There’s nothing quite like a steak cooked to your perfection. Whether you enjoy your steak rare or well done, it takes some skills to sear it and slice it perfectly. It also takes the proper boning knife and steak knife set. That’s why the team from Messermeister has collected everything you need to know to cook a proper steak in this detailed guide.

To wow your dinner guests or make the perfect steak in your restaurant every time, here are some must-do tips.

What Exactly is a Steak?

Before diving in, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a steak. It’s more than just a piece of beef. Traditionally, a steak is a thin piece of beef sliced across the grain. For example, for most cuts of steak you’ll buy at the store, you’ll notice that it will have very short muscle fibers running up and down the cut of meat. The grain refers to these lines running up and down the side of meat.

Some of the most popular cuts of steak include:

  • Top Sirloin
  • Porterhouse
  • Round Steak
  • Tri Tip
  • Flank Shank
  • Arm Roast
  • Chuck Roast
  • Rib Steak
  • T-Bone
  • Top Sirloin
  • & More

What Temperature Should a Steak Be?

Getting the right temperature is key to perfectly cooking a steak. However, with all the different cuts, the temperature and cooking time will likely vary. But a good rule of thumb is to follow the temperature guide we’ve included below; you can check the temperature of your steak using a meat thermometer

  • Blue Rare - This is a steak usually only seared on the outside and completely red inside with a temperature that ranges from 115-120° F.
  • Rare - This steak is seared on the outside and approximately 75% of its interior is pink and is heated to 125-130° F.
  • Medium Rare - Half of the inside should be cooked as well as seared on the outside and range from 130-140° F in temperature.
  • Medium - Only 25% of this steak should remain pink and it’s seared on the outside, sitting at a temperature range of 140-150° F.
  • Medium Well - This steak boasts a slight hint of pink, but much of the meat will be more on the brown side, and its temperature should be anywhere from 150-155° F.
  • Well Done - A well-done steak is completely cooked and brown throughout, with a temperature clocking in at approximately 160-212° F.

What Are the Different Methods of Cooking Steak

Like most foods, there’s more than one way to cook a steak. After you’ve prepped it and seasoned it to your liking, some of the ways to cook it include:

  • In a Pan - Cooking a steak in a pan is a great way to cook a steak and makes searing it quite easy. Just be sure you have a good overhead fan, or the kitchen can get a little smoky. First, to sear it properly you’ll need to make the pan very hot; it’s important to note that for pan-seared steak, the oil goes on the steak, not in the pan. Flip the steak often (around every 30 seconds or so) to obtain the perfect crust. After, you can add seasonings like butter and rosemary to the mix, then use your meat thermometer to ensure it’s done.
  • On a Grill - There’s nothing quite like a steak that’s been seared on a charcoal or gas grill; it deepens the flavor and can be a great addition to any home-cooked meal or restaurant dish. You’ll need to pre-heat your grill to medium-high, then flip regularly to ensure the perfect sear on the outside. For those cooking steaks to medium or well, close the lid for several minutes to let the inside cook. Lesser done steaks will often require searing over a medium-high heat only.
  • The Reverse Sear Method - This is a method started by chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and combines cooking the steak in the oven then searing the outside to form a delicious crust. You cook the steak in the oven at a low temperature for a very long time, then pan sear it. It’s recommended to keep your oven at around 275° F and cook your steak with indirect heat only.
  • Sous Vide - Lastly, there’s the sous vide method, which can add some serious flavor to your steak and helps it retain all those delicious juices. This method is another slow cook method that employs a hot water bath at a low temperature for a long amount of time, until the steak’s interior is just how you want it. You’ll need to place your seasoned steak in an airtight bag, then immerse it in water, using a thermometer to keep the water temperature consistent. Once the steak reaches the interior temperature you desire (thicker pieces will take longer) you take it out and sear it. Just follow the methods for pan cooking or reverse sear above for a flavorful steak cooked to perfection.

FAQs About Cooking Steak

When it comes to cooking steak, many chefs are asked some common questions, such as:

Should I buy bone-in or boneless?This comes down to personal preference. Many people favor boneless cuts because they’re easier to prepare and take less time to cook. However, cuts like T-bones can have a unique, intense flavor that many love. The addition of a bone will change the heat distribution while cooking, so, it’s also something to be aware of.

What pan should I use for cooking steak?When cooking and searing steak in a pan, it’s important to use one that distributes heat well and evenly, such as a cast-iron, stainless-steel, or aluminum pan.

How do I check the temperature without a meat thermometer?Checking the temperature of your steak without a meat thermometer requires some finesse and experience. Poking the steak throughout the cooking process will provide you with a good sense of how it feels and whether the inside is cooked properly; however, doing so successfully might require some trial and error.

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