Let it be known that steak has always been my foe.
I am too impatient, too volatile, too wild. To me, life cannot be contained by meat thermometers and timers! It’s oppressive!
Honestly, I’m just a whiny baby who overcooks or under-cooks expensive cuts of meat. I never learned to tame my internal chaos and it’s reflected in my mastery (or lack thereof) of meat.
BUT. I have found the answer. Talk to your butcher. Listen to his sage advice. His hands may be calloused from handling heavy carcasses but he has a gentle soul and even gentler touch. He knows how to tend to meat.
My wonderful, amazing, kind, happy butcher told me a few key things:
- Get your pan hot. As hot as your cheeks get when a beautiful man (or woman) breathes on your neck. (Aka: medium-high heat)
- For a two pound piece of meat, like I bought, it’s a hot sear for 6-7 minutes on each side for medium, medium-rare. And, listen, I’m not a judgmental person but if you prefer your steak cooked more than medium, I need you to understand what utter blasphemy you are committing. RESPECT THE MEAT.
- Oil the meat well. Not the pan. Heating a pan full of oil to such a temperature is just begging for a visit from the fire department. Trust me, I have set many a smoke alarms off.
- Always cut against the grain. There are lines of muscle and sinew that run along the length of the meat that, if you cut along it, will make it impossible to chew and completely unpleasant to eat. You want it to cut and chew like Paula Deen’s favorite ingredient, BUTTER.
- Something else that the butcher did not impart to me but I found to be pivotal in cooking a steak: do not skimp on the salt. Crust that beast with salt and pepper. Massage it as you would a lover. Don’t be a prude.
Why is it, when discussing meat, that the conversation always feels semi-inappropriate? Maybe it’s just me and I’m a twelve-year-old about it.