Let’s be completely and utterly honest with each other. If you like your steak well-done – you’re not a steak connoisseur.
It’s fine. Don’t feel bad! It’s similar to someone saying that their favorite singer is Miley Cyrus… they just haven’t heard real music yet. It’s not their fault.
Just as a cigar aficionado looks for a woody-tasting blend with an oily wrap, or a cheese-lover relishes the smell of an especially matured Gouda… a steak is meant to be enjoyed with one thing in mind – tender is good.
Those that are new to the steak-eating game may be intimidated by a big, bloody hunk of beef – the kind your grandfather eats as it’s still saying, “Moo!” This minimalist preparation method is not for everyone. In fact, many are shying away from this practice.
However, the steak community agrees that a certain level of suppleness is desired in a meat that can become inedible if fixed improperly. Here are the ways to ensure a juicy, tender hunk of steak without turning your fillet mignon into a char-grilled hockey puck.
1) Choice Cuts
If you buy a steak that is comparable in quality to Oscar Meyer bologna, you will never reach beef nirvana. The first step to preparing the perfect steak is to find the right cut for you. Different parts of the animal you are preparing to devour have different tastes and textures. In general, the tastiest cuts of steak come from the rib, short loin and tenderloin of the cow.
Chuck steak, blade steak, round steak, tip steak, or even sirloin steak are not the best steaks for cooking the perfect steak. Stick to the Porterhouse (a fillet PLUS an NY strip in-one), skirt steak (affordable flavor), flatiron (restaurant style), hanger (butchers tenderloin) and the golden goose of beefy goodness – the rib-eye (Delmonico prime rib). Check the chart.
Marinating a tougher steak can turn a chuck steak into, well… not bologna. Marinating is great for cuts such as flank steak, sirloin, skirt, flat iron, round, and hanger steaks. These cuts are low in fat, and therefore could use a little extra juice. (No need to marinate a porterhouse, T-bone, rib-eye or NY strip.. just take your uppity ass to the stove top and quit showing off.)
Most marinades are made up of two parts. The first, is an acidic liquid, such as wine, vinegar or lemon juice. These break down muscle and make the meat tender. The second part of a great marinade is a sweetener, herb or spice blend. This gives you the flavor you’re looking for – but don’t go overboard!
This is the part that scares people, but in reality is the easiest step. Gordon Ramsey says it all best… good luck out there!