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ShadowCatboy
Jan 22, 2006

E purr si muove.


Summer is coming, and that means BBQ and grilling! Aw who am I kidding, I just wanted to start up another steak thread. I've cooked dozens of steaks and experimented with almost as many techniques to try to make the perfect piece of meat, and over the years I've learned a few things. I'll still need some advice though, but I'll get to this later.



Sliced steak with bordelaise risotto. In retrospect I should've let the risotto cool a little bit before plating the slices, because the residual heat cooked the perfect medium-rare a wee bit on the flat side.


When it comes to steak, you generally want three things for the perfect dish. One, you want your steak to be tender, and that means aging or other possible techniques. Two, you want it to be done medium rare, or rarer inside. Three, you want to get a nice, thoroughly brown crust on the outside. There's way more formal and scientifically detailed ways to go about these factors, but for now I just wanna share a few of my success stories and some of my major fuckups.


Tenderness, Aging, & Marinades:

When it comes to tenderness, a few days worth of wet-aging in your fridge can work wonders. Usually I rinse my meat with a little red wine, put it in a baggie, and just let it rest for no longer than a week. I've also worked with marinades before, as well as the salt-tenderizing method. When considering these alternate techniques there are a few danger spots you want to avoid.

For marinades, I used to try soaking the meat with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. See, when it comes to aging, you're depending on the meat's natural enzymes to break down some of the proteins for you. These enzymes tend to work better in acidic environments, so I thought “Let's try increasing the acidity while I let it wet-age for a few days.”

Horrible loving idea. In this experiment I learned how effective acid was at cooking things through. That's the whole reasoning behind ceviche after all: instead of using heat to cook a dish, you use acid (such as lime juice) to denature the proteins instead. What I got in the end was meat that was chemically cooked through, well-done and brown almost from edge to center, despite the fact that the poke test indicated medium rare. If using an acidic marinade, don't leave it in for too long.

Now some of you may also have heard about the salt-tenderizing method. Basically, sprinkle a ton of salt over your steaks, wait a couple hours, rinse, then sear. I didn't like this method too much either: my steaks came out tasty flavorwise, but there was a textural change that I really didn't like. What happened was that my steaks hadn't simply become tenderized, they'd become a little bit cured, like ham. While ham is delicious, my steak had lost some of that natural raw quality that I liked so much.

I love tinkering, and part of my experimentation was also an attempt to sterilize the surface of the meat so I could age it a bit longer. But honestly, I really should've just followed the advice that everyone else gave me in GWS: when you've got a nice hunk of steak, you don't want to gently caress around with it too much.


Medium Rare:

When you're searing meat on the stove, seconds count. You just don't usually have the time to stick a probe thermometer in and check to see if it's the right depth. gently caress around too long on the stove and you've got steak going past into medium or medium-well territory.



A steak served with spicy cumin shrimp, red wine, pomegranate soda, and a little bowl of pan au jus. The au jus went unused because look att this loving beauty:




Edge-to-edge mid-rare! Delicious even with the deficient crust.



So learn how to poke! Get to know what a raw steak feels like and how much “give” it has when you prod it. Medium-rare should be just a bit firmer than that. Train yourself in the finger test. It's quick and easy!


Well-Developed Crust

A good crust means a thorough Maillard reaction, and that means flavor. A crust also adds a textural component, and a steak with a very well-done crust is to die for. Problem is that a good crust and a medium-rare interior are kind of at odds with each other. When you cook the steak long enough to get a deep crust, generally the well-done part intrudes a little too much into the interior of the steak. But if you wanna keep the interior nice and medium-rare, you kinda have to sacrifice the crust.

First thing to consider is how you want to get your steak medium-rare. Do you want to try sous vide and sear afterwards? It can definitely work, but don't sous vide too long since again this alters the texture a bit too much. Just enough to get the interior to the lower end of mid-rare (130* F), shouldn't take more than an hour.

In any case, you'll want to dry your steak before you sear it. This means less heat is being wasted evaporating water from the surface of your steak, and more heat is being invested creating a delicious crust.



Well-crusted steak, with a side of white wine risotto and a bordelaise sauce that broke because I put it in the fridge for the night. Unfortunately a little bit of the heat intruded on the interior of the steak because I was working to get a very well-developed crust.


After aging (and possibly cooking sous vide), put your steak on a cookie rack so air can circulate both over and under it. Salt both sides with a pinch of baking soda and fresh-ground black pepper. The Maillard reaction works best in an alkaline environment, see, but take care not to use too much because the fat may saponify and a slightly soapy taste may result. Leave the steak in the back of the fridge to dry for a good 24 hours or so. Put it on the middle rack: generally the top is too cold, and parts of your steak may freeze. Flip the steak once 12 hours in since the juices tend to pool at the bottom of the steak.

When ready to sear, I actually don't let the steak come up to room temp (like I said, I usually cook it sous vide already!) Instead I pull it fresh outta the fridge: the residual cold interior helps keep the well-done edge from intruding too deep into supple pink deliciousness. I keep the pan on high heat, pour in a generous amount of bacon grease, and gently lower the steak in. I use a lot of oil, and you gotta be very careful and use proper tongs. If that steak drops while you turn it oil WILL splash out and give you the worst loving grease burn.

Conventional wisdom would have you leave the steak untouched while it sears for about 1 minute 30 seconds or so before flipping. Heston Blumenthal likes to turn his steaks every 10 seconds so the hot side has a chance to cool down, preventing it from becoming overcooked. I've tried both methods, and I'm still not sure which one works best.

After cooking I put it into a warm oven with the heat turned off, to let the warm air circulate and get it up to a nice temp. 5 minutes.

Finally, don't forget to rest your steak. 10 minutes minimum: that's the difference between a juicy steak and one that bleeds out all its delicious meat juices over the plate when you cut into it.

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ShadowCatboy
Jan 22, 2006

E purr si muove.


Okay now here's where I need help and advice: The school year is almost over and I wanted to celebrate by making some delicious steak. Went to the store, found a bigass 4-pound ribeye roast for cheap, and I plan on having a goon over for dinner.

I have two ideas so far. After aging, I'll let the roast come up to room temperature without searing it. Once that's done, I can do one of two things:

Protocol 1:
1 - Pop the roast in the oven on the lowest temp available (170* F) and use a probe thermometer to get it to 130* interior temp.
2 - Let the meat rest fully.
3 - Cut the roast it into 2 steaks, let them air-dry in the fridge, then sear both sides in the pan for the crust.

Protocol 2
1 – Cut the roast into two steaks first
2 – Cook each steak sous vide to 130* interior temp
3 – Air dry in the fridge, then sear both sides in the pan for the crust.


On the one hand roasting it low and slow in the pan seems to be the less intrusive way of dealing with it, but I'm just kind of worried about how well a low-temperature oven can homogenously cook a steak through to my target temperature.

I can sous vide the steak as two individual cuts (or maybe even sous vide it whole, I dunno if my baggies are big enough), but this would be way more time consuming and troublesome since I can only do a hobo manual sous vide setup, and I'm worried about the bones poking the bag.

Any ideas/suggestions?

marshalljim
Mar 6, 2013


Rather than slow-cooking it whole, you can just as well cut the roast into steaks first and do those to a little below your target temp in your low-temp oven before searing for crust. That'll give you a nice uniform interior doneness if your oven goes low enough (and yours sounds like it does); I do that myself pretty often and I'm sure I've seen others in this forum mention it. Not as good a real sous-vide setup, I imagine, but maybe better than a ghetto one.

As far drying method between the oven and pan, no idea. I've always just patted mine some with paper towels.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


Do a rib roast instead? Set your oven to 250, use a thermometer to watch the internal temp, when it hits 115 pull it, set your oven to 450 and let it fully heat, put the roast back in for 10-15 minutes. You will have a nice crusty prime rib roast that's uniformly mid-rare throughout.

Casu Marzu
Oct 20, 2008

me larvae long time


Add hot water into a beer cooler, toss steaks into a ziplock and puddle until like 130, sear and finish. The only foolproof way to steak.


Also, I like ribeyes closer to medium. Deal with it.


Edit: I'd probably just do what Cuisinart said. Roast whole and finish high in the oven to brown.

Casu Marzu fucked around with this message at May 12, 2013 around 00:38

ShadowCatboy
Jan 22, 2006

E purr si muove.


poo poo, I already cut it in half as per marshalljim's recommendation. I'll definitely take those other recommendations into account next time though!

My thing is that I always want to get the perfect crust on the exterior, with a good inch and a half of pink meat between the edges. My concern about doing a whole roast is that I'd only have two crusted ends and pink in the center. I think next time I'll just treat it like a whole rack of lamb and use a very rich sauce with tons of brown stock to up the complex umami notes I wanna go for.

EDIT: Also thinking about it, that'd let me carve it and still leave plenty of meat on the bones for a delicious stock!

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


If you wanted to dry age it, you should leave it whole as well, because there will be some trimming if you're looking at a week or more of drying.

You should also always cook a steak that's come up to temp. A cold steak is going to drop pan temp and cause vapor pooling, and you won't get that perfect crust. My preferred method for steaks is to sear them off and finish in the oven if I'm doing a dinner party.

Lord of the Llamas
Jul 9, 2002

I Am A Lonesome Hobo

Chef De Cuisinart posted:

If you wanted to dry age it, you should leave it whole as well, because there will be some trimming if you're looking at a week or more of drying.

You should also always cook a steak that's come up to temp. A cold steak is going to drop pan temp and cause vapor pooling, and you won't get that perfect crust. My preferred method for steaks is to sear them off and finish in the oven if I'm doing a dinner party.

I agree. Cooking straight out the fridge is unforgivable!

KlavoHunter
Aug 3, 2006
"Intelligence indicates that our enemy is using giant cathedral ships. Research divison reports that we can adapt this technology for our use. Begin researching giant cathedral ships immediately."

Hmmm, grease went splattering everywhere, but I did manage to get some very nice medium-rare steaks with the recipe in the OP. They were sorta tough, but I blame that on them being Eye of Round as opposed to a nicer cut of beef.

Chemmy
Feb 4, 2001



Chef De Cuisinart posted:

You should also always cook a steak that's come up to temp. A cold steak is going to drop pan temp and cause vapor pooling, and you won't get that perfect crust. My preferred method for steaks is to sear them off and finish in the oven if I'm doing a dinner party.

Modernist Cuisine suggests putting a frozen steak in a low oven and searing after for presentation, I don't think there are a lot of hard and fast rules for steaks.

I like my steak closer to rare, so generally I'll sear a cold steak in a screaming hot cast iron pan for about 30s a side until it builds a nice crust, followed by a 5 minute rest under foil.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

ShadowCatboy
Jan 22, 2006

E purr si muove.


Yeah Eye of Round steak is a fairly tough cut in my experience. I prefer to just have it sliced super thin to lay over my pho.



Chemmy posted:

Modernist Cuisine suggests putting a frozen steak in a low oven and searing after for presentation, I don't think there are a lot of hard and fast rules for steaks.

I like my steak closer to rare, so generally I'll sear a cold steak in a screaming hot cast iron pan for about 30s a side until it builds a nice crust, followed by a 5 minute rest under foil.



That is one goddamn sexy closeup. What cut is that? New York Strip?

ShadowCatboy fucked around with this message at May 13, 2013 around 02:06

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


Chemmy posted:

Modernist Cuisine suggests putting a frozen steak in a low oven and searing after for presentation, I don't think there are a lot of hard and fast rules for steaks.

Don't remember reading this, might have skimmed over it. But even then, that's just not practical.

Chemmy
Feb 4, 2001



How is it not practical? You sear a frozen steak so it doesn't get overcooked while you work on the crust and then throw it in a low oven. It's a workaround for people without immersion circulators.

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes...emp-oven-steak/

Chemmy fucked around with this message at May 13, 2013 around 03:18

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


Chemmy posted:

How is it not practical? You put a steak in the oven for an hour and then sear. It's a workaround for people without immersion circulators.

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes...emp-oven-steak/

It isn't for me, I come home after a 10-12 hour day, I'm certainly not waiting an hour for a steak if I didn't eat at work.

e: also, the oven in my apartment is poo poo and setting it at 150F results in a temp around 190F.

marshalljim
Mar 6, 2013


Interesting. They're not talking about freezing the steaks solid, just for 30 minutes to chill the outsides to compensate for the searing of them later. Have to try that next time.

Chemmy
Feb 4, 2001



But they say it works fine with steaks that are frozen solid.

I buy steaks in bulk and vacuum bag them and then freeze. When I want some I drop the frozen bags into the immersion circulator and wait. Easy easy weeknight meal.

marshalljim
Mar 6, 2013


Yeah, they do. I still sort of wonder what the point is of searing first with any of these methods that aim at a consistent internal doneness. They don't address that.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


marshalljim posted:

Yeah, they do. I still sort of wonder what the point is of searing first with any of these methods that aim at a consistent internal doneness. They don't address that.

Sear first because searing last will rapidly increase the internal temp of the meat.


That method's cool and all, but the average clientele will think that their steak is underdone because the chewiness is missing from a traditional method.d

Aramoro
Jun 1, 2012



For a quick method I just let the steak come up to room temp and sear it, flipping it every 15 seconds. I find about 2 mins does the trick nicely at 50C internal temp. I've never liked poking steaks, I just use a thermometer. You get a nice crust and it doesn't take to long to do.

That said I've not puddled a steak yet, I should probably try that.

Chemmy
Feb 4, 2001



This month's Cooks Illustrated suggests freezing steaks for a half hour before grilling.

Boris Galerkin
Dec 17, 2011


I'm staying at a friend's place with a gas grill and I just bought a thermapen. If I wanted to have a delicious steak for lunch, what do I need to do? What should I buy and how do I cook it?

e: vvvvv it needs to be done completely on a gas grill at the apartment complex because the friend is moving and hasn't moved over any pans yet.

Boris Galerkin fucked around with this message at May 15, 2013 around 14:28

Aramoro
Jun 1, 2012



Boris Galerkin posted:

I'm staying at a friend's place with a gas grill and I just bought a thermapen. If I wanted to have a delicious steak for lunch, what do I need to do? What should I buy and how do I cook it?

The method I talked about is super simple, especially if you have a thermapen.

Simply let your steak come up to room temperature, doing this because I'm searing it and it makes it easier to get it a consistent temp all the way through. Season your steak and get your pan nice and hot. Pop your steak in the pan and flip it over every 15 seconds or so, this is to sear the outside and send a pulse of heat into the middle, the constant flipping makes this heating consistent and even. After about 2 mins of doing this (this varies based on the thickness of your steak and thickness) take it out and test the temp, I like to get mine at 50C coming out of the pan. Leave it to rest on a wire baking rack, if you put it on a flat plate then the side in contact with the plate will contain a lot of the heat and continue to cook the steak perhaps past the point of doneness you want.

What to buy depends on where you are really, you get different cuts in different places. Personally I like a Ribeye with a nice amount of fat marbled though it.

Doh004
Apr 22, 2007

Mmmmm Donuts...

Boris Galerkin posted:

e: vvvvv it needs to be done completely on a gas grill at the apartment complex because the friend is moving and hasn't moved over any pans yet.

You can do it the same way on the grill, just make sure it's hot. You won't get the same uniform crust as a pan (less surface area in direct contact with the metal) but it'll still be good.

I'm a big fan of keeping steak cooking simple. Salt, high heat, pepper, rest, consume.

Doh004 fucked around with this message at May 15, 2013 around 14:40

skipdogg
Nov 29, 2004
Resident SRT-4 Expert


Doh004 posted:

I'm a big fan of keeping steak cooking simple. Salt, high heat, pepper, rest, consume.

This is how I've always done it. I generally buy .75 to 1 inch thick prime ribeyes, leave them out for about 30 minutes, get the grill stupid hot and cook for about 2.5 to 3 minutes on each side and let it rest. One of these days I'll get a cast iron pan and try cooking steak in that.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Doh004 posted:

I'm a big fan of keeping steak cooking simple. Salt, high heat, pepper, rest, consume.

I like a pat of unsalted butter right after heat applied during rest.

Doh004
Apr 22, 2007

Mmmmm Donuts...

GrAviTy84 posted:

I like a pat of unsalted butter right after heat applied during rest.

Suuuree you do

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Doh004 posted:

Suuuree you do

it's not actually that novel a thing. s'what they do at pretty much any higher end restaurant you can buy steaks at from Peter Luger's to Minetta Tavern, Bouchon, Les Halles...etc.

Doh004
Apr 22, 2007

Mmmmm Donuts...

GrAviTy84 posted:

it's not actually that novel a thing. s'what they do at pretty much any higher end restaurant you can buy steaks at from Peter Luger's to Minetta Tavern, Bouchon, Les Halles...etc.

I know, some of us just have to watch our figures (by eating pounds of red meat)

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Doh004 posted:

I know, some of us just have to watch our figures (by eating pounds of red meat)

yeah, well. I don't really eat steak but maybe once a month, so I go all out when I do.

Geoff Zahn
Aug 18, 2005


I'm a stupid newbie cook who is really paranoid about getting sick from undercooked cuts of meat. What are the best cuts of beef that I don't have to worry about cooking to rare / medium-rare, and are there any stores I should just avoid getting meat from altogether or does it not really matter?

GigaFool
Oct 22, 2001



Dr. Lenin posted:

I'm a stupid newbie cook who is really paranoid about getting sick from undercooked cuts of meat. What are the best cuts of beef that I don't have to worry about cooking to rare / medium-rare, and are there any stores I should just avoid getting meat from altogether or does it not really matter?

Just about any whole piece of beef is likely safe to eat undercooked. Generally ground beef is what people worry about, because any surface bacteria has been mixed into the meat.

Generally the cuts that work the best rare to medium-rare are the NY strip and tenderloin (which are also the two muscles that make up T-bones and porterhouses), ribeye, flatiron steak (also sold as top-blade chuck steak), tritip, skirt steak and flank steak (sometimes sold as london broil).

ShadowCatboy
Jan 22, 2006

E purr si muove.


Dr. Lenin posted:

I'm a stupid newbie cook who is really paranoid about getting sick from undercooked cuts of meat. What are the best cuts of beef that I don't have to worry about cooking to rare / medium-rare, and are there any stores I should just avoid getting meat from altogether or does it not really matter?

Honestly the only real meat you need to worry about undercooking is chicken, and even then bringing it up to an internal temperature of 150* F for about a minute should pasteurize it just fine. If you get it to a full 160* F it's pretty much instantly safe. Even pork is safe to eat cooked to medium since we eliminated trichnosis in the States.

Fresh beef you can eat raw, even without searing the outside. That's why people can eat steak tartare and carpaccio after all. Just remember that when it comes to beef, the majority of the bacteria, if there is any to worry about, is on the outside (unless of course it's ground meat). A quick sear in a hot pan kills that poo poo instantly, even if the interior is totally uncooked.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



ShadowCatboy posted:

Even pork is safe to eat cooked to medium since we eliminated trichnosis in the States.

should be mentioned that this statement is not true of boar or of fresh killed pork. You can, however, kill many strains of trichinosis by freezing, though there are always inherent risks when eating things like wild boar...which is sad because wild boar dry cured meats own.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

HYPER-THREADING


ShadowCatboy posted:

Even pork is safe to eat cooked to medium since we eliminated trichnosis in the States.
But, be warned that it has a different texture than say, rare beef and you might not like it. I have to have my pork at least medium-well

Doh004
Apr 22, 2007

Mmmmm Donuts...

Bob Morales posted:

But, be warned that it has a different texture than say, rare beef and you might not like it. I have to have my pork at least medium-well

What's it like eating sawdust?

Chemmy
Feb 4, 2001



GrAviTy84 posted:

it's not actually that novel a thing. s'what they do at pretty much any higher end restaurant you can buy steaks at from Peter Luger's to Minetta Tavern, Bouchon, Les Halles...etc.

I put fresh cracked pepper and a pat of butter on top of the steak before tenting in foil and resting. I use salted butter because I like salt.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Chemmy posted:

I put fresh cracked pepper and a pat of butter on top of the steak before tenting in foil and resting. I use salted butter because I like salt.

Maldon or gray salt is a nice touch too.

Rollersnake
May 9, 2005

Please, please don't let me end up in a threesome with the lunch lady and a gay pirate. That would hit a little too close to home.

What do you think of ostrich steak? I prepared one a while back just as I would a medium-rare beefsteak and thought it had an unappealing too-dense texture—probably because it's such a lean meat. I doubt it's worth trying again, but I just wanted to make sure I'm not missing out on something good because I hosed up.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


Did you marinate it at all? Ostrich is really, really lean, and doesn't have too much flavor of it's own. Give it a good 8 hour marinade, and don't go over mid-rare(I prefer as rare as possible) with it, and you should be golden.

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No Wave
Sep 18, 2005




tips for cooking beefsteak:

step 1: get a thermapen
step 2: let meat air dry a bit
step 3: cook in cast-iron pan on high heat whilst flipping all the time, like every fifteen seconds
step 4: pull at 126 for ribeye, 118 for rare-appropriate cuts (thickness depending - pull earlier if thin, later if supar thick)

season w/ salt and peppa after cooking and let rest!!!!!

win at life

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