Cooking School

8 tips for cooking the perfect steak

By: Irene Fong and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Photography by Jeff Coulson Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson

Cooking School

8 tips for cooking the perfect steak

By: Irene Fong and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
1. Vacuum-sealed steaks stay fresh longer
They can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to nine months without the risk of freezer burn. Don't worry if the colour of shrink-wrapped steak is darker than you're used to—once it's exposed to air, it returns to its natural bright red colour.

2. Leave steak in the fridge just until you're ready to cook
There's no benefit to bringing steak to room temperature before cooking. It's best to keep the meat chilled until you're ready to grill to prevent food-borne illness.

3. Pat steaks dry with paper towel before seasoning and cooking
This helps the meat develop a nice brown crust and well-defined grill marks.

4. Prick marinating steaks all over with a fork before they marinate
This breaks down and disrupts the tough muscle fibres, making the meat easier to chew. Food-safety note: Pierced steaks should be cooked to at least 145°F (63°C).

5. Let cooked steaks rest on a wire rack
This lifts them away from run-off juices, preserving the crust.

6. If you don't see the thickness you want, buy a whole roast  
Ask your butcher to slice it or divvy the roast into steaks yourself.

7. If you tend to overcook steak, choose thicker cuts
It takes longer for the centres to cook through, making them less likely to overcook.

8. Choose the right thickness
If cooking to medium-rare or rare, choose steaks that are at least 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick to prevent overcooking. If cooking to medium-well or well, go for steaks that are thinner than 3/4 inch (2 cm).

Delicious steak recipes to try tonight:

Argentinian-Style Grilled Steak and Carrots
This steak is topped with a flavourful herb mixture, inspired by Argentinian chimichurri, that is also a nice accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. If you don't have flank steak, substitute your favourite grilling steak. Cover and refrigerate any leftover chimichurri for up to three days.

aregentinia steak

Steak Florentine

A thick-cut T-bone or porterhouse works best for this Italian-style steak. Standing it up on the base of the T-bone heats up the bone, which helps cook this extra-thick cut through to the centre. The tenderloin piece cooks faster than the strip loin, so serve it to the people who prefer their steak a bit more done.

steak florentine
Classic Marinated Flank Steak

Flank steak is a great option for serving a large crowd because you cook it whole, meaning there's only one steak to turn on the grill, rather than several. Balsamic vinegar adds bold flavour to the marinade. For a subtler taste, opt for a light-to-medium-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Merlot, instead.

classic flank steak

Steakhouse Rib Eye with Bearnaise
In The Test Kitchen, we cook rib eyes to medium-rare—just enough to render some of the fat but not enough to toughen the meat. This béarnaise recipe yields a full cup; leftovers don't keep well in the fridge, so if you're serving a smaller crowd that won't need all of the sauce, consider substituting with our Shallotand-Herb Compound Butter.
rib eye bernaise

Photography by Jeff Coulson

Check out our ultimate guide for choosing the best steak cut.

This story was originally part of "Raising The Steaks" in the June 2015 issue.
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Cooking School

8 tips for cooking the perfect steak