True stake lovers across the world will go to great lengths to find the perfect steak cut and cook it (or have it cooked) to their liking. But what is it that goes into a great stake?
First things first.
Give supermarkets a miss and go straight to the butcher shop. Whether you are trying to impress a guest or simply wishing to cook steak for yourself, butcher shops are a lot more likely to stock hormone-free, higher-quality meat often cut right there in front of you. The local farmer’s market is another alternative which also keeps your dollar going back into your local community.
Knowing your high-end cuts is important because cooking and tasting vary accordingly. Most stakes come from three different cow parts. Here are the four most popular steak cuts and what you need to know about them:
T-Bone and Porterhouse: though technically slightly different, they both come from the cross-section of the short loin of the cow. Essentially T-Bone gives you 2 steaks for one and as such is very popular at stake restaurants because of the different flavours they produce when cooked.
Coming straight from the rib area, Ribeye cuts are nicely lined with marbling (white streaks of fat), which gives the steak a luscious texture and splendid flavour. They are perfect for grilling and usually a little gentler on the pocket too than some of their…counterparts
Tenderloin. Also known as filet mignon, Châteaubriand or simply just filet, this is the King of all cuts and the most expensive one too. It comes from the most tender part of the cow. It is completely boneless and usually quite small in size, usually between two and three inches thick. It cooks quickly and is perfect for pan-frying.
The flank is taken from just below the cow’s abdomen. It contains a lot of connective tissues but is otherwise quite lean without too much fat. It is cut against its grain and usually cooked and served in thin strips and if done properly it produces a great amount of flavour.
Steak seasoning varies greatly and is dependent on different factors including the cut and an individuals’ taste preference. As a general rule, keeping it simple is a good rule to follow. Over seasoning is strongly advised especially when grilling thick cuts, as most of the seasoning falls into the grill. Rub the cut with generous amounts of salt at least 30 minutes before cooking as this not only adds the necessary flavourbut also draws some of the moisture back into the steak, keeping it succulent. Rubbing a clove of garlic on the cut will also give it an extra kick
Quick Top 3 tips:
- Familiarise yourself with cooking guides and use a thermometer to ensure optimal temperature
- If you are grilling: don’t touch it if it’s sticking to the grill- it’s not ready yet!
- Use butter instead of oil, it’s a more stable form of fat and yields better taste