if it is nicely marbled with thin veins of fat. The two cuts that are most flavorsome are rib-eye and rump, but as a rule they are not as tender. Bavette steak, from the skirt, is the most economical but it does require a very good steak knife to enjoy. Cook this cut no more than medium rare and slice it across the grain as you eat it otherwise you’ll be doing a lot of chewing.
The next step is buying the steak. It must be from good quality beef; no one can cook a great steak from inferior meat. It should be cut thick enough to allow the center to remain pink whilst the exterior chars, and of equal thickness, so that it cooks evenly.
Remove the meat from the fridge before cooking so that it comes to room temperature. Heat the griddle pan until it is very hot. Oil the steak and season generously. Place on the griddle pan at a slight angle and cook for 3 minutes until char lines appear. Twist the steak to give a criss cross effect and cook for a further 3 minutes. Turn the steak over and complete the cooking on the other side.
To judge whether the steak is cooked you need to use your eyes and fingers. Press into the meat, if it feels soft and leaves an indentation it’s rare, if the indent bounces back it’s medium rare, if it feels firm it’s medium, and if it feels hard it’s well done. There are also several visible signals to look out for. When the steak reaches medium rare a few beads of blood will begin to appear on the surface. Once these beads cover the surface it has reached medium.
It’s important to rest your steak after cooking. This allows the residual heat to penetrate to the center completing the cooking process. How long you rest for depends on the cooking of the steak. Rest a rare steak for 4 minutes, a medium rare for 3 minutes a medium for 2 minutes and a well done for 1 minute.