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>Great Steaks!

Posted on May 25, 2010 by Glutenfreeda

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If you are a meat lover, nothing beats a great steak. In fact, if you talk to many chef’s and ask what they cook for themselves when they are not at work or not preparing a dinner party, they will often say ‘a great steak and a simple salad with the freshest ingredients’. This is definitely true at the homes of the Glutenfreeda chef’s as well.

So what makes a great steak? Success relies on a naturally tender cut of meat. Tender, mild-flavored steaks come from the top and middle sections, while less tender but more flavorful steaks come from the front and hind quarters. Stick to prime or choice grade steaks for optimal tenderness and flavor.

Whether your preferred preparation for steak is grilling, broiling or pan-frying, we’d like to offer a few tips that will help you to prepare the perfect steak.

The number one key to cooking a great steak, regardless of the cooking method, is in knowing when to stop. Many cooks have their own individual ways of telling when a steak is cooked just right. A sure-fire way is to check the internal temperature of the steak to know when it has cooked long enough. The internal temperature for a rare steak is 135 degrees F; for medium-rare it’s 145 degrees F; and for medium it’s 155 degrees F. If you’re wondering what the temperature is for well-done, you won’t find it here because we believe no steak should be cooked past medium. If you like your meat well-done, we suggest you choose a different cut of meat. The only problem with the thermometer method is that steak will continue to cook after it has been removed from the heat source. So, to end up with a rare steak, the steak should be pulled off the heat when it registers about 125 degrees F.

An easier way to test a cooking steak is by touch. To those who are not outdoor barbecue kings and queens, this may sound like unproved science, but it is actually very accurate and it doesn’t require fussing with a thermometer.

The touch test:

For rare: The steak, when touched or lightly pushed on will give easily and feel soft.

For medium-rare: The steak will feel firmer than that of a rare steak but not hard.

For medium: The steak will feel firm and give only slightly.

To get a feel for the touch test method, try cooking a steak to what you think is rare and touch it, then let it cook a little longer and touch it again. You will quickly get a sense for the difference.

The next tip is to always cook steak over high or medium-high, direct heat. This sears the outside making it crisp and keeps the inside moist and juicy. There is nothing less appealing than a steak cooked over medium or low heat on a grill. The steak will lack flavor, be gray in color and will probably be stiff and leathery. High heat searing is what causes that great steak flavor, just as in pan-frying, high heat produces browned bits that are the flavor and the base of any great steak sauce.

Choose your steak based on how you intend to prepare it. Here are some helpful details about several different cuts of beef to help you make the best steak possible.

The Filet: The most popular and also most expensive steak comes from the short loin. These steaks are ideal for grilling and pan searing.

Porterhouse & T-Bones: Cutting the short loin into bone-in steaks will yield the large porterhouse steak and the T-bone steak. The porterhouse will be more expensive because it contains a larger section of tenderloin. Great for grilling.

New York Strip: Another popular steak containing no tenderloin and no bone. Great for grilling, pan searing & broiling.

Rib steaks and boneless rib-eye steaks: These steaks are cut from the rib section of the beef. These often have more fat marbled throughout the meat which gives more flavor than you will find in a filet. They may be less tender than a filet but they are rich and juicy — great for grilling and broiling.

Top sirloin steak: Comes from the top section of the sirloin (hence the name). These steaks are good grill steaks and are sometimes cut into large sections — enough to serve 3-4 people.

Top round steak: This steak comes from the hind leg portion. For many steak lovers, this steak offers the best combination of texture and flavor. Avoid the tough eye-of-the-round steaks — these are best braised until tender. These steaks take well to marinades.

Flank steak: This steak is a lean, flat, boneless cut from the underside of the beef. It has tremendous flavor but must be cooked quickly and sliced very thin across the grain to be tender. This steak does very well when marinated.

Skirt steak: This long, narrow steak is also referred to as fajita steak. It is more tender and contains more fat than the flank steak. Like flank and top round this steak is best quickly broiled or grilled and takes well to marinades.

Buying tips: In the supermarket choose steaks that are at least _ inches thick. If you have the luxury of a butcher request steaks that are about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick for the best results. Steaks thinner than _ inch tend to dry out and toughen quickly.

Cooking Time: Use the chart below for approximate cooking times. All steaks should be flipped halfway through the cooking time. Keep in mind that the second side will cook faster than the first.

Steak Type

Thickness

Rare

Medium-Rare

Medium

Filet, Flank or Skirt

1 inch

2 inches

6-8 minutes

10-12 minutes

8-10 minutes

12-16 minutes

10-12 minutes

16-18 minutes

Boneless top loin, rib, sirloin, top round

1 inch

2 inches

6-8 minutes

12-16 minutes

8-10 minutes

16-18 minutes

10-12 minutes

18-20 minutes

Bone-in T-bone, porterhouse, rib, top loin or skirt steak

1 inch

2 inches

10-12 minutes

16-18 minutes

12-16 minutes

18-22 minutes

16-18 minutes

22-26 minutes

Here are some of our favorite steak recipes using different cuts of meat and different cooking methods:

Mozzarella Stuffed Flank with Chilean Rub

Stuffed Filets with Pepper Sauce

Steak au Poivre

Steak Dianne with Home Fries

Chile Steak with Pico de Gallo & Feta

Steak with Pears & Gorgonzola

Steaks with Passilla Chili Sauce

Steak with Gorgonzola Butter

Sirloin Steaks with Fennel & Tarragon

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled Porterhouse Steaks with Olive Butter

Grilled Steaks with Caramelized Onions & Feta

Italian Steak with Fresh Herbs

Pan Seared Steak with Cherry Wine Sauce

Rib Eye Chili Steaks

Blackened Steak with Cajun Rub

We hope you enjoy these great steaks as much as we do!

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