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My first steak

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok guys... I just cooked my first steak. Not sure what kind of cut it was, it was beef, it was a squarish cut, about 8 inches long, 1/2" thick, and it was very soft - USDA Choice.

I was attempting to cook it medium rare... lets just say I failed. I cooked it on the stove in a frying pan, which is my method. I melted some butter and put it on both sides of the steak, added a little salt/pepper along with some individual packaged steak seasonings from Goya.

Since it was 1/2" thick, I put the grill on high heat, and cooked the first side I put down for 4 minutes exactly, I then flipped it and cooked the other side for 3 minutes exactly. Placed it on the plate and waited about 5 minutes, they say the meat is still cooking. (I did both sides the entire time on high heat)

Anyhow when I cut into it... I would say it was between a Medium/Medium Well. Only a very slim sliver amount of pink in certain areas. I failed my medium rare horribly. Anyhow I cut into it and tasted it, it was delicious so it wasnt a complete failure.

Can someone give me a tip on how long to cook the steak depending on the errr? height? of the steak.

Thanks!
post #2 of 13
USDA Choice includes a wide range of variables but (even though it has less marbling than Prime cuts) it's usually high quality and, for the sake of argument, let's agree that the cut of meat was good.
Choice cuts are intended for dry heat cooking but the cuts that are from parts of the beef that get a lot of exercise (blade cuts, round, etc.) will be tough if you over cook them.
First, ONLY season the meat. You made a mistake coating it with butter. Butter has about fifteen percent water content. That's not dry cooking.
Second, you obviously cooked it too long. Medium rare means an internal temperature of about 145 degrees. Cooking a 1/2 inch thick piece of beef three to four minutes per side is too long - I'd guess your internal temperature was something closer to 170 degrees. That's pushing well done.
I would suggest that you try to find steaks that are at least an inch thick. If your steak was an inch in "height" your cooking time/method would have worked better. Even so, if you're cooking an inch thick steak, season it and let it rest for fifteen to twenty minutes to allow the salt to balance the moisture. Then, drop it into a "smokin' hot" cast iron skillet (or equivalent) and DON'T TOUCH IT FOR three minutes. Use your tongs to turn it over for another three minutes on the opposite side. Pop the pan into a 350 degree preheated oven for about five minutes. That should come pretty close to medium rare. However, use a meat thermometer to check the temp. and continue to use the term. until you get enough experience to judge time/temperature coordination.
If you want the flavor of butter on your steak (and who wouldn't) drop a pat of butter on it just before serving. Yummmm
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My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
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post #3 of 13
If you want dry cooking you can also cook the steak in brown butter mixed with oil so you don't get too many of the burned milk solid compounds in your food.

Another way of determining steak doneness is to press it with your fingers. Different cuts of steak will feel different when you press it at different doneness, I find that a catchall guideline for doing so to be inaccurate. Tenderloins will feel different at medium than a striploin will feel at medium compared to a ribeye done at medium. The key to that is the more resilient the meat feels the more well done it is... constant practice will get you to the point where you will be getting it right without stabbing or slashing the meat.

As for times, if you are cooking just a half-inch thick steak two minutes or so a side should be more than adequate for rare/medium rare. As said above, such times are more appropriate for inch-thick to inch and a half thick steaks.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok so a 1 inch steak for medium rare would be good on 4/3 mins? Meaning 4 minutes on the first side, 3 on the turnover? I'll go off that guide then. So for a 1/2" I should do 3/2 mins approx.

Where can I get a meat thermometer, and what tempature do I go by? If medium rare should be at 145, then at what temp should I do my first flip of the steak?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh yea as far as the cut, it was pretty good I must say. It had alot of marbling and it was extremely tender, I liked it, even though I overcooked to my taste. It wasnt well done though, more like medium well. Still very juicy and flavorful.
post #6 of 13
For flipping, just flip when you get a nice dark brown crust on one side. You can then let the meat rest when the centre goes up to the desired temperature.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #7 of 13
Did it look like this? This is a New York Strip steak.

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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
No it didnt look like that, I have some of those though. It was more of a rectangular cut, a darker red than the strip, and was pretty marbled.
post #9 of 13
A flat iron steak?
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post #10 of 13
"what tempature do I go by? " for medium rare you want 125, keep in mind the steak will go up a few degrees after pulling from fire so pull about 120 -122.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 13
Um - does anyone really use a thermometer on steaks? It seems impractical.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #12 of 13
A thermometer is extremely valuable. At work, I have one in my pocket at all times. It most definitely is a vital part of my professional tool kit. I wouldn't consider working without it. I use it to keep the health inspector happy. Do I use it on steaks, nah, never. Too impractical.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 13
Stick it in from the thin edge of the meat. And they work great even on thin cuts like steak. Yes, I do occasionally do such a thing, more often with chicken cutlets though.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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