Cooking the perfect steak

We all love a good steak. You probably think it’s one of those meals you can quickly dash off without much thought. But when Simon from WHMC sent me his own guide to cooking steak, it was full of minute technicalities that I’d never considered. A lot of love needs to go into a steak meal. And seeing as I’m going about this meat business Louis Theroux-style, I thought I’d share some of Simon’s tips on how to cook steak (in very condensed form) because it’s a little more formulaic than you might think…

1. Consider fat when choosing your steak; it’s crucial. Look for white lines and flecks i.e. marbling running through the meat, which will melt during cooking to add flavour. Also look for an external layer of 0.5cm fat (except in the case of fillet).

2. Prepare your steak. Ensure it’s dry by patting down with a kitchen towel, and take it out of the fridge at least 25 minutes before cooking.

3. Heat the pan to the perfect temperature. Use a large and heavy frying pan (or griddle), and shallow fry rather than grill. This allows you to control the flame and temperature. Heat the pan over a high heat until hot, but not smoking. Brush the steaks with a tiny bit of oil. Season if you wish but salt and pepper suffices should suffice. Put a small cube of butter in the pan with a further splash of olive oil (it prevents the butter from burning). When you place the steaks in the pan, a “sizzle” will tell you if it’s hot enough. 

4. Test. There’s a great four-finger trick on how to know when your steak is perfectly done to your liking. Did you know this one? I certainly didn’t before! I usually take my steak out the pan as quick as I’ve put it in, but I guess this is a more accurate guide – especially for people who are blood-shy.

  • Touch the end of your thumb to your index finger, and the meaty part of the base of your thumb feels like rare steak should.
  • Touch the end of your thumb to your little finger, and the base of your thumb feels like well done steak.
  • The fingers in between represent medium rare/ and medium/well done, acting as a guide to how well cooked the steak is when you press it with your finger.

5. Timing and resting. The following timings should help you work out how long to cook your steaks, using the finger test as a guide. After cooking your steak, resting is incredibly important as it ensures the steak stays tender and juicy (it’s to do with the redistribution of liquid).

  • Rare: 1-2 minutes per side – rest for a minimum of 8 minutes
  • Medium rare: 2-2.5 minutes per side – rest for a minimum of 5 minutes
  • Medium: 3 minutes per side – rest for a minimum of 4 minutes
  • Well done: 5 minutes per side – rest for 1 minute


This week I’ll be sharing two ways with rump steak – in fact one of my steaks is marinading in the fridge as I type… how exciting!

Many thanks to Simon Wood for sharing with me ‘How to cook the perfect Well Hung Meat steak’.


6 thoughts on “Cooking the perfect steak

  1. Pingback: Two ways with rump steak… part one | Meat in a Box

  2. Pingback: Birthday steak | Meat in a Box

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