Steak is a high-quality slice of meat cut from the hindquarters of a cow. According to cave paintings, humans have been consuming beef since pre-historic times. Cooking a tender, juicy, perfectly done steak is an essential life skill. Everyone from professional chefs to home-cooks should know how to make and serve this delicious food. Learning how to perfectly cook a steak begins before the meat even touches the pan.
In the United States beef comes in five grades.
There are eight main types of beef cuts; rib, round, chuck, flank, short plate, loin, brisket, & shank. The quality of the cut is higher the closer they are to the center of the cow. This makes the two center-most sections, the loin, and rib, the most delicious and also the most expensive. Cuts like filet mignon and rib eye come from these two sections.
Eating steak as part of a well-balanced diet can benefit your body in several ways.
Humans began domesticating cattle around 8000 BC, although there are cave paintings implying human consumption of beef all the way back in pre-historic times. The first Longhorn cattle were brought to America by Spanish explorers in 1534. Since then several other breeds were brought over for their various attributes. The most well know is the Black Angus which is a cross between Texas Longhorns and Scottish Aberdeen Angus steer. Black Angus is presently the most popular breed in the United States valued for the delicious beef it produces.
There are many delicious, wonderful uses for beef. Here is a list of some of our favorites:
Half of the fat in beef is monounsaturated, the same as the heart-healthy fat in olive oil. There are also essential vitamins and minerals in beef that can be difficult to get from anything else. Though there is iron in foods like spinach and broccoli, the amount your body can absorb from red meant cannot be beaten!
One common mis(steak) is not letting it rest at room temp before cooking. It is important that the cut is around room temperature when you cook it or the center won't heat up at the correct rate.
Another common mistake is not preheating the pan long enough. You must have a very hot pan when you place a steak inside in order to sear the outside locking in the juices.
Along those lines, it is important not to use the wrong pan. Cast iron and stainless steel pans are suitable for use in the oven as well as the stove.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. Season all sides well with salt and pepper. Preheat pan over medium-high to high heat for 5-10 minutes until well heated. Sear the steak on each side for 2-3 minutes. Place the pan inside the oven and cook periodically checking with a thermometer until internal temperature of steak is 5 degrees lower than the desired doneness. For a rare steak, it should read 120 degrees f. For medium rare, it should read 130 degrees f, and medium should read 135 degrees f. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
There are many variations on how to cook a steak. Some ways other than the method described in this article include grilling over gas or charcoal, slowly smoking over flavorful woods, broiling in an oven, roasting over an open fire, and sous vide. Try some of these methods as an exciting alternative.