Five rookie errors people make when cooking steak

The last post on The Stone Grill’s blog featured an unusual way to cook steak and then our way of cooking steak. This led to a discussion in the restaurant about common mistakes people make when cooking steak and what to do about them. That’s what prompted this post. I’m going to list five rookie errors people make when cooking steak so you don’t make them too.

As the last post stated, cooking steak is as straightforward as cooking gets once you know the rules. But what about if you break those rules? What happens?

1.   Cooking steak straight from the fridge

You should ideally give the steak at least an hour to come up to room temperature before cooking. Cover and put somewhere safe and you will always get a better steak. If you don’t let it come up to temperature, the centre of the meat won’t cook at the same rate as the outside. Even if you like your steak rare, cooking it cold does not work.

Give your steak time to get to room temperature to avoid a raw centre and burned exterior.

2.   Wrong cut, wrong cook

While you can cook a steak any way you want, different cuts work optimally in different ways. For example, a nice T-bone works amazingly well on the grill whereas a ribeye or rump work best in a hot pan. If you’re unsure, ask your butcher and they will be able to tell you which works best.

If your steak has fat running through it, it will likely work best fried as the fat will render and coat the steak. If your steak has less fat or marbling, it will likely work best grilled.

3.   Not enough seasoning

We often evangelise about letting the meat do the talking but seasoning is different. Seasoning brings out the flavour of the meat and enhances the experience. Not using enough does not do the meat justice. The more you cook steak the more you will learn what works and how much is enough.

As a rough guide, I would always suggest adding what you think is enough and then a bit more. The interior of the meat cannot be seasoned so adding a little extra on the outside can really matter.

4.   Using a fork instead of tongs

If you enjoy steak and don’t have a pair of tongs get some. Stabbing a fork into your steak while cooking it allows all those succulent juices to escape into the pan. You will see it happen when you try to turn a steak when cooking it. The juices leak out and the pan fills up the more you do it. If you’re of the turn often camp of cooking steak, this is even more important.

Use a pair of tongs to turn any meat you cook. It’s a small investment but one that punches way above its weight.

5.   Too many steaks in the pan

Our final rookie error is adding too many steaks into a single pan for cooking. You can spend ages getting the pan smoking hot and then spoil all that by adding too much meat at once. Even when up to room temperature, all that meat brings the pan temperature down significantly.

Cook only one or two steaks at once in a pan. Use separate pans or cook one after the other if you must.

Those are five rookie errors people make when cooking steak. Got any others to add?

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