Want to be able to cook steak like a chef? Here are five food hacks that will help you to cook the perfect steak next time you’re in the kitchen.
Use the touch test
Achieving the right level of doneness can be a challenge (‘doneness’ is the official term used by chefs!). The perfect chef can cook a steak medium rare without it being too bloody and well done without it being too dry. One popular method of working this out is the touch test. This can be done two ways. The first way is to use your palm – by pinching a different finger against your thumb and feeling the fleshy part of your hand you can work out how done a steak is. The image below shows how to do this.
The second method is to feel different points on your face. A rare steak should be soft like your cheek, a medium steak a bit firmer like your chin, a medium well steak a bit firmer like the end of your nose and a well-done steak should be completely firm like your forehead. Some people find this method simpler than the palm test, whilst others prefer the palm.
If you’re not ready for that, use a thermometer
The touch test isn’t fool-proof and does take a bit of practice. Some people prefer to use a meat thermometer to test their meat’s doneness – it’s a more precise method. A rare steak should be 125 to 130 degrees, a medium rare steak should be 135 to 140, a medium 145 to 150, a medium-to-well 155 to 160 and a well done should be over 165.
Comparison guides online can help you to find the best meat thermometer. Ideally, you don’t want a cheap one as this might not give an accurate reading.
Score your steaks to improve flavor
Scoring is a process that involves cutting small slits in the top of a steak. This trick can make a cheap steak taste more tender by allowing the juices to flow out. This is best done by doing diagonal cuts across the surface of the steak in a chequered pattern. Don’t cut too deep though – you only need to cut 1/8th of an inch to make an impact.
Try marinating after cooking
Many people marinate steak before cooking. However, this can make steak harder to sear as well as making the pan sticky. Fortunately, you can marinate steak afterward and still have delicious results. In fact, it can often prevent the steak’s juices from being masked adding more flavor. This doesn’t just apply to the sauce – it’s often best to pepper steak afterward too.
Use lard to sear a steak
Most people use butter when searing a steak. Whilst this can be effective, the butter may burn in some cases. Using lard can prevent this burning – lard is an animal product and so can add to the meaty taste to making your steak all the more succulent.