Have you ever rushed home with your favourite steak, excited to throw it on the grill, only to be disappointed with the end results? If so, you may have made one (or more) of these 6 common steak-grilling mistakes. Read on and bring yourself one step closer to the perfect steak!
No Salt or Pepper
When it comes to seasoning your steak, we recommend that you use a generous amount of salt (coarse granules that are the perfect size for your fingertips). Steak is quite thick (about 3 centimetres ideally), and since you are only seasoning the surface, a significant portion of the meat (the interior) has no salt on it. Which is why beef loves salt and salt loves beef.
When you season the steak, sprinkle both sides (and the edges) with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just before cooking, brush the steak with oil.
Grill Isn’t Hot Enough
To cook a perfect steak, your pan needs to be sizzling hot. High heat cooks steak faster, and the less time your steak spends on the grill, the more tender it will be. You also want high heat so that you can kick-start the Maillard reaction – the chemical reaction responsible for creating a flavoursome brown crust on the exterior of the steak – and the faster the surface of a steak browns, the less time the interior has to overcook. If you are using a gas grill, you should be able to adjust the temperature with a dial. An easy way to test the temperature is by using your hand (no, don’t touch it) – hold your hand about 8cms from the grate of the grill – you shouldn’t be able to hold it there comfortably for more than 2 seconds (“one-hippopotamus, two-hippopotamus”).
Another similar point – don’t cook steak straight from the fridge. Best if the steak is at room temperature so if you like your steak medium or rare it will be nicely seared on the outside but not cold on the inside.
You’ve Stabbed It
Don’t pierce the steak to check if it’s done. Stabbing or piercing the steak will cause all the juiciness and flavour to leak out and leave you with a dry and flavourless steak! Here’s a graphic that shows how to tell if a steak is done without puncturing it.
You’ve Overcooked It
Most chefs and steak-lovers agree that cooking steak past medium is a grave mistake. The commonly accepted ‘ideal’ level of doneness is medium rare. The interior of a medium rare steak will be mostly pink with a little red in the centre. Medium rare doneness provides maximum tenderness and juiciness whilst ensuring that the centre of the steak is hot (as opposed to cold, like it is with ‘Blue’ steak).
Want to know more? Check out Well Done Steak… What’s the Big Deal?
You Didn’t Let it Rest
‘Resting’ is letting the steak sit for a few minutes between taking it off the grill and eating it. This is an important step in the steak-making process as it ensures you get to eat a succulent, juicy steak. Why do you need to rest steak? Because when you grill a cut of beef, the cells contract and the juices rush into the centre of the steak. If you cut into it straight away, all those juices will spill out onto your cutting board. If you let the steak rest for 5 minutes, those cells will resume their former shape and the juices will redistribute throughout the cut.
You’ve Chosen the Wrong Steak
There are so many different cuts of steak out there, it can be hard to decide which cut to choose when you want a tender steak dinner. Just some of the steaks you can try include rump, eye fillet, sirloin, scotch fillet, oyster blade and t-bone.
You can read more about these steaks here.