A juicy steak is a carnivore’s dream, but cooking it to perfection isn’t always easy. Although steak doesn’t take long to cook, the difference between medium-rare and well-done is a matter of minutes – and everyone has a preference on how they like their steak cooked! And a good steak needs some chips to go with it – they’re a perfect match.
Taste and budget play a major part when it comes to which steak cut to choose. With a wide choice available, here is a quick guide to help you select your favourite cut.
Sirloin: Best served medium-rare, sirloin is a great all-rounder. It has plenty of flavour and a tender texture. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular steak cuts.
Fillet: Fillet steak is one of the most prized cuts – and by far the most expensive. Fillet should be cooked rare, and has a seductive butter-like texture, but given that it comes from a muscle that does very little work, it doesn’t have the intense flavour of other steak cuts.
Rib-eye: Rib-eye is the most flavoursome steak of them all. Whether it’s served on the bone or off it, it delivers plenty of rich, meaty flavour. It’s slightly fattier than other steak cuts, so is best served medium – the extra cooking time helps to melt the fat and keep the steak juicy.
Use a griddle pan to cook your steak. Griddle pans imitate the effects of an outdoor grill, and give you those delicious charred caramelisation stripes on your steak – and will wow any dinner-party guests!
Take your steak out of the fridge about one hour before you plan to cook it. This helps the steak to cook more evenly, and makes it easier to judge the cooking time.
Don’t use olive oil – it smokes at quite a low temperature, and you need high heat to sear a steak and cook it properly. Sunflower, vegetable or groundnut oil are better for cooking steak – or, even better, cut a small piece of fat off your steak and heat that in the pan until it melts.
Steaks are quick to cook, so if you are short on time, use French fries from McCain, or you can make the chips yourself. Peel the potatoes, or if you prefer skin-on chips wash them and cut them to your preferred size. Par-boil them for around five minutes to soften them, then dry them completely. Drying your chips ensures they’ll be nice and crispy – a soggy chip is a friend to no one! Place the chips in the oven for around 40 minutes at 200˚C. Turn them every 15 minutes to ensure they cook evenly.
Steaks take marinades well – you can use soy sauce, chilli and ginger, or why not try sprigs of rosemary, Worcestershire sauce and finely chopped garlic? Let the marinade soak for an hour or so – and remember to wipe it off completely to help the steak crisp up.
You can also add a sauce to your steak after it’s cooked – this is another great way of adding extra flavour. Popular sauces to serve with your steak include peppercorn and béarnaise.
Judging cooking time of a steak is tricky – a thicker steak will take longer to cook than a thin one, so cooking it how you like really comes with practice. One tip is to give your steak a quick prod with your finger while it’s cooking. The springier the steak, the more well done it will be. In time, you’ll get a feel for how the steak is cooking. One thing to remember: steaks must be cooked at a high temperature, so crank the heat up, and let the pan get smoking hot!
As a rough guide, for a 3.5cm steak: if you like it rare, cook for 2-2.5 minutes a side; for medium-rare, it’s 3-3.5 minutes a side; and for well done, 5 minutes a side.
Once you’ve taken your steak off the heat, it’s really important you let it rest for at least five minutes after cooking – this allows the steak to reabsorb the juices, keeping it moist and tender. Serve with your chips and sauce, and you’re ready to go.
Hopefully this has inspired you to have a crack at making your own steak and chips. And if it’s made you hungry, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!