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My favorite animal is steak
October 28, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe


 


Guess we're having steak tonight.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2009


Looks tasty, but the best way to cook prime rib is not the best way to cook a steak and vice-versa.

Also, this probably should have just been added to the Natalie Portman meat=rape thread.
posted by bondcliff at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Natalie Portman isn't having steak tonight.
posted by ericb at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


bondcliff, jinx. You owe me a Coke!
posted by ericb at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2009


If it doesn't moo when I stick my fork into it, then it's overcooked.
posted by wcfields at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


"the Maillard reaction"
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on October 28, 2009


This may well be the best way to cook a 28 ounce ribeye. For normal size ribeye you want the method schoolgirl report linked to.
posted by IanMorr at 11:46 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... in a pan then, you're saying? Huh. Wouldn't have thought of that.
posted by rusty at 11:47 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is one seriously nice looking piece of meat even before he gets started.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I'm gonna want the milk steak, boiled over hard with a side of your finest jelly beans, raw… Please be sure the waiter covers his knees before presenting, thank you."
posted by matimer at 11:52 AM on October 28, 2009 [34 favorites]


Also, this probably should have just been added to the Natalie Portman meat=rape thread.

Somewhere in bizarro-world they're talking about the best way to rape a steak.
posted by mhoye at 11:52 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Slow cooking is the best way to cook meats where the fat is not interspersed with the muscle - like bison. Here's a two-part example of a slow roast bison, as well as the reasons behind the roast.

In general,
All meat contains enzymes called cathepsins, which can break collagen down into gelatin. According to Harold McGee, cathepsins are inactivated at temperatures above 122ºF/50ºC. This is why slow roasting works; it maximizes the amount of time the meat spends under 122ºF, thus allowing the cathepsins and other enzymes to work their biochemical magic on the meat's connective tissue.

When slow roasting lean cuts of beef or game the goal is to walk the internal temperature of the meat up quite slowly to the target temperature (I go for 135º F), keeping it under 122ºF for as long as possible. For the sake of safety and texture, beef is usually cooked to about 130-140ºF (rare to medium rare).
I'm not sure if it matters as much when the fat and meat are together, but that slow-cooked steak sure looks delicious.
posted by scrutiny at 11:52 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.
posted by rocket88 at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Despite being generally discerning, Mrs. HotBot likes her steak well done which looks like it would take about a day and a half with this method.
posted by shothotbot at 11:55 AM on October 28, 2009


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.

ie, people who live in apartments?
posted by shothotbot at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


If it doesn't moo when I stick my fork into it, then it's overcooked.
I'm with you!! I like to hear a heartbeat when they set my plate o'steak down in front of me.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll have the milk steak, boiled over-hard, and a side of your finest jelly beans, raw.
posted by pwally at 12:01 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't seem to dig up a good link, but Fat Duck's Heston Blumenthal had a tv show where he cooks a steak for 24 hours.
posted by juv3nal at 12:01 PM on October 28, 2009


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.

ie, people who live in apartments?


I've lived in apartments for 7 years and never heard of cooking a steak in a pan.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:03 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.

Excuse me?
posted by greasy_skillet at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE
posted by permafrost at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


That is way too rare-looking for me. Ugh.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2009


Here we are talking about cooking dead cow and someone starts talking about ducks. I guess the mallard reaction to getting his butt stuck in a medium hot cast iron pan would be to quack up.
posted by Man with Lantern at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2009


That is way too rare-looking for me. Ugh.

This is why we tell aliens apart of humans.
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on October 28, 2009


how we.

Tpyos too. Only humans make typos.
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on October 28, 2009


Can we please derail this thread into a meat-is-murder debate?

Thanks.
posted by jeremy b at 12:09 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine once slow-cooked trout in a manure pile once. If this method works for trout à la merde, it may well result in the most delicious steak ever.

Cooking the flesh of an animal in its own waste must qualify for some sort of subset of irony, too.
posted by Shepherd at 12:09 PM on October 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


Previously--how to cook a steak ala Toulouse-Lautrec.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:09 PM on October 28, 2009


Jeez, that steak is half fat. To someone raised outside the US meat culture it seems kind of disgusting -- I wouldn't call it seriously nice at all, I'd call it riddled with fat. There is no way you could start off a grass-fed steak in a dry pan that way because there wouldn't be enough marbling to grease the pan.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:09 PM on October 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


The eGullet people can definitely overthink a plate of beans much better than we can.
posted by Miko at 12:10 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.

Them's fightin' words, pardner.
posted by threetoed at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


someone starts talking about ducks.

Whelk's Never Fail Roast Duck

Step one: Get a duck. (like, without beaks and feathers or a head)

Step Two: Remove giblets. You are not making gravy don't you lie to me.

Step Three: Just the kind of big, deep oven pan with a rack on stop.

Step Four: Heat the oven to 175

Step Five. you STAB THAT DUCK. Stab it all over, mostly in the fatty areas.

Step Six: Put duck in oven

Step Seven: Wait three hours. Rotate duck Wait two hours.

Step Eight: Put duck right nice up. Pour on a mixture of honey and soy sauce, turn heat up to 375

Step Nine: Wait another hour. Make some long grain and wild rise, maybe sprinkle in rasions or shit.

Step Ten: Remove duck, split down side, serve half on a plate.

Step 11: Eat that fucking duck oh my god it is so good.

Step 12: Save all the fat you collected in the pan. Use it everything from now on. When you run down on duck fat, buy another duck. Repeat.
posted by The Whelk at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2009 [149 favorites]


If you serve me a rib steak with the rib removed I cut one from your spurting chest.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:17 PM on October 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


joe's spleen, with regards to, ribeyes the marbling is a feature, not a bug. Precisely why ribeyes are both expensive and delicious.
posted by HyperBlue at 12:17 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to grill on my balcony but after watching enough Food Network and observing how steaks were prepared using a pan and an oven, I gave that a try.

I now prefer using a pan and an oven. It saves me the trouble of a grill on my balcony that requires subterfuge from the management, and more importantly, I prefer the taste. So does the wife.

But I still prefer carne asada and sausages prepared on the grill.

Not everything is a nail and I don't just own a hammer.
posted by linux at 12:17 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The local costco has prime ribeye. Mmm...
posted by and for no one at 12:18 PM on October 28, 2009


needs, more, commas,.
posted by HyperBlue at 12:18 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've lived in apartments for 7 years and never heard of cooking a steak in a pan.

Where do you cook your steak? In the broiler?
posted by shothotbot at 12:19 PM on October 28, 2009


Can we please derail this thread into a meat-is-murder debate?

"Meat is Murder" was not as good as "The Smiths". Though What She Said is a damn fine song.
posted by everichon at 12:22 PM on October 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


That is way too rare-looking for me. Ugh.

And I got to the last pictures and thought, whoa, that is waaaaay overdone. Who would waste a perfectly good piece of meat like that?

For what it's worth, controlling the heat on a grill to properly and consistently cook steaks is a pain in the tuchus. I subscribe fully to Alton Brown's stovetop-to-broiler method, and it never fails.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:22 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I used to grill on my balcony but after watching enough Food Network and observing how steaks were prepared using a pan and an oven, I gave that a try.

Yeah, I quite like Alton Brown's method. As much as I love standing over a scorching BBQ with a beer in hand watching steaks cook, I find the cast iron pan method gives much more consistent results. Also, I can do it when it's -40 with windchill outside.
posted by threetoed at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2009


For what it's worth, controlling the heat on a grill to properly and consistently cook steaks is a pain in the tuchus.

This.
posted by threetoed at 12:24 PM on October 28, 2009


Garnish with simvastatin and parsley, and serve. Serves 8.
posted by gimonca at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, my typo load is becoming epic today. I should enter a contest or some shit.
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2009


I recently tried a method where you cook the steak gently the oven first to bring the internal temperature up to about 90 and then brown the surfaces of the steak in a hot skillet.

It works very well.
posted by device55 at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do a variation on the Schoolgirl Report Alton Brown link, and it's delicious--I got the recipe from a Wall St. Journal lifestyle piece about dry aged steaks (very nice). In that version, you heat the oven to 500F, and then put 2 tbs of canola oil into a hot cast iron pan; when the oil is very hot, you put the steak in for 2 minutes per side, and then into the oven for, say, 2-3 minutes, but don't flip it. Then it sits in a foil tent for 5 minutes or so. As I write this, the Alton Brown method does seem to have some advantages, so I'll give that variation a try. The FPP link looks good too, so I think science demands I put it to the test, too.

And can we finally please stop with the "That is all." business? While I concede it's droll enough when Hodgman does it, it seems played out otherwise.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2009


Save all the fat you collected in the pan. Use it everything from now on.

I usually cook duck once a week, seeing as I have such an unmanageable mane and bear grease is pretty hard to come by these days. See, my unruly hair will be tamed with nothing less than the finest grease.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I work on my own car. Occasionally I have to work on my brakes, anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not a meticulous or neat person, but when I work on the brakes, the area around my car is like an operating room, clean, well, laid out and has everything I need is immediately at hand. Why? My brakes are the single most important moving part on my car, as far as I'm concerned, and they will be done the One Right Way. The rest of my car? Held together with zip ties and duct tape, coated with WD-40, but the brakes, spotless and in spec.

I'm going to go home and cook a steak I got at Piggly-Wiggly tonight, and you can bet I'm not doing it this way, because I'll be starving, and it's a slab of supermarket steak. But when I go to my butcher and get an awesome hunk of beef that merely holding it in my hands makes me feel basic caveman urges in the forgotten part of my primitive brain, you can bet I'm gonna do it up like this dancing and hooting all the while. Why? Because every so often it's fun as hell to pretend that a steak is super-important and needs to be done the one right way.

Food is fun, but obsessing over food, constantly, is little weird.

(Bah! Or basically what Miko said much more succinctly...)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:30 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Where do you cook your steak? In the broiler?

Yup.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2009


no way you could start off a grass-fed steak in a dry pan that way because there wouldn't be enough marbling to grease the pan

Actually, the whole reason to eat grass-fed beef is because of the fat. Grass fed cow fat is much healthier to consume than grain-fed, or even grain-finished, fat. If all you're doing is eating the lean part of the meat then you're wasting your money buying grass-fed beef. Buy grain fed and don't eat the fat. The muscle will be the same.
posted by scrutiny at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


See, my unruly hair will be tamed with nothing less than the finest grease.

I demand pictures.
posted by scrutiny at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2009


Here is the Alton Brown recipe.
posted by bearwife at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


And can we finally please stop with the "That is all." business? While I concede it's droll enough when Hodgman does it, it seems played out otherwise.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:29 PM on October 28


That's certainly some tough talk coming from a fish.
posted by grubi at 12:37 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was just in Argentina and they grill beef far more slowly than we would here in the north, so different technique, same principle. Interesting. We are a more is better society, more heat, more brown, more everything.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:39 PM on October 28, 2009


I've lived in apartments for 7 years and never heard of cooking a steak in a pan.

A good pan seared steak is one of the good things in life. It is not to be missed. Try the Alton Brown recipe linked above. Or Mark Bittman's method in How To Cook Everything. Anyone who poo-poohs pan seared steak has a few things to learn about steak.
posted by The World Famous at 12:40 PM on October 28, 2009


Put duck right nice up.

I am in love with this sentence.
posted by grubi at 12:40 PM on October 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


And Alton's technique is pretty much how everyone has cooked steaks since steaks were invented, or ovens and cast iron pans at least.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:41 PM on October 28, 2009


"this is great!" "yeah, stu certainly knows how to dismember an animal and then burn it."
posted by rainperimeter at 12:42 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hot beefy mama! That is a sexy looking bit of meat.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:43 PM on October 28, 2009


I watched some cooking show, and the dude took a steak slathered in mustard, put it between two other steaks, burned the crap out of one side, flipped it, burned the crap out of that side, took the center steak out and ate it.

I was mortified by the waste, but I also land in the camp of people that think you can't overcook a steak, so the charred ones looked tastier to me.

I don't eat red meat anymore regardless, but only because Natalie Portman doesn't.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:44 PM on October 28, 2009


Can't go wrong with the classic recipe.
posted by Someone has just shot your horse! at 12:44 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


A real steak snob knows damn well that cooking a steak in a fucking pan is a perfectly cromulent way of cooking a fucking steak AS LONG AS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Any asshole can cook a perfectly fine steak on a grill. All you people saying steak should NEVER be cooked in a pan have no fucking idea what you're talking about.
posted by vito90 at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


I've lived in apartments for 7 years and never heard of cooking a steak in a pan.

You use the two-stage blender-microwave method too? I thought I was the only one.
posted by dersins at 12:53 PM on October 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


That's certainly some tough talk coming from a fish.
posted by grubi at 3:37 PM on October 28

I would point out that a fish probably would be feeling pretty good in this beefy thread. But, I hasten to add, I am not a fish, I am a high-ranking Belgian comic character.

And to venture back on topic, per Vito, I had a lot of bad steaks at home growing up, and I generally abhor the idea of eating steak cooked at home by someone who doesn't know what they're doing. But the variations on the Alton Brown method are really sure to please, and I hope to find the same result with the version posted by the OP.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:54 PM on October 28, 2009


I use device55's method, after having seen it on Cooks Illustrated--something about enzymes and such mimicking dry aging. And cjorgensen, I linked to the post about the method you describe (and rewatched the video today)--nasty looking!
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2009


but I also land in the camp of people that think you can't overcook a steak

That would be Camp Crazy McRuins-a-Steak?
posted by bondcliff at 12:57 PM on October 28, 2009 [22 favorites]


Ain't nothing wrong with cooking steak in a pan.

I prefer a broiler, because it's basically an upside-down grill. But I'm steak versatile.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just as long as you tenderize your steak properly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:01 PM on October 28, 2009


That would be Camp Crazy McRuins-a-Steak?

Man, I *hated* that camp. You'd chew lunch all day.
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Putting that much salt on a piece of meat just demonstrates that no matter how much this guy postures, he's not really interested in flavor.

I put my steak on a freaking hot grill, then put the cover on for five minutes. I pull it off, let the coals come back up, rotate the steak 90 degrees the steak, and close it for the remnant of another five minutes. Open, flip, let the coals come back up, close for five, open, turn, let the coals come back, close for what's left of five. Then I test for doneness (push on the surface) and decide whether a minute or two more is called for.

My grill has kind of poor circulation, so only the coals below the cover vent get enough air to stay lit, so I rotate the cover maybe 90 degrees every minute or so to keep the fire even, otherwise the meat nearest the vent gets overcooked.

I find that covering the grill lets the meat cook through without burning. Leaving it open results in an overcooked surface with a cold center.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2009


Steak au poivre. My favorite way to cook steak in a pan.

And the sauce makes a delicious gravy to go with mashed potatoes.
posted by anarchomonarchist at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I prefer a broiler

When I start the steak in the broiler it just comes out gray. What am I doing wrong?
posted by shothotbot at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2009


rocket88: "People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat."

I might have agreed with this once, but it was before I tried doing steak in a skillet. Now I'll actually carry a skillet out and put it down on the grill grate when I want to cook outside. It just allows for a lot more control and less unintentional burning than my (admittedly very uneven) gas grill.

If you're a fan of char, I guess I can see how a skillet-cooked steak wouldn't be to your liking, but I'm with Ducasse on the anti-char / pro-browning side of things. It also allows for the creation of really delicious pan sauces, which can make a marginal piece of meat palatable and a quality one exceptional.

To use the Ducasse method on a less-marbled piece of meat (e.g. anything free-ranging and grass-fed, which is what I prefer, but also a conventionally-farmed tenderloin, which is probably easier to get in the necessary thickness than ribeye), I'd imagine you could just toss in some high-heat cooking oil to use while browning the sides before you add the butter. I've seen some recipes that call for brushing a lean piece of meat with oil before cooking according to similar methods. (Lard would be the most obvious replacement, but most lard you get in a store has been processed to remove any flavor, so I don't see the point of it. If you could get a bit of suet from a farmer's market that would probably be optimal.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2009


Jeez, that steak is half fat.

Google "well-marbled steak" or: "steak" [and] "marbling".


People who cook quality steaks in a pan don't deserve to eat meat.

And you should google "Alain Ducasse". Yeah, he knows a little more about cooking than you.
posted by Zambrano at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was just in Argentina and they grill beef far more slowly than we would here in the north, so different technique, same principle.

The Argentines like their steaks a little better done than is my taste, but damn are they delicious. Also, you have to love a country where The Palace of French Fries is a white tablecloth restaurant.

Also, the parilla is a little surprising the first time you see it.
posted by electroboy at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2009


Also? I feel I should also say also a few more times, also.
posted by electroboy at 1:15 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was just in Argentina and they grill beef far more slowly than we would here in the north, so different technique, same principle. Interesting. We are a more is better society, more heat, more brown, more everything.

Sweet mother of Preston Tucker, does everything have to turn into "US suxx0rz"? Have you perhaps heard of a thing called barbecue?
posted by kmz at 1:15 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't know about the featured link's method, but this definitely works.
posted by ignignokt at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2009


The best way to cook a steak is to go to Peter Luger's.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


My family and I agreed a long time ago to never argue politics, religion, or how to cook a steak. My father is a chef, worked as a food service supervisor, and teaches cooking. My brother is a butcher, and has a fine understanding of every kind of meat. Me, I'm an opinionated fuck with a science background and a gigantic wood-fired side-box smoker.

People who care about how they cook meat (and steaks in particular) tend to care very much and often to the detriment of the conversation. I learned a long time ago, though, that steak cooked over fire, while smoky and tasty, is not nearly as good as steak cooked with precision over controlled heat sources. Sure, I'll grill a steak, but if I want a "perfect" medium rare steak, I have to use a pan, an oven, and a lot of careful timing.

My brother is a fire-and-wood guy when it comes to steak; if it ain't grilled then the terrorists won. He refuses to even listen to my explanation about the Maillard reaction and the ways proteins and fats work vs. temperature.

My father cooks steak the same way he learned at a restaurant back in nineteen dickety two: broiler and pan. Sears it, then broils it, using about a pound of butter in the process. Find a steak house, you're likely to see every piece of meat done this way, or in a pizza oven after being in a pan.

All that being said, two nights ago I took a very fine cut of grass fed Texas ribeye, let it sit on the counter until it hit room temperature (about two hours), then seasoned it with salt and pepper and put it into a plastic bag. Tied that off (pushing as much air out as possible) and placed it in a bath of water that I kept at precisely 140 degrees using a combination of gas burners and instant read digital thermometers. I let it sit in the water for 30 minutes, then pulled it out and flashed it for 30 seconds per side in a very hot pan that I'd prepped with butter and olive oil. The result was a perfect steak, as instructed.

I wouldn't do it all the time, mind you, because it was a gigantic pain the ass compared to hot pan + oven, but I have never myself cooked such a fine steak. I told my brother about it. His reaction was like a Pentacostal minister hearing about Darwin, and I was reprimanded for breaking our cardinal rule: never argue about food, politics, or religion.
posted by blixco at 1:26 PM on October 28, 2009 [67 favorites]


cjorgensen what you saw was How to cook steak ala Toulouse. As in Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec the painter. I love this video, and totally art-history-nerd-out about it. The whole idea that Toulouse would get so drunk over the course of cooking these elaborate, bougie feasts, that he'd pass out before dinner was served-- somehow, this just seems so correct to the character of the man.
posted by fontophilic at 1:26 PM on October 28, 2009


People saying steaks should never be pan cooked are incorrect. That is all.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:31 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I start the steak in the broiler it just comes out gray. What am I doing wrong?

My guess is that you're not placing the steak close enough to the broiler's actual heat source at the top of the oven, and you're just baking the steak.

Move the oven rack to the top level, or just one down from the top.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:32 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hold the fuck up, some of the people that claim a steak can't, or is ruined by cooking in a pan above are using GAS GRILLS? WTF? Is it crazy every you know is wrong day? Gas grills are of the devil. And Osama bin Laden.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


For the record, living in Ireland, 100% of our beef is 100% grass-fed, and being American I cook it in a salted pan 100% of the time, and it is 100% delicious.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sheboygan man claimed he was drunk from Jack Daniels steak. Fourth OWI. I guess meat really is murder?
posted by dhartung at 1:42 PM on October 28, 2009


Anyone who says " ____ should never be cooked _____. " should themselves be marinaded and slow-roasted*. There's a shitload of great ways to cook everything. Lots of things taste awesome, not just Your Favorite Method.

Yes, even gas grills have their place, though personally I prefer steak done over hardwood charcoal.


*but never boiled. That's a great way to ruin a nice piece of human.
posted by bondcliff at 1:43 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Take a pound of kosher salt and a steak and some water. Make a salt paste with the water and salt by slowly trickling water into the salt and stirring. The paste should be stiff enough that you can encase the room temperature steak with a quarter inch thick layer of the salt paste which is what you'll do after you have the paste right.

Pan cook but gently handle the salt covered steak until the salt is deeply browned, about the same amount of time that a normal naked steak takes flip and do side B. The salt paste will have mostly solidified.

Let steak rest a minute or two and break all the salt off. You may have to use a heavy utensil to shatter the salt and It'll come off in big chunks. Get rid of all of it from the steak.

Eat.
posted by bz at 1:56 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Echoing blixco here. I've cooked steaks the Alton Brown/restaurant way and sous vide. Sous vide is superior, no question about it.
posted by Tacodog at 2:14 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Precisely how much of a pain is the MacGuyver-style sous vide method, blixco? I wonder if this is worth the investment.
posted by AceRock at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2009


Personally, I'm partial to microwaving steaks for about 5 minutes per pound and then boiling them for about 45 minutes to give them a nice grey color. Serve with ketchup to taste.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2009 [16 favorites]


I've heard good things about sous vide steak - then every time someone tried it on Top Chef it seemed to fail. I'm not sure what that means though...

I like the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen version of putting the steak in the oven first, bringing it up to about 105 and then searing (as mentioned above). This really makes it easier to control the outside sear then the reverse method. Noting as well that Alton Brown once disproved the idea that searing "keeps in the juices" (Myth Smasher's Episode)
posted by bitdamaged at 2:29 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only real pain about home-built sous vide is, well, time and precision. I have a wife who until recently worked in a well equipped lab, and who procured a very precise digital thermometer. That and my hand at the burner for damn near the whole 30 minutes....it wasn't great fun. If you bring the water to temp and keep it there for a while to stabilize, it would probably be better.

But yeah, a precision water bath would be way, way easier.
posted by blixco at 2:30 PM on October 28, 2009


I've used them ziploc vacuumy piston things and vacuum bags you can get at Target for like $5, a digital thermometer with alarm and a closely monitored stovetop. Cooking steaks for 30 minutes is cake compared to cooking stuff overnight. The taste is directly proportional to the hassle, though.

If my crock had a lower setting, I'd use that instead. I believe the lowest it gets is 170 degrees, so my only other option is a large pot of water and temperature vigilance.
posted by Tacodog at 2:38 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but if you have to cook it yourself, you're doing it wrong. Food should be prepared and served. Eating is enough of a pain in the ass without all the prep and cleanup.
posted by Eideteker at 3:01 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Putting that much salt on a piece of meat just demonstrates that no matter how much this guy postures, he's not really interested in flavor.

Just out of curiosity, at what point do you think he adds too much salt? It's a 28 oz porthouse and it looks to me like he sprinkles about half a teaspoon or so of kosher salt on there.

Also, one of the paupered chef lads had good success with this method. I do enjoy those boys and their quixotic attempts at homemade charcuterie.
posted by Diablevert at 3:06 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eideteker: "97I'm sorry, but if you have to cook it yourself, you're doing it wrong. Food should be prepared and served. Eating is enough of a pain in the ass without all the prep and cleanup."

I like to do it wrong. I like to eat it wrong all by myself too.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:07 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I like to eat it wrong all by myself too."

Now that I can get behind.
posted by Eideteker at 3:17 PM on October 28, 2009


Personally, I'm partial to microwaving steaks for about 5 minutes per pound and then boiling them for about 45 minutes to give them a nice grey color. Serve with ketchup to taste.

You forgot to add HAMBURGER /mefi inside joke
posted by forforf at 3:26 PM on October 28, 2009


GAH! What have I done!?
posted by iamkimiam at 3:30 PM on October 28, 2009


Well, I'm a purist and I think the only acceptable gourmand method of eating a steak is going out to the pasture and biting a cow.
posted by NoMich at 3:33 PM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Look, can we stop arguing about the best way to cook the steak and concentrate on the fact that I have no steak in the house? It's far more important right now.

What I don't get is how you can spend so long cooking a piece of steak and then consider it perfect when it's overcooked like that.

I've given up on ordering steak in restaurants now, because I'm sick of them telling me they can't cook it blue on health & safety reasons. It's sadder still because I've never managed to cook a really good bit of blue rib eye... A chef friend once told me I need to cook it on high for 30 seconds per side and then leave it to rest. Somehow I can never get it out of the pan fast enough...
posted by twine42 at 3:35 PM on October 28, 2009


Yeah, I quite like Alton Brown's method. As much as I love standing over a scorching BBQ with a beer in hand watching steaks cook, I find the cast iron pan method gives much more consistent results. Also, I can do it when it's -40 with windchill outside.

Just takes practice and is well worth it. Also, cold weather is excellent for barbecuing (because it means I can cook it over even lower heat than the grill can normally provide).

I didn't turn to the grill until after I'd gotten pan steaks just right, though, so will have to try this. That quick fry method sounds fine, but I never cook a steak thin enough for those times to be anywhere near right (I like em rare but not "fleshy" if you know what I mean).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:10 PM on October 28, 2009


looks to me like he sprinkles about half a teaspoon or so

My tongue shriveled in my mouth.

I love salt on salty things, but unless you're making jerky, meat isn't one of them. I've never understood that claim that salt "brings out" flavors, it just tastes salty to me.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:15 PM on October 28, 2009


A small amount of salt will bring out flavors in sauces and vegetables and such. Properly cooked meat has no need of such things however.
posted by scrutiny at 4:39 PM on October 28, 2009


I just coat my steaks in hummingbird tongues and then drop-forge them for 42 seconds per inch thickness.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:43 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not just America that loves fatty/marbled beef. Look at wagyu/kobe beef sometime. It's probably close to half fat. After years of hearing how wonderful it was, I was shocked to find out that I didn't really like it, as it was just too greasy, too fatty. I say this as a man who is perfectly willing to eat the fat that most people trim from their steaks ('cause fat=flavor). Wagyu was just too much.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:50 PM on October 28, 2009


To someone raised outside the US meat culture it seems kind of disgusting

Having moved from Europe I found that US meat culture is something that I got used to, and now can't live without.
posted by niccolo at 5:30 PM on October 28, 2009


I am also giving thumbs up to the Alton Brown method. I tried it once and have been hooked since. I still can't believe I can cook a steak so well and so easily. I do give it a bit of a spice rub beforehand but just a little salt and cracked pepper is fantastic as well. It takes a few tries to get your timing down because it depends on the cut of course but once you figure that out then you are golden.
posted by WickedPissah at 5:38 PM on October 28, 2009


That is way too rare-looking for me. Ugh.

Wow. That steak is somewhere between medium-rare and medium.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on October 28, 2009


I used to be a medium-rare person. My father was a "as rare as legally servable" person. One night, our orders got mixed up, and both steaks came out only slightly browned. The inside was a beautiful, almost blueish red. I'm not usually one to send food back, so I tried it. It was perfect, and I can no longer stomach the idea of grey in the middle of beef.

Also, bleu cheese. Crumbled on steak. Or, on a burger, instead of ketchup and mustard. If you haven't had it, you owe it to yourself, and your cardiologist, to try it.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because I am a wonderful and giving person, I shall reluctantly volunteer to taste-test every single steak preparation method listed in this thread. Bring your own meat and cooking equipment. Line forms on the left, no pushing.

*burps*
posted by elizardbits at 6:15 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The immersion method needs one of these doohickeys or, even better, one of these frazzenators. For prep one of these thingies helps.

All of this requires some of these.
posted by bz at 6:48 PM on October 28, 2009


For those contemplating the DIY sous vide method, there are significantly increased risks of foodborne pathogens like botulism if you fuck it up. Restaurants who cook sous vide are often scrutinized by local health departments. If you are not prepared to do some OCD-level babysitting of your food, then buy the machine.

I've never understood that claim that salt "brings out" flavors, it just tastes salty to me.

You're using too much, if your food tastes salty. Though with meat and poultry, I generally like the effect of brining better than salting.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:35 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]




That is way too rare-looking for me. Ugh.

Wow. That steak is somewhere between medium-rare and medium.


Agreed. The inside should be a nice ruby red. Yum.
posted by scrutiny at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2009


Fuck steak, I'm having duck.
posted by robotot at 8:07 PM on October 28, 2009


[comments removed - natalie portman crossover fantasies, sort of icky, maybe better for metatalk?]
posted by jessamyn at 8:32 PM on October 28, 2009


IMHO there is no wrong way to cook a steak, so long as you're happy with the results.
posted by 29 at 9:13 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I eat steak to be one with the universe.

But $65+ per steak makes it an expensive damn universe!
posted by HTuttle at 9:40 PM on October 28, 2009


I love salt on salty things, but unless you're making jerky, meat isn't one of them.

My rule with salt: pork doesn't need it at all, it's naturally very salty. Steak and hamburger perhaps need a bit, but not much. Chicken and poultry: a little is absolutely necessary, maybe a lot.
posted by zardoz at 10:37 PM on October 28, 2009




Alton Brown knows his way around the stove. We do baked potatoes the way he suggests all the time and they are heaven. *crunch*

In the summer I grill, in the winter I pan fry. A great steak is really a function of the meat, cooking method is secondary. Crap meat yields crap steak, no matter how you cook it.

The main issue in our house is that I like my meat mooing, blue and cold. Husbunny likes his about the texture of shoe leather. (I cook myself a filet and I give him an ear.) Actually, I butterfly his, and really, if it's well-done, does it matter how it's cooked? I must admit, since he's read Kitchen Confidential, he's coming to the red-side though, and now I aim for Medium with him and he marvels at how juicy the damn thing is. No shit Sherlock.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:11 AM on October 29, 2009


>> If it doesn't moo when I stick my fork into it, then it's overcooked.
> I'm with you!! I like to hear a heartbeat when they set my plate o'steak down in front of me.
> posted by Oriole Adams at 2:57 PM on October 28 [+] [!]

When my father was asked how he wanted his steak he would say "Eisenhowered." This was due to his having once witnessed Eisenhower's cook/orderly prepare the general's dinner under battlefield conditions during WWII. The cook washed off the fender of Eisenhower's tank with a bucket of water and a rag. Next he lit a gasoline torch and held it under the fender until it glowed red hot. Then he speared the raw steak (about two inches thick, per dad's memory) with a big two-pronged chef's fork and slapped it down on the glowing tank armor. HIISSSSSSSSS - smoke and steam, for a five second count. Speared steak with fork and flipped it over on the other side. HIISSSSSSSSS - more smoke and steam, another five second count. Speared steak again, lifted it from tank fender, draped it over a GI messkit plate which was quite a bit too small for it, and carried it to the general's table.
posted by jfuller at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2009 [17 favorites]


Agreed. The inside should be a nice ruby red. Yum.

This could easily be attributed to a poorly exposed photo. It's hard to properly capture the color of rare meat without decent lighting and color calibration. Those photos have a distinct craptacular color cast and lack of contrast that could easily wipe out what was a nice perfectly rare interior. The blue mottled background doesn't help.
posted by Caviar at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2009


I'd never even dreamed of cooking steak in a pan until I served steak to my partner who was immediately horrified that it had been broiled and not fried in butter. So, I was tasked to figure out how to make a proper Portuguese steak.

I'm starting to master it and while I think the method for cooking the steak itself needs improving, the gravy is delicious enough to more than make up for it. Especially when it covers french fries. OM NOM NOM.

(Oh man, I ate steak & fries so much when I was in Portugal that it's really amazing they didn't have to roll me onto the plane when I came home.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:22 AM on October 29, 2009


I was so inspired by blixco's post that I picked up a ribeye on the way home and cooked it according to the method in his link. Wow. That was one good steak. I think next time I'll keep the temp closer to 130 (it wasn't quite as pink as I usually like it) but boy was it flavorful, juicy, and extraordinarily tender. Thanks, blixco!!
posted by robstercraw at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2009




My family and I agreed a long time ago to never argue politics, religion, or how to cook a steak. My father is a chef, worked as a food service supervisor, and teaches cooking. My brother is a butcher, and has a fine understanding of every kind of meat.


That's fine, but this is Alain Ducasse. It's like saying saying "don't argue sculpture with Michelangelo".
posted by Zambrano at 1:13 PM on October 29, 2009


That's fine, but this is Alain Ducasse.

....Who's Alain Ducasse?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:15 PM on October 29, 2009


I can't believe that my most favorited comment ever is a roast duck recipe.
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on October 29, 2009


Maybe they just REALLY REALLY like roast duck.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:29 PM on October 29, 2009


You're using too much, if your food tastes salty.

I don't use any, so my food doesn't taste salty. I'm not against brining, but scattering salt onto something that tastes perfectly fine seems insane to me. I notice that there are a lot of people who simply shake salt onto a dish before they even taste it.

Most canned items have plenty of salt in them, so if I am cooking something with a canned ingredient, I assume there's no need for more, and I am generally right, according to others who eat my food.

Alton Brown is revered as a god in my house, but we always let out a shout of mockery when he lays on the salt.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:17 PM on October 29, 2009


Pavlovian favoriting at it's finest.
posted by benzenedream at 10:00 PM on October 29, 2009


i_am_joe's_spleen: To someone raised outside the US meat culture it seems kind of disgusting -- I wouldn't call it seriously nice at all, I'd call it riddled with fat. There is no way you could start off a grass-fed steak in a dry pan that way because there wouldn't be enough marbling to grease the pan.

This isn't really a standard 'non-USian' view; it might be a standard NZ view, but it ain't the European way, that's for damned sure. The food I ate in Spain was the greasiest I've ever had (a bit healthier for the fact that it was cooked in olive oil, but still...) and the Italians eat the fatty marrow from the bones of sheep as a meal, for god's sake!

Frankly, I think it's more 'stereotypically american,' at least in some quarters, to be so afraid of fat that one can't touch something that has a hint of marbling. I've seen people turn up their noses at such steaks here quite often, going on about how unhealthy they must be.

Hint: they're not unhealthy. Fat-marbled meat has been a staple of the Euro-American diet for centuries. It's only unhealthy if you eat four of them every day or if you never leave the couch.
posted by koeselitz at 11:23 PM on October 30, 2009


Dude, I eat beef marrow on toast -- I'm no anti-fatty, it's just that I wasn't raised to fetishise heavy marbling as the sine qua non for steak. And it looks weird. Sorry. It does. Some marbling is normal and desirable, but eyeballing that steak it appears to only be about 50% muscle. I'd call that heavy marbling.

Also, I'm fairly sure that kind of butcher's meat isn't historically a staple for anyone, but a rare treat for the very rich. You only get that look with long finishing on grain.

Look, it's probably delicious and I wouldn't turn my nose up if offered, if only for curiousity's sake. I was just expressing an immediate reaction to the photo.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:47 AM on October 31, 2009


i_am_joe's_spleen: Also, I'm fairly sure that kind of butcher's meat isn't historically a staple for anyone, but a rare treat for the very rich. You only get that look with long finishing on grain.

Look, it's probably delicious and I wouldn't turn my nose up if offered, if only for curiousity's sake. I was just expressing an immediate reaction to the photo.


Yeah, that's fair enough. And frankly anybody who drops little tidbits like "I was in Alain Ducasse's kitchen" (his being one of the most ridiculously expensive restaurants in the world, where meals regularly hit, what, $5000?) like the guy writing that article is by no means talking about a steak that you or me could ever afford if we didn't raise it ourselves.
posted by koeselitz at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2009


his being one of the most ridiculously expensive restaurants in the world, where meals regularly hit, what, $5000

While all of Ducasse's restaurants are very, very expensive, you're substantially exaggerating. The tasting menu at his Paris restaurant starts at €260 / person, and that's his most expensive restaurant. So unless you're a party of 20, or your party of 2 orders a $4000 bottle of wine (or you start mainlining caviar) you've got a pretty good chance of getting out for under $750 for 2 people-- including wine. Would I pay that? Hell no (and food is really important to me) -- that's my mortgage payment! But it's still a hell of lot less than 5 grand.
posted by dersins at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2009


I seem to remember distinctly reading a review of his New York restaurant, the Essex House, that quoted that figure; supposedly the decadence of it all was supposed to be a feature, with diners being offered a choice of four different solid-gold, diamond-encrusted pens to sign when the check came. I may of course have it a bit wrong, but I'm almost certain that his Paris restaurant was never as expensive as the New York place.
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2009


Ah - you're right, I was way off. This review from '05 has them topping out at $300 per person, at least for the menu; that still means you're almost certain to break $1000 with two people if you order wine and tip, but it's a far cry from $5000.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on November 2, 2009


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