Master the principles of meat and heat and you’ll create the best slab of beef you’ve had outside a steakhouse.
Follow the flame
Once you’ve cooked your steak, crank a small butane torch (we like the Kitchen Craft Master Class Professional Cooks Blowtorch R495 Yuppiechef) to sear the meat on a metal baking sheet until it’s browned. Be sure to light the torch away from the food.
Pick the right cut
Some of the juiciest, most flavourful steaks are well marbled, coming from a part of the cow that hasn’t been toughened up by overexertion
1. Cuts from hard-working muscles, like those from the cow’s shoulder or thigh, contain more connective tissue. Although rich and flavourful, they require more chewing.
2. Weak muscles, like the tenderloin, may be tender, but they also cook up bland due to their lack of fat marbling.
3. Best cut. Rib-eye. It has more marbling than tenderloin, but it’s a less-worked muscle than the shoulder or thigh. Ask your butcher for two 2.5cm-thick steaks from between the fifth and tenth bones.
Use science to create a better steak
Heat a large pan on medium high and add a bit of oil. Add the steaks and cook, flipping every 30 seconds, until they form nice crusts and their interiors register 60°C, about 15 minutes total for 2.5cm-thick steaks. This method works as a rotisserie would, with each side quickly taking turns on the direct heat and then resting, allowing excess heat at the surface to diffuse evenly to the core of the steak. The result: tender beef cooked to a perfect medium rare.
Age your rib-eye at home
The ageing process is what separates top-dollar steakhouses from sit-down chains. As beef ages, the longer protein chains within the muscles break down. As ageing creates more of these protein fragments, the meat becomes more tender and flavourful. Most high-end chophouses age their beef for at least 30 days, but you can tenderise your beef simply by being lazy. Just leave your steaks in their packaging in the refrigerator for five days before cooking, says Young. They’ll change colour but won’t go bad.