Butter, vegetable oil or olive oil – which is best for steak?

It seems the answer to this question differs depending on who you ask. Some chefs and customers would never cook a steak in anything but butter. Others are happy with vegetable oil while others are olive oil all the way. Which are you?

Personally, I prefer butter. It has a relatively low smoke point like olive oil but gives a lovely finish to the steak. It also provides a lovely shine and smells pretty good too. That’s especially important if you’re at home and are cooking for someone else!

Steak and butter

Frying a steak over a medium heat while basting in butter is the way I personally like to cook my steak. It stays moist, gets all that lovely steak and butter flavour and browns nicely too. It is easy to get that charred finish on a steak this way while leaving the middle rare or medium depending on your liking.

Steak and vegetable oil

There is also a school of thought that says if the steak is of a good enough quality, it doesn’t really matter what you cook it in. while this is true to a degree, in my opinion, you are selling your steak short. It’s like saying ‘I’m having this nice steak so I don’t have to worry about cooking my chips properly or crisping that baked potato. You wouldn’t do that would you?

That said, there is nothing wrong with frying a steak in vegetable oil. It has a high smoke point so keeps the air clear and does a credible job of not sticking.

Steak and olive oil

A couple of chefs I know will only use olive oil. One is Italian and the other is not. Like butter, olive oil has a distinct taste and low smoke point. It also offers immense moisture and character depending on what kind of oil you buy. Even modestly priced olive oil can give flavour to a steak and if you like that flavour, this is definitely the way to go.

Whatever you cook your steak in, as long as you get the temperature, the cooking duration and resting period right, you should end up with a very appetising steak at the end of it. If you don’t want to cook it yourself, The Strong Grill in Blackpool will happily do it for you. Or you can still cook it yourself on a stone!

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