One thing to make clear right away: there isn’t one perfect way to cook a steak. Different cuts and sizes of steak with varying degrees of marbling and fatty edges make a one-size-fits-all solution to this meatiest of questions pretty much impossible.
How to cook the perfect steak
You’ll find heaps of complex and contradictory advice out there about how to cook the steak to beat all steaks. Jamie Oliver recommends creating a herb brush from woody herbs tied to a wooden spoon to dust enthusiastically over your sizzling steak, Harold McGee swears by wrapping the meat in clingfilm and submerging in hot water to get the meat warm before cooking…
Chef Flo has brought it back to basics with a foolproof approach to steak which will have you cooking perfectly sealed steak that’s deliciously tender. She’s used sirloin for it’s lovely marbled meat, but the method is broad enough that you can adjust and apply it to other cuts as well. Check out the video below, or scroll down to see the steps for the easy way to cook an incredible steak.
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Cooking Sirloin Steak
First, it’s important to allow your steak to reach room temperature before cooking. Take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you’re planning to cook. As an added bonus, the longer you leave it out the more it will start to dry out, which helps it to create a good seal in the pan, trapping in all the meaty moisture.
Rub your steak on both sides with oil, making sure each side is fully covered. Try to use oil with a high smoke point instead of olive oil; we’d suggest vegetable oil, groundnut oil or rice bran oil, all of which have a nice high smoke point.Once you’ve oiled your steak, sprinkle some good chunky salt on both sides. It’s worth adding a big pinch on each side – more than you’d usually use in cooking – so that you can see the crystals on the surface of the steak. We don’t worry about pepper, as we’ll be cooking at a high temperature and pepper can burn in this sort of heat.
Bring a dry (unoiled) pan to a super high heat – the higher the heat, the better the seal and the more tender you’re cooked steak will be. Add your steak to the pan allow it to seal on one side for 1-2 minutes before turning. Judge the time from sight – you can always lift up and edge with tongs to see how it’s cooking underneath if you need to!
Flip the steak and cook on the other side. If it needs to cook for a little bit longer, give it a bit of extra time on both sides, but try to keep the total time on each side more or less even.
Once your steak is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate (rather than a flat surface like a chopping board) and cover it with a clean tea towel. Leave your steak to rest like this for as long as you were cooking it in the pan – so this will vary according to how thick your steak is.
Resting your steak will allow the juices to gather – these can make an delicious dressing, or can be mixed with a bit of butter and herbs and poured back over the steak for a rich, decadent finish.
Finally, dig in! I like my steak medium-rare, but you can always vary cooking (and resting!) times for different results.
Another lovely, healthy and lean steak cut is ‘minute steak‘ – it’s thin and flat and only takes a minute to cook – as the name suggests!