Our food editor shares her tips and tricks on serving the perfect steak, every time!
- Buy good-quality meat from a butcher you trust – inferior-quality meat will never turn out great.
- Open vacuumed steaks to allow them to ‘breathe’ and come to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking.
- Frozen steaks should be defrosted on a plate in the fridge overnight.
- Remove any visible sinew, especially when working with fillet.
- Your pan or coals should be very hot to char the steaks and not steam them.
- Don’t add oil to the pan when pan-frying – the oil will burn and add a bitter taste. Rub the steak with oil instead.
- Olive oil, while delicious, should not be used to sear steaks as the smoking point is too low. Try avocado oil, melted butter or sunflower oil instead.
- Basting should be applied only after the meat has been seared on both sides or during the last minute or two of cooking. If the steak has been marinated in a sauce, scrape it off before cooking.
- Do the hand test to check the doneness of your steak: Loosely place the tips of your thumb and index finger together. Poke the base (the soft, fleshy part) of your thumb with your other hand – this is what medium-rare feels like. Thumb and middle finger – medium. Thumb and ring finger – medium-well done. Thumb and pinky – well done.
- The thinner the steak the more heat is needed to achieve a browned/charred outside and pink inside. If you prefer a medium-rare steak it’s best to go for a thicker steak of about 2.5-3cm.
- Don’t move the steak around or flip it too often – you need maximum heat transfer from the pan or grid to the steak to brown it.
- Don’t use a fork to turn the steak as it will make holes in the meat, allowing the juices to run out. Use braai tongs instead.
- Always rest steak under a piece of foil for about 5 minutes after cooking for the meat juices to settle, otherwise they will run out when cut and result in a dry steak.
Feature: Margie Els-Burger
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