How To Choose The Perfect Steak Cut
How to Choose and Cook the Perfect Steak!
Nothing beats a succulent, juicy steak cooked to perfection, but this isn’t always what we get at home - this month we look at how to achieve the perfect steak on your barbeque. And it’s not just all about the heat source. The cut’s you buy and the way you treat the steak also determines the juiciness factor in the end…
The long and short of it
Grain-fed, grass-fed, marbled, prime-cuts, secondary cuts – Steak is an expensive commodity these days, and there are so many options available in our butchers and supermarkets that it can be hard to know where to start.
Most top chefs swear by grain-fed beef for the ultimate creaminess in the mouth, or for a natural beefy taste opt for grass-fed.
The cuts are what matters
A prime cut comes from areas of the cow that do very little work. Porterhouse and scotch fillet steaks are protected by the ribcage and are more expensive and tenderer.
A secondary cut is from areas of the cow that have worked harder. Round steak, also known as BBQ steak, comes from around the hind legs and is a less expensive cut. Oyster-blade is also considered steak but needs long slow cooking to achieve tenderness.
And remember, the less fat the cut has, the less room you have for error when cooking it. If you overcook a prime cut like a fillet steak, you risk drying out the meat. Cook it hot and fast for the best results if you’re barbequing a fillet steak!
Grass or Grain Fed
Grass fed cattle will have yellower fat with redder coloured meat and will be slightly chewier than grain feed, but with a more natural beef taste.
Grain fed beef will have a creamier flavour and be more textural and tender with darker colouring, and the fat will be whiter than grass feed cattle.
To Age or Not to Age
Dry aged means it’s been hung for around 60 to 90 days out of plastic, making it tender and adding a complexity of flavour.
Time To Chill
Most chefs allow their steak to reach room temperature before grilling – this has always worked for me so I don’t dispute it – It’s said to help the meat cook more evenly.
There are no rules to marinating meat, but a good thing to keep in mind is that acidic ingredients like lemon juice can slowly cook meat, so only marinate in these acidulous liquids for a short time.
TOP TIPS: Soy sauce is excellent for tenderising a tougher cut of meat, let it marinate for around an hour.
A dry aged piece of steak doesn’t have much moisture content so cook it quickly and eat it on the medium rare side to keep it juicy.
Cook it Right
The perfect steak needs scorching-hot heat – this is why a BBQ is the perfect way to cook your steak.
First up, always oil the steak, not the grill to prevent smoking. Season heavily with coarse salt and pepper just before you are about to cook it. Then you have two choioces.
1. Leave it alone! Don't keep constantly flipping it. Allow the steak to sit on the BBQ plate in the one place to develop a flavourful crust. The crust, apart from being delicious, helps to seal in the juices. Then you can flip it over. Once its sealed on the second side, flip it again and rotate the steak when you lay it back on the grill to achieve criss cross char marks.
2. The other option is one that we've noticed some TV chefs doing a little bit of lately and that is flipping your steak every minute or so.
Rest It & Relax
Once your steak is off the grill its tense, by allowing it 5 or 10 minutes to rest the juices will flow back through the meat and its tenderness will be mouth-watering. Cover it with foil to keep it warm.
Extra Flavour Boost - Add freshness to your cooked steak by allowing it to rest on a deep plate with chopped herbs, lemon rind and juice, salt and pepper and a good slosh of olive oil. Once the resting time is over, use the juices in the bottom of the bowl to serve as a sauce for your steak. Like it spicy? Add some chopped chilli!