It's quick, tasty and nutritious. Sarah Swains demonstrates how to get a perfectly cooked steak, every time.
- Buy steaks no more than two days before cooking.
- Choose beef with a good red colour or pork with a pale pink colour.
- After buying steaks, keep in a sealed, airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.
- Before cooking steak, remove from the fridge, cover, and bring to room temperature.
- Sprinkle steak with a little pepper, marinade or rub (see below for recipes). The heat will seal in the seasoning.
- Choose a heavy-based, non-stick pan for cooking.
- Use tongs for easy and safe turning of steaks.
- Rest steaks for five minutes before serving so the juices evenly distribute through the meat.
- The best cuts of steak to pan-fry or grill are sirloin, rump, scotch and fillet. The difference between them is in tenderness: themost tender meats are fillet or tenderloin – they are usually the most expensive cuts as well.
- Sirloin or rump are good, economical options. Rump tends to be a thickly cut steak that is reasonably tender.
- Allow 125-150g per person for steak. It will shrink slightly when cooked. This is a healthy-sized serving.
- Trim off any visible fat on steaks. There's plenty within the meat to give flavour.
- When selecting pork, lean leg steaks or medallions are the choicest cuts.
- Venison and ostrich steaks are now available from the supermarket. They are a leaner meat and cost a little more than other meats.
How to cook perfect steak
- Spray a heavy non-stick pan or griddle with a little oil.
- Heat pan over a high heat until very hot.
- Sprinkle steaks with black pepper.
- Add steaks to the pan, press down lightly and then brown each side for 1-1 1/2 minutes. Turn using tongs.
- Cook for the required time to get your desired result: rare – 3 minutes (the meat feels spongy when pressed; medium – 4 1/2 minutes (the meat resists when pressed); well-done – 5-7 minutes (the meat feels firm when pressed). Turn steaks halfway through.
- Preheat the grill for 10 minutes until it is very hot.
- Season the steaks with black pepper.
- Place on a grill rack and cook under grill: rare 3 1/2 minutes; medium 5 1/2 minutes; well-done 6-8 minutes.
To create cross-hatched lines on your steak, you wll need a grill pan or griddle with a ribbed base. Choose one with handles, which is easier to use, and choose a size that is as close as possible to the heat source to prevent heat-loss and overheating the handle.