We love steak! It’s the perfect food to serve up on a Friday or Saturday night or at any time of year.
The only problem is cooking it so that it turns out just how you like. If this sounds familiar, then read on for some handy hints and tips about how to cook your steak – in five different ways!
What Type Of Steak Should You Use?
We each usually have our go-to cut of steak that we like to eat.
How you like your steak served, rare, medium, well done, or somewhere in between, will determine the type of steak you buy.
For example, thicker, more premium steak cuts like fillet steak are best-served medium rare and tend to cook best when fried in a pan.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Steak?
As steak is one of the most expensive cuts of meat, it is even more important to not overcook or ruin the taste of your meal by cooking it the wrong way or cooking it for too long.
If I could only pick one way to cook a steak, it would be frying it in a pan. If done correctly, it’s the perfect way to sear the outside whilst locking in the flavour and texture of the inside – it’s the ideal definition of a ‘juicy steak.’
That’s not to say that other methods for cooking steak are wrong or produce an inferior taste – read on to discover all the different ways to cook a steak.
Top Tips For Cooking The Perfect Steak
Before we get into the various methods for cooking steak, let’s briefly go through the basic steps and tips which apply no matter which one you choose.
- Take the steak from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes. This is a crucial step. If you add chilled steak to a searing hot pan or grill, it will affect the taste, and you’ll risk stewing it.
- Use the right oil for steak. The best oil to use for steak (when frying it) is one that has a high smoking point. Part of getting the perfect seared and smoky steak exterior is cooking it at a really high temperature so you will need an oil that can cope with this. Suggested oils include sunflower oil, vegetable oil, groundnut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, almond oil etc.
- Season the steak. Rub some oil all over the steak before adding some steak seasoning. You can use a premade seasoning from the supermarket or make your steak seasoning at home. The seasoning for your steak can be as simple as a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Know your cooking times. Before you add your steak to the pan, oven or preferred cooking appliance, make sure you know how long it should be cooked for. Chances are, if you are cooking for more than just yourself, this will mean different cooking times for other people.
- Don’t pierce a steak to check if it is done – all the juices will escape! Use a spatula to press down on the steak to see how firm it is.
- Factor in resting time. Most meats benefit from being given a resting time before serving, and steak is no exception. Either place each steak on a warm plate or cover them in foil, but don’t wrap the foil tightly around it; create a more tent, loosely fitted foil covering.
The resting time is often the perfect time to make a steak sauce to pour over it!
How To Cook Steak In A Pan
The secret to a perfectly cooked steak in a pan is making sure the pan is super hot – like smoking hot!
The best type of frying pan is a thick based heavy one; the bigger, the better, especially if you are cooking more than one steak at a time.
The benefit of these types of pans is that they can heat up to a high temperature and keep that heat, enabling you to sear the steak to perfection!
- Rub oil on both sides of the room temperature steak.
- If you are using seasoning, rub this in now.
- Heat the frying pan up to a high heat, until it is smoking. You don’t need to add any extra oil to the frying pan, there should be enough on the steak (from step 1) to prevent it from sticking.
- Add your steak, or steaks, to the pan – if you are adding more than one steak at a time make sure they have enough room. Make sure the steak is in the middle of the pan where possible, so that it is on the metal base of the pan.
- Leave the steak to cook on one side for at least one minute without turning it or moving it – then turn it over with some tongs and let it cook for a further minute on the other side. Continue to do this for your desired length of time depending on how you like your steak cooked. For a typical 2cm thick steak allow 3 minutes on each side for a rare steak, 4 minutes on each side for a medium and 5 to 6 minutes for a well done steak.
- When the steak is cooked for your desired length of time, remove it from the pan with the tongs and place it on a warm plate to rest for at least 5 minutes. If you have multiple steaks to cook, you might want to loosely cover them with some foil (don’t wrap them tightly).
How To Grill Steak
- Heat the grill up on maximum temperature for at least 10 minutes.
- Optionally rub some oil on each side of the steak and season it according to your tastes.
- Place the steak on the grill and cook for similar times as above (3 minutes on each side for a rare steak, 4 minutes on each side for a medium steak and 5 to 6 minutes on each side for a well done steak).
- Remove the steak from the grill and leave it to rest for at least 5 minutes.
How To Cook Steak In The Oven
Cooking steak in the oven is another alternative to frying and grilling. However, don’t put away the pan just yet, searing the steak on a high heat on the hob is recommended to get that tasty caramelised exterior we all love! You can also cook the steak in the pan in the oven – as long as it can withstand the high heat of an oven, use either a cast iron skillet pan or a dutch oven.
- Bring the steak to room temperature by removing it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you intend to cook it.
- Preheat the oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8 (the oven needs to be really hot!) and place the pan in the oven (make sure it is ovenproof!) You can alternatively heat the pan up on a high heat on the hob – but make sure it is really hot.
- Rub some oil on each side of the steak and then season with salt and pepper (or your choice of seasoning).
- Once the oven has heated up, carefully remove the pan (use oven gloves) and place it on the stove and turn the heat up. Straightaway, add the steak and leave it to cook for 1 minute, turning over once at the 30 second mark with some tongs.
- Return the pan to the hot oven and cook for your desired length For a typical 2cm thick steak allow 3 minutes on each side for a rare steak, 4 minutes on each side for a medium and 5 to 6 minutes for a well done steak.
- Leave the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes while you optionally prepare some sauce to pour over the top.
Air Fryer Steak
Air fryer steak is a great way to cook in a more hands off way. You still need to flip the steak over halfway through but it’s not the same as using a pan where you need to stand next to it all the time.
You can also get away with using less oil than you would with a pan. I do still like to brush a little oil on the steak to add moisture and flavour.
Like the other cooking methods for steak, don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Depending on the size you might need to batch cook them.
When it’s BBQ season nothing quite beats the smell in the air of a juicy steak cooking over charcoal. You can of course use a gas BBQ too but there is something more authentic about a charcoal BBQ.
You will prepare your steak in the same way as you would for all the other methods.
- Bring the steak out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature at least 30 minutes beforehand.
- Season the steak according to your tastes. You could even add a BBQ marinade.
- Brush some oil over the metal grates on the grill of your BBQ and heat it up until it is as hot as it can get – as with other methods, the hotter the better for steak.
- Place the steaks on the grill, allowing enough space between them. Cook them according to your own preferences – use some BBQ tongs to turn the steak over halfway through. You only need to turn the steak once. For a typical 2cm thick steak allow 3 minutes on each side for a rare steak, 4 minutes on each side for a medium and 5 to 6 minutes for a well done steak.
- Leave the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.