Teach me to cook steak.
October 10, 2010 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Which course is the best for learning how to cook steak?

I'm looking for a guide/course (internet based) that will teach me how to cook steak, right from the very start. That means choosing a frying pan, selecting the cut, what to put on it, temperature, etc. Really basic. Ideally this would have lots of instructional videos and hand holding. I really have no clue about this whatsoever.

I have access to a gas hob and gas oven, but no grill. I'm using a Teflon frying pan with plastic handle. I also have a George Foreman type grill and a countertop electric "grill" that has an electric element in the top and bottom, but I doubt this would get hot enough (5+ minutes for melted cheese).

I realise I'll probably need to buy some stuff, so some kind of guide as to what that might be would be really helpful too.
posted by Solomon to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I know this doesn't answer your question, but the biggest improvement in the taste of my cooking came when I got rid of all the teflon in my kitchen.

Getting rid of the teflon forced me to understand the correct amount of heat to use, the correct amount of oil and water to use, and allowed for the creation of a pan sauce that never happened when I cooked with teflon.

Don't get me wrong, teflon is great if you're trying to fry something without adding any fat, or frying something delicate, but it really does more harm than good to most foods.
posted by 517 at 10:54 AM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are many, many fans of the Alton Brown method (including me). Toss the teflon, get a nice cast iron, and start here.
posted by drpynchon at 10:57 AM on October 10, 2010

Alton Brown: Steak Your Claim Part 1 and Part 2
posted by DB Cooper at 10:59 AM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Lots of butter approach works nice too. Mmm. Butter.
posted by ambilevous at 11:22 AM on October 10, 2010

Good heavy cast iron fryng pan, large size, high sides. You can use it for anything you ever used teflon for, and it holds heat better. Look around - if you are in the US, you can finds them cheap.

Alton Brown's advice is great for steak basics. One new technique I hacve learnbed is to fry a steak at low heat in butter in a cast iron pan - this entry at The Paupered Chef gives a good description of the "butter steak" approach.
posted by zaelic at 12:32 PM on October 10, 2010

There are a number of threads about this on MeFi already ... lots of great advice.
posted by cyndigo at 12:59 PM on October 10, 2010

Oh man, this really doesn't answer your question, but at best will hopefully point you in the right direction.

#1 don't pan fry steak. You can heat up a pan (real hot) and flash sear the outside of the steak before you toss it on the grill for a slow cook (which I realize you don't have, yet) -- but don't cook the steak all the way through in a pan. It's a crime.

#2 if you have an oven, the broiler is your friend. It's basically a grill flipped upside down. If it's a gas oven, even better! Broil your steak on high for a short period of time. I like to cook 1.5 inch to 2 inch thick steaks in the broiler on high for about 8 minutes on the first side, then flipped over and 5 minutes on the second.

#3 a decent rule of thumb is however long you cook it on the first side, cook it about half that time on the other.

#4 don't ever flip a steak more than once. In fact, this goes for almost all meats. People sit there flippin the damn thing and patting away at it, and they make a rubbery mess out of their meal. Flip it once, step aside and let the heat do the work for you.

This site has a lot of tips on cooking meat. You should check it out.

Also, buy a hibachi (spelling?) for like 20 bucks. It's a mini grill, and it's totally worth the price!
posted by Glendale at 3:34 PM on October 10, 2010

Salt and pepper the steak, then put it in a Ziploc bag and suck the air out as you close it. Put the bag in a beer cooler full of 130º water. Every 20 minutes, add hot water to bring the temperature back to 130º. After 1 hour, take the steak out, pat it dry with a paper towel, and sear it in a cast iron grill pan for 1-2 minutes each side, and around the edges.

The cut hardly matters; I cooked $8/lb Newport steaks this way last week and they were perfect.
posted by nicwolff at 10:14 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like the DIY sous vide, nicwolff. Have to try that some time.

I usually find myself a grill, but if that's not an option, here's what I do:

Put a cast iron pan into the oven and get it as hot as you can (mine goes to 500F)
After about 20 minutes, pull it out, and put it on to a screaming-hot burner.
Drop a room temperature steak seasoned with salt and pepper into your pan.
Sear on each side. This should take 2-3 minutes per side only (depending on the thickness of the steak).
Pop back into the oven to finish.
When liquid starts pooling on the top of the steak, it's time to pull it out of the pan and rest it for about 5 minutes
That should get you a perfect medium-rare.

As for cuts, I tend to prefer NY strip and ribeye. Sirloin is a good steak to grill, but is generally to skinny for this preparation. Filet is fancy and all, but has hardly any flavor.
posted by Gilbert at 3:11 AM on October 11, 2010

If you get around to trying it, here's a photo album showing the beer-cooler sous vide trick.
posted by nicwolff at 6:56 PM on October 12, 2010

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