via Brooklyn Based. i've always had an issue with meats. cooking them, i mean. i do have my grandmother's awesome cast iron skillet and sometimes my steaks are perfection, other times it's like i've cooked my shoe. i thought these were some handy and straightforward tips from brooklyn's most famous butcher, tom mylan. i totally agree about the fat. i would put butter on butter:
Butcher Tom Mylan completed his long tenure at Marlow & Daughters/Sons/Diner this Saturday. He’s on to the next episode, but thanks to our special access (Tom and our Senior Editor, Annaliese Griffin, will marry this fall!), you’ll find his meat wisdom here at Brooklyn Based in our occasional new series, Ask the Butcher. Email us with questions for future columns.
I love steak, but I never seem to cook it as competently as they do in a restaurant. My current method involves searing it on both sides and then putting it in the oven for about five minutes. The problem is in the searing. I can never get it crispy (is that even the right word?) on the outside, while keeping it nice and bloody in the middle. I can’t even get the crispy outside when I cook it that way thoroughly. Can you please describe the right way to cook a nice piece of steak rare? Also, what cut should I be buying?–Judy M.
Judy, it’s complicated. Variables like: how thick your steak is, what kind of pan you use and even how good (or bad) your stove are end up huge factors in cooking a delicious steak at home. That said, I’ll make as simple as possible for you:
Step one: Buy good meat. Pay a little more and get properly raised and well hung (dry aged) beef from mature animals (over 25 months old). The cut is not as important as the quality of the meat but you can tailor the cut to your desires. If you like more fat, buy a rib steak. If you like a lean and beefy cut, get a flat iron. Feeding a lot of people? Get a porterhouse.
Step two: Treat it right. When you get your steak home take it out of the package and let it be free. Salt and pepper it liberally and let it sit out for an hour or so before you think of cooking it. This will insure that the steak is warm and thus will cook evenly and not be overdone one the outside while staying cold in the middle. Last thing is to pat the steak with a paper towel to remove the moisture. A wet steak steams instead of fries when you put it in a pan. The number one key to a good crust on the outside is a dry steak.
Step three: Cooking, well done. Before you start, get your skillet very hot to help set up the beginnings of a sear. Cast iron works best for cheapest. Skip the raised grill pans unless it really important to you to get grill lines on your steaks, otherwise you’re just missing out on flavorful crust. Right before you throw your steak in the pan, toss in a few tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. This is a key to a pan steak on a New York City apartment oven: you don’t fry a steak you frrrry a steak. Using lots of cooking fat is key to that great crispy outside but without it seeming dry and weird. Fat tastes good. Use lots of fat. Lastly, you can skip the oven finish unless the steak is thicker than, say, 1 1/4 inches. Test for doneness by feel (Google it) or by sticking the steak with a paring knife and holding it to your bottom lip. If the knife is lukewarm pull the steak and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. The result (with a bit of practice) will be a perfectly cooked medium rare steak.