Oh yes, we’re carnivores and proud of it. There’s nothing we like better than slicing into a perfectly cooked steak (Ok, there are a few things we like better, but great steaks are definitely in our top 10). But making sure you get your meat cooked just the way you love it is a challenge. And while going out for a luxe steak dinner is a treat, when we grill it up at home we’re in for a double bonus. There’s that tingly sense of achievement plus unlimited glasses of red wine without worrying about how to get home.
How do you make sure your steak is resto-worthy? We asked the expert: XXI Chophouse Executive Chef & Steak Connoisseur Sam Khalil. Bookmark these tips. They’ll serve you—and everyone around your table—well.
So step aside, guys. We’re taking over the BBQ. Be ready, though. You’re on clean-up duty.
5 STEPS TO GRILLING THE PERFECT STEAK
Step 1: Choose the right piece of meat. The first step to perfection is to look for a steak with a fine texture and a firm touch. You want your steak to be a light, cherry red colour with lots of marbling. Marbling refers to the white streaks of fat that can be seen within the lean part of the meat. Not only does marbling add a ton of flavour, it’s also one of the main criteria for judging the quality of a steak.
Step 2: Mind your temperature. Before cooking or grilling, always let your steak come to room temperature. This is to ensure that it won’t toughen when it hits the heat and that’s bound to happen if the meat is too cold.
Step 3: Get the Right Heat, Hottie. Using dry heat is the best way to cook a great steak. That’s because dry heat cooking causes caramelization, which gives steak that mouthwatering rich flavour and brown colour. In this process, the sugars inherent in the meat go through a series of complex reactions called the Maillard Reaction.
Sear your steak in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. This should take approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side depending on your taste. Until you learn to judge the doneness of your steak by touching it, using a meat thermometer is a foolproof way to achieve cooking perfection.
Simply follow these temperature guides:
Rare — 120º F
Medium Rare — 125º F
Medium — 130º F
Medium Well — 135º F
Well — 140º F
Step 4: Naptime! Once it’s cooked to your liking, remove the steak from the pan, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Step 5: Season. Don’t forget to salt and pepper your steak after it’s cooked and has rested—never before cooking. Salt brings moisture to the surface of the steak, which prevents delicious caramelization!
Tips provided by by Chef Sam Khalil, Executive Chef at The Doctor’s House and XXI Chophouse, Kleinburg, Ontario