June 25th, 2010

5 Ways to Ruin a Great Steak

Ways to Ruin a Great Steak

Our chef friend gives us his thoughts on what NOT to do when on the quest for a wonderful steak. I, for one, will take note because I need all the help I can get! Read on . . .

5 Ways To Ruin A Great Steak

1. Flipping Flipping

Don’t flip your flipping steak 42 flipping times. I know it’s so tempting – you just want to have a peek. You can’t see what is happening on the bottom of your steak – you feel so helpless! Leave it alone! It will be OK. Trust me.

Your best bet is to sear the steak for 2 minutes on each side on high heat. After that, it depends on the cut of beef and the thickness. Even for an average T-bone, cooked to medium rare, you are looking at almost 9 minutes on medium heat before you flip it (after the sear process).

Check out a grilling chart. Also, don’t flip your steak with a fork. You will lose juices. Use tongs or a spatula.

2. Fast Food Steak…

Don’t take your steak out of the fridge and toss it on the grill. The steak needs to be at room temperature before it hits the grill. So slow down, relax….Pull the steak out early and let it warm to room temperature.  You also need patience after you take the steak off the grill. Allow the steak to rest for a full five minutes before cutting it. This allows the juices and flavors to develop.

3. Fancy Marinades – Ooooh La La

Don’t marinate aged choice or prime beef, or you will ruin the steak! A great steak can stand on its own, it doesn’t need to be masked with a girly marinade. A marinade can help less tender cuts, such as flank, but not a prime cut of beef.

4. Steak Sauce, Really? Seriously?

Sir, would you like to taste some steak with your overpowering tangy ketchup sauce?

A great steak doesn’t need steak sauce. Steak sauce ruins the flavor of the meat. Steak sauce is a way to mask the flavor of an inferior steak. Steak sauce, while appropriate on a bologna sandwich, is not appropriate on a prime cut of beef.

In some of the finer steak houses you could get slapped or asked to leave for requesting steak sauce.

5. Well Done – Noooo

The number one way to break a steak is to cook it until it resembles a piece of charcoal. A well done steak is dry, leathery and tough. The juices are cooked away and it loses its flavor. If you are going to order a steak well done, just order something else. Ask for some beef jerky and ketchup.

  • http://the-reviewer.com TheReviewer

    Damn, that steak on the pic looks incredibly delicious and juicy *drool*

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • bryan

    I agree no offense to anybody but anyone that takes a good cut of steak and overcooks the heck out of it to eat it doesn’t respect the meat. Seriously if you’re going to take a good cut of meat and turn it into shoe leather and drown it in sauce then you might as well go to dennys and order a steak there and do the same thing and it will be a lot cheaper and will taste the same.

  • SooGirly

    I was raised in thinking that steak sauce would ‘ruin a good steak’ but after having feasted on great cuts of beef at fine steakhouses…they always offer or have sauce served with or on the table…I think its more a matter of opinion, but to drown it in sauce, neigh! Good eating!!!

  • Raphael

    Great blog you have going Dena! While I agree with a lot of your points, the idea that flipping frequently leads to a less juicy steak is an old myth still being pushed to this day alongside the idea of searing to seal in juices.

    Flipping frequently (ideally every 15 sec.) allows more even cooking, sort of like a rotisserie. This method simultaneously prevents the side facing the pan from absorbing too much heat and the opposite end from losing too much heat. This is why a lot of searing, then oven-cooking methods produce exceptionally good results.

    Even if this weren’t the case, flipping cannot possibly do more damage to that meat than the extreme heat that it’s exposed to. The shorter the cooking time, the better. Look up Harold McGee’s literature on steak. Here’s one to get you started:


    Best of luck in your search for the perfect steak!

  • Daniel

    I love to pan cook a thick steak and deglaze the pan with a quarter cup of beer, splash of worcestershire and toss in a half tsp of capers. It amazes me how some restaurants sell steaks that are flavorless and tough.

  • NYJ

    “In some of the finer steak houses you could get slapped or asked to leave for requesting steak sauce.”

    Nope, epic fail. The top chefs in the world use steak sauce, and serving an unseasoned piece of meat is the mark of an amateur

  • LMG

    A well done steak is only dry, leathery and tough if you don’t know how to properly cook a well done steak.

  • Chad Chaplin

    I don’t respect meat. I eat it, and do so the way I want. You all sound like beer dorks and wine snobs. You think you know stuff, when in fact you just have an overinflated sense of your own OPINION. Food snobs are even worse than the others.

  • James T

    You know what’s worse then food snobs?