How to Buy and Cook Steak
Steak. It's fucking delicious. Here's how I make it.
The first half of this post is a piece on how to buy steak, by Eric Zhang. What follows are directions on how to prepare it, down to the most minute (but crucial) details.
How to Buy Steak
by Eric Zhang
about buying steak
most important thing is the cut of steak
namely where the meat is cut from
safeway is the best place to buy steak around here
trader joes/wholefoods offer shitty steak
costco is even better than safeway but has much higher prices for that quality
you want one of these cuts
: new york, rib eye, t-bone
disregard all other steak
disregard, top sirloin, round, chuck, 7 bone, tri tip, all of those, they don't exist, they suck
good steak is new york rib eye or tbone
you may have also heard of filet mignon
it's fucking expensive and hard to cook right, don't bother, safeway doesn't offer good filet mignon
filet mignon simply means a steak cut from the tenderloin
t-bone is a combo cut of new york and tenderloin steak together, so t bone is tasty
rib eye is easiest to cook cuz it has best marbling
marbling is the amount of fat "strands" inside the lean muscle, hence giving a marbled
top notch marbling:
very shitty marbling:
marbling is 2nd most important thing when buying steaks
you want more marbling
marbling is what gives steak deliciousness and makes it easier to cook
at safeway, for same cut and price, you'll see all sorts of levels of marbling
look through all the available packages to find the one with best marbling
so to reiterate
when buying a steak
1. most important is cut, buy a rib eye, new york, or t-bone
2. choose the package with most marbling
now a note regarding prices
every other week, safeway has a generous sale on one of those cuts
safeways sales run on a wednesday - tuesday cycle
typical sale prices are as follows
new york, rib eye: 5.99/lb
(for bone-in), boneless costs more
do not pay more than these prices, it will go on sale guaranteed
if you can find boneless new york or rib eye (no such thing as boneless t-bone) for $7.99,
that is an acceptable price
this week safeway has bone-in new york or t-bone for 7.99
if you need it this week, then buy those, otherwise next wednesday there will be lower prices
stay away from top sirloin
people think thats good steak cuz they serve it at outback steakhouse
it is an inferior cut to new york/ rib eye/ tbone/ tenderloin
its only good at restaurant cuz they marinade it in wine which increases tenderness and flavor but you lose the natural beef flavor
Addendum by David: Rib eye is also known as Delmonaco. It is said that bone-in gives better flavor. Thicker steak cooks slower so it's easier to cook it rare, or medium-rare. You should not cook steak well-done, and only cook medium by accident. Well-done is a crime.
GREAT! Now you know how to buy steak. Let's cook:
How to Cook Steak
If you successfully follow my directions, your steak will taste far better than what you've had in restaurants. Restaurant chefs don't have time to put this much love into each steak. Much of this is sourced from celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver — relevant videos are included at the end of the post.
- An hour prior to cooking, remove the steak from the fridge. It should be close to room temperature.
- The warmer the meat, the less temperature difference, the better the crusting on the outside. The moisture shed from being cold prevents crusting.
- What is crusting? It's when the surface of the steak becomes cow bacon — it's massively tasty.
- Coat the steak with olive oil (or ghee, which I now prefer b/c of its high smoke point). Then season.
- Salt and pepper both sides very heavily. It's almost impossible to put too much salt. Please stop reading now if you are concerned about salt intake.
- Push and rub seasoning into the meat.
- Use a cast-iron, heavy bottom pan. This type of pan radiates heat well.
- Turn on the flame and wait for the pan to get hot.
- The pan is hot enough when it begins to smoke. (The patina on the pan is burning.)
- Lay the steak in the pan.
- Press down a bit on the steak at the very start to ensure good contact.
- Turn every minute, for 8 minutes total. It will get a crusty/caramelized feel.
- EXTRA CREDIT: Just after you flip it, while it is still bubbling, rub it with garlic. (Cut the garlic in half, and use the tongs to rub it on the steak.)
- EXTRA CREDIT: Just after you flip it, while it is still bubbling, rub it with butter.
- EXTRA CREDIT: On each turn, mop up the fat with a sprig of rosemary and pat the fat back onto the steak.
- Use tongs to turn the steak on its side. You'll want a good crispiness on all sides.
- Don't grab too hard—you don't want the juices to escape.
- Poke the steak with your finger. It should be firm.
- Don't cut into it yet—this will release the tasty juices.
- Take it off the heat, put it on an unheated grill, and let it rest for 2 minutes.
- Heat your (empty) plates by putting a tiny bit of water on them, microwaving them, then pouring off the water. You don't want cold plates sapping the heat from your perfectly cooked steak.
WHILE THE STEAK IS RESTING, CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE:
- Dress the board (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EcF_dKHXHY#t=489):
- Chop & squash a few cloves of garlic with the side of your knife. Mix with salt and parsley.
- Add lemon juice and olive oil.
- When the steak is ready, the board will be dressed, so rub your steak on the board, 'dressing' it.
- If you want, add more butter. You can never go wrong with more butter.
- Add lemon.
- Drizzle a bit of good olive oil.
Enjoy! David Trejo
PS How can you tell if olive oil is real? Good signs include:
- The olive oil is made in California and is not "mixed." (some labels try to trick you)
- When you smell it, it smells like olives (if doesn't smell like anything, be suspicious)