The Best way to cook steak

Are you craving for steak and thinking of making a steakhouse quality steak in your home?

A good ol’ Steak is one of my favorites and whether it was cooked on the stove, grill, oven. because of its texture, tenderness, juiciness, and tastiness, it’s really hard to beat.

Here, we will be covering what is the best way to cook steak, but before that, I will be giving you some ideas and information about how to cook steak. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started! 

Here are some important tips to achieve the best results for cooking steak, even if you are a beginner

  1. Choosing the right cut - Not all cuts are made equal. If you have read our guide on beef cuts and cooking methods, usually the parts of the loin are better recommended due to their tenderness.
  2. Cuts are at least 1 inch thick - one of the amounts of time you need to take when cooking steak varies depends on how thick they are if it is too thin before its exterior can develop the crave-worthy crust the interior will get well cooked done. It is better to choose the steak thickness to cook both at the same time perfectly. 
  3. Rubbing and marinating the steak - these are one of the best ways that will give you the perfect juiciness flavor of the steak as the meat will absorb the marinate which combines the fat, acid and seasonings. 
  4. Get the steaks to room temperature - this decreases the temperature difference between the surface of the steak and the insides to achieve a hard sear while making sure the meat is reasonably cooked to your liking, medium rare or perhaps even well-done ( Not recommended for a great cut ).

Here are 4 Different ways to cook a steak 

Cooking steak doesn’t have to be boring. Here are a lot of different ways to cook steak and here are the following; I will also reveal the best method for getting your steak right every single time below.

  1. Grilling the Steak- it is the simplest, easiest and quickest way to cook a steak, after a short period of learning and hard to mess up all you have to do is grill the steak using a charcoal or gas. 
    Grilling imparts a great flavor as the meat juices fall into the charcoal, evaporates and the vapors permeate the meat.
    It is also aesthetic to get those signature char-grills marks on your steak.

  2. Pan-frying the Steak-  It’s similar to grilling this way but requires less effort as you can do it within the house, however, getting a really good sear on your steak as the pros do might trigger your smoke alarm.

  3. Sous vide steak – it is a gentle and simplest cooking process in which you can achieve the most moisture inside the meat. Sous vide also creates a consistent done-ness from inside out which is really special compared to the usual “Rings of done-ness” you see on pan-fried steaks. However, with sous-vide, you will still have to pan-fry the steak afterward for a crust.

  4. Smoking the steak – it is a delicious alternative method to cook a steak that is not very hard to do if you have a grill, simply burn some applewood or your favourite wood chips and cover it in your grill to create your own personal “smoker”.

    This can give the steak a uniquely delicious smoky flavor that you can’t get it by cooking on the grill. 

No matter which method you choose, having the right done-ness is even more important to get the best steak.

Checking the done-ness of your steak

We all know that a well-done steak and a medium-rare steak are worlds apart in terms of texture and flavor.

Mastering the ability to cook your steak to the right done-ness is literally half the battle won in producing perfect steaks.

There are basically two ways you can use to check the done-ness of your steak.

Using a meat thermometer or just winging it using the finger test. ( I prefer the former )

Using a meat thermometer

A mistake that many rookies make is not poking the meat probe deep enough to the center. The second mistake is not letting your meat rest for a while before probing it because the residual heat will still continue to cook the meat internally.

Here are the perfect temperatures for each done-ness you are looking to achieve before resting:

For rare beef - 55C/130F 

For medium beef 65C/150F

For well-done beef, 75C/170F

You should expect an additional 5C or 10F rise in temperature when it is done resting. 

That should give you the perfect pink for a medium as a benchmark

Want a great meat thermometer? Use this meat thermometer that I have bought, it works better than a $100 Thermapen and costs a fraction of the price.

Using the finger test

There’s nothing much to this test accept comparing the bounciness and firmness of the steak to the inner base of your thumb.

Here are the firmness comparisons: 

For raw beef - a relaxed palm

For well done - press your thumb against your pinky and feel the inner base of your thumb, it should feel very firm.

For medium - press your thumb against your ring finger, it should feel less firm than well done but still have a bit of firmness to it.

For medium-rare - press it against your middle finger and that should be the firmness for medium-rare.

For rare - press it against your index finger, it should feel closer to a relaxed palm in the care of blue.

The main reason I prefer using a meat thermometer is that the finger test requires a lot of experience and sensory accuracy, a beginner would not be able to compare both firmnesses with great accuracy.

With a meat thermometer, what you see is what you get and you can be sure that the center of your meat is at the right done-ness because that is how proteins react to temperature.

So my advice if you are going for an expensive cut and you do not want to ruin your it by getting the doneness wrongly, get a meat probe, it’s totally worth it compared to the price of your steak.

There is also a common misconception that poking a meat probe into your steak will cause the juice to leak out.

Firstly, searing your steak does not seal in the moisture, that’s a myth. You sear your steak to let the surface caramelized and get some Maillard reaction going on to add umami to every bite, so effectively juices are still going to leak out if they have to.

Secondly, most of the moisture is lost due to evaporation and thus overcooking your beef will have the biggest impact of the juiciness of the steak. 

Do you want a more juicy steak? Keep it medium-rare to medium or perhaps go for the easiest method out there that guarantees a juicy steak every time.

Here is the easiest and best method to cook steak.

The best way to cook steak for beginners

Sous vide cooking is the best way to cook steak as it prevents moisture loss, guarantees the most tender and best-tasting steak and provides precision. 

Sous vide ticks all the boxes when you want to cook steak. It is easy, predictable, packed with flavor, and once you get it cooked in it is there ready and waiting for you. Here are the steps on how to cook sous vide steak; 

But before you start, you got to make sure you have a sous-vide machine that is easy to use.

And no I don’t mean those sous vide machines with Bluetooth or wi-fi or preset temperature range for different cuts of meat.

You don’t need that, you just need a sous-vide stick with intuitive controls and a low margin of error.

While there are sous vide machines that can get water temperature quickly up to a certain temperature. 

I found an affordable option like this one here works best for me even though it takes a bearable 20 minutes to heat up the water which is little compared to the 1.5 hours you will leave your steak in the machine.

You should get one if you are want an affordable workhorse without all the high-tech gizmos.

Again here's the link to the sous vide machine I bought. Click here.

Trust me you won't regret getting this.

Here are the exact steps to getting the perfect steak

  1. Pull your steak out the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30-40 minutes. 
  2. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto each steak and rub it to the top, bottom and as well to both sides.  
  3. Smash a clove of garlic, press a few sprigs of thyme, crack some good salt and pepper and rub it on the steak. The olive oil should help the spice adhere to the meat.
  4. Place the steak in a large zip lock style freezer bag, fill up a large bowl of water and push out the remaining air in the bag by submerging the zip lock bag in the water with the opening out of the water.
  5. Put the packed steak sturdy bag into the pot of water inside the sous vide machine ( Bowl + Stick ) and set the temperature to whichever done-ness you prefer ( Mentioned above ), leave it in there for 45 mins up to 1.5hours. 
  6. When you think it’s ready, take it out and check the done-ness with your meat thermometer, remember it will continue cooking while it’s resting.
  7. Let the beef rest to get up to the right temperature.
  8. Get a non-stick pan, put a little butter and a little olive oil to prevent the butter from burning, cook out some moisture in the butter. 
  9. Sear the steaks on really high heat for till both sides are brown. You are just searing it for the flavor, the deeper the crust, the deeper the complexity of the flavor. 
  10. All right, once the steak is finished, removed it from the pan and let it rest
  11. Carve your steak into generous portions.

About the Author
Hi, my name is Antonio Ricci.

I am passionate about butchery and my mission is to help others fall in love with the art form through education.

If you are visiting my shop, feel free to ask me any questions :)