A good quality steak can be expensive and is often served at fancy occasions where you want to impress. It’s also one of the easiest foods to mess-up. For these reasons, you want to ensure that whenever you cook a steak, it comes out perfect.
When it comes so cooking steak everyone has their own favorite method; some swear by oiling the steak not the pan, others rely on a grill, many people sear the steak in a pan before transferring it to the oven, others quickly fry on a high heat before turning down to medium.
The internet is awash with the best way of doing things and many of them have merit. However, when a chef of the calibre of Barry Kerrigan enters the debate of the best way to cook steak, it’s worth having a listen.
The owner of Kerrigan’s Craft Butchers in Dublin, knows his steak – his shop was recently crowned the best butchers in all of Ireland. And now he’s revealed his three golden rules for ensuring steak perfection.
Rule number one is probably the most important and it’s one that a lot of people don’t do: cooking steak from room-temperature. You never want to take steak straight from the fridge and into a pan because it won’t cook evenly. You want your meat to cook evenly from edge to center. Therefore, the closer it is to its final eating temperature, the more evenly it will cook. Letting it sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes will bring the steak up to room temperature—a good 20 to 25°F closer to your final serving temperature.
“If you’ve your meat in the fridge at two degrees and you put it on the pan, the outside warms really quickly but the inside is still cold. Room temperature allows for an even cook,” says Mr Kerrigan.
His next tip might be a new one for a lot of people but the butcher swears by it: cooking the steak on a pan first and finishing in the oven.
“If I’m cooking an eight-ounce steak, which is about an inch-and-a-half thick, I give it four minutes on the pan. I turn it every minute, and then sear it on the sides as well. Then I finish it in a preheated 180-degree oven, I put it on the tray in the oven if I don’t have an oven-proof pan.
The third and final tip is one I always try to do, but when I see steak sitting there on delicious sometimes I struggle to allow rest time. However, leaving steak to rest is super important. As Kerrigan says:
“After four minutes in the oven, I take the steak out and place it on a rack on a plate and allow it to rest for two minutes.
“It’s very important to let it rest on a rack, you don’t want it sitting in the juices,” he added.
“Whatever juices pour out of the steak, you can pour back over the steak again when you serve it.”
Alongside these three tips, these are Kerrigan’s timings for how to cook steak just the way you like it:
Cook a 2cm-thick piece of steak for 2-3 minutes each side for rare, 4 minutes each side for medium, and 5-6 minutes each side for well-done. Turn the steak only once, otherwise it will dry out. Always use tongs to handle steak as they won’t pierce the meat, allowing the juices to escape.
If you want to check out Gordon Ramsay’s key to the perfect steak then you can check it out here, it’s incredible!