As women have migrated from the kitchen to the cubicle, we are left with processed fast food and vacuum packed microwave meals. Vegetarian diet is being pushed or downright forced to our children and every last food item at the supermarket is packed with soy that will fuck up your hormones. To make matters worse, many a man doesn’t know how to cook nutritious and tasty meat at home. This article will give a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a juicy beefsteak.
The benefits of eating beef are numerous: Not only does it provide high-quality protein for building muscle but also packs cholesterol, the building block of testosterone. It is also a natural source of creatine, which is well proven to enhance sports performance. Finally, embracing your position at the top of the food chain tastes delicious.
”Closest to the bone, sweeter is the meat” – Louis Prima sang about the similarities between meats and women.
While you do not need Kobe beef to succeed, the general guideline is simple: the better the quality of the meat, the better the steak. The quality then depends on a variety of factors like the cut, the level of marbling, and aging. The cut for a good steak is always loin. Tenderloin is the better part and sirloin is the lesser. The T-bone and porterhouse steaks have a slice of both connected by a T-shaped bone. Vicinity to a bone is always good. It will add to the flavor.
Marbling is the fatty tissue spreading throughout the muscle. The cross section of well marbled beef is full of tiny fat channels that make the steak juicy and tasty. Aging, on the other hand, will tenderize the meat. Wet-aged beef is more common, but dry-aged is a little more flavorful. Also young age of the cattle and little physical activity equal to better quality. In short, the best steaks come from young beef cattle with extensive marbling and a long period of dry-aging, and the worst ones from old dairy cattle with no marbling and little wet-aging.
What else you’ll need
We will fry the steak on a pan. While a carbon steel skillet will do, your best bet is cast iron with its superior heat capacity. Coated skillets can’t take the temperatures needed. A meat thermometer ensures the steak is cooked to our liking. For seasoning you’ll need freshly ground black pepper and salt, preferably sea salt for some healthy minerals. Frying the steak with butter will add taste and a beautiful color. A little oil prevents the butter from burning.
What about those world-famous steak rubs, secret recipes of which every restaurant prides themselves on? Understand that they are merely a marketing strategy. Barring salt and pepper, a good steak needs no spices.
- It is important to take the beef out of the fridge early enough to make sure it is room temperature throughout before we start cooking. Cold meat will leak its juices out when cooked.
- If you have a tenderloin or a sirloin, it usually still has a membrane that must be removed. You will identify the white membrane by the fibers it has running to the direction of the loin. Simply stick a sharp knife under it and slide the blade along the membrane to remove it. Do not touch the white lumps on the backside. Those are fat. If you have a T-bone or a porterhouse steak, it suffices to trim off excess fat if there is any, that being layers more than quarter of an inch thick.
- The T-bones and porterhouse steaks we buy are usually individual, but the loins must be sliced. Go for thick steaks, for sirloin 2” and for tenderloin 3”. No baby portions here. Remember always to cut against the grain.
- Give the steaks enough time to warm up. I aim for two hours, just to make sure. Right before frying, season them heavily on both sides with salt and pepper. Salt will absorb moisture, so never add it too soon.
- Heat up the cast iron skillet very hot. This is needed to fry the surface of the steak quickly, sealing it and trapping the juices inside. On low heat the meat would boil.
- When the skillet is hot, add a knob of butter and a little oil. Adding the butter too early will give it time to burn. Place one or two steaks on the skillet. Too many steaks and the pan will cool down. Now, let the steak be. Don’t press it down. Fry all the surfaces. This should take a little less than a minute per side. It is no problem if the corners burn a little.
- Stick the probe of your meat thermometer in the middle of the steak (don’t let it touch bone) and place it in the oven in 250-300°F. If your skillet is all-metal, go ahead and throw it into the oven with the steak on it.
- Cook till 125°F for rare, or 140°F for medium. Then wrap the steak with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes in room temperature before serving. Cooking releases the delicious juices. If we were to cut into the steak right away, all of that would leak out.
Sides, gravies, and drinks
Basically a steak is enough as it is. Perhaps with a leaf of parsley on top. Still, for a man-sized appetite it is best to complement the meat with some carbs. Time everything properly and you will have the whole feast done at the exact same minute.
Start the meal preparation with a side of scalloped potatoes. You will need two and a half pounds of thinly sliced white potatoes, three cups of heavy cream, a minced garlic bulb or two, and salt and pepper. Stack the potato slices on an oven tray about two inches high with layers of garlic and spices between. When done, pour in the cream. Bake in the oven in 400°F for two hours. This dish will stay warm for a while, giving you the time to cook the steaks.
A steak doesn’t really need a gravy, but if you mess up the beef, you can try to disguise it under a coat of other flavors. Prepare the gravy while the steaks are resting. Heat up the liquid left on the skillet and add heavy cream, mustard sauce, black pepper, and salt if needed. Let the gravy boil down a little for an even tan color.
If you are somewhat bourgeois and want to have a glass of red wine, suit yourself. I’ve always found that the perfect companion for a steak is a cold beer. The great thing about a steak is its versatility. Whether you serve a filet mignon with Cabernet Sauvignon wine or a T-bone with a Bud Light, the cooking process is the same.
Who to cook it for
There’s nothing worse than an unappreciative guest. Never cook a steak for those who would rather have a jar of Ben & Jerry’s. Cook for people who are worthy of it. A small family gathering or an evening with your closest buddies is the right occasion.
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