The Best Way To Cook a Steak
By Global Chef Karl Guggenmos
As stated my kitchen tip two weeks ago, The Four Top Cuts of Steak, I never had nor cooked a steak until I was in my late teens. Moreover, I had never used a broiler, charcoal or gas grill until I started working in the US.
I only saw and used a flat griddle for steaks and the outcome was less than desirable because the heat of the flat griddle was not high enough to caramelize the surface of any steak, let along a pork and lamb chop.
Today, there’s great equipment to choose from to grill steak or anything else….ranging from a simple charcoal grill to the very sophisticated grills.
For the home cook, I say: just stick with the basics.
Remember- to cook a great steak you need a very hot surface that achieves the best caramelization, defined as the process of browning the protein on the surface of the steak, that, combined with the seasonings and flavors, provides that great delicious taste.
I will always remember my time as Executive Chef at a Country Club in the Southern part of the United States where I had a Grill Cook who was absolutely amazing.
He seasoned perfectly and he never missed cooking the steak the requested temperature. His steaks were always perfectly cooked from rare/medium/well and everything in between.
He never touched the steaks nor used a thermometer to check on them.
He JUST KNEW by intuition — sadly a skill almost lost today.
So….in my opinion, this is the best way to cook a steak.
- If using a grill or broiler make sure the grill is clean and covered with a little oil.
- Make sure you watch the temperature. Steaks need quick cooking at high temperature to achieve that famous caramelized crust. But they can also burn very quickly.
- Start on one side, get it nice and brown then flip it.
- NEVER PRESS DOWN ON THE STEAK. The pressure will squeeze out the juices and the steak will lose flavor and moisture resulting in a tough steak.
- For a really great flavor try a cast iron frying pan. Heat it up to high temperature with high smoke point oil (peanut or pure vegetable oil, never use virgin olive oil) and place the steak inside.
- Get it brown on one side and then flip it. The hot flat surface of the pan creates the best caramelization possible.
And the final touches:
After the steak is cooked to temperature take it out of the pan or of the broiler/grill and let it rest for no more than 5 minutes.
I actually don’t use the resting period anymore.
To me it’s best right off the grill/broiler or pan. However some like to let the juices settle a bit for better flavor.
In terms of cooking temperature, I love medium rare (145 -145 f or medium (155-160 f) For me anything else is either too raw or too dry.
Always use a thermometer for checking temperature.