Guide to Perfecting Your First Homemade Steak

Steak has to be the most satisfying dish to make at home. It can probably be made in under 15 minutes and as long as you have a decent quality piece of steak, it’ll probably be delicious.

I love steak. But if I’m paying HK$1500 to have one at my favourite Grand Hyatt Steakhouse or still quite a lot at any of these Top Classic Steakhouses in Hong Kong, I would save myself from bankruptcy to make this at home more often. Of course there are more affordable options like Le Relais de l’Entrecote or La Vache, but you get the point.

Yesterday someone who hadn’t ever made steak before asked me how to cook it and also how to buy a good piece of steak. So I thought I’d write out this simple guide to help you make your first slab of steak.

 

Rib eye cooked to rare, with a side of mashed potatoes and fresh tomatoes

 

The easiest way to cook your steak is to sear it

  1. Let the steak rest to room temperature before cooking
  2. Lightly season with salt and pepper – the salt helps ensure a crispy crust is formed on the outer edge of the steak when you sear it
  3. Heat the pan up until it’s extremely hot
  4. Oil or butter the pan
  5. Place the steak on the pan (with tongs) and do not flip or move it. This is instrumental in getting a good charred crispy edge on your steak, as well as locking in the juices.
  6. After 2.5 minutes*, flip the steak and again, do not move it
  7. After another 2.5 minutes*, take the steak off the pan
  8. Let it rest on a plate for at least 5 minutes before serving

* From my experience, 2.5 minutes per side gives you a medium rare steak (like the photo below), for a piece of steak that is roughly 1.5cm thick. It must be at room temperature before it goes on the pan.

Rib eye cooked to medium-rare with a side of mac n cheese

 

What steak should you buy?

For this method, the easiest and safest cuts to go for are rib eye and sirloin. Rib eye will generally be more marbled and therefore tender; it’s usually pretty good no matter how well or rare you cook it. So this is my preferred choice of cut. Sirloin is a tad leaner and risks being chewy if it’s too rare – it’s a little more difficult to perfect on your first go, but would be second on my list.

Of course, always buy the best quality steak you can afford – so that’d be chilled over frozen (it makes a significant difference). US Angus beef is my preferred choice, because they tend to be more beefily flavourful, but I wouldn’t mind going for Australian beef either.

 

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