In contrast to burgers and ground meat in general, cooking a good old steak is slightly more challenging. Steaks have various ways of preparations, multiple marinade options, and ultimately different levels of rareness. Having a bad burger is rare, but so is eating a well-prepared steak. That’s why we are going to share some unknown, and lesser known, things about cooking steaks.
One of the most attractive means of steak cooking is searing it on a griddle. Griddles can give you enough space to make more steaks simultaneously, and give you that professional heat output, as well as the professional feel. Many renown chefs use griddles instead of grills to prepare steaks, and that sole fact should already tell us something.
Now, do not let all this discourage you. With just a little patience and good preparation process, you too will be able to cook a mean steak by the end of the day. Certain things we are going to talk about will sound familiar to some of you, but let’s all bear in mind that there are always new cooks out there and that we have their backs.
Things You’ll Need
From hardware and cookware to sole ingredients and spices, we must cover every essential thing you will need to cook a good steak. Not every single thing from our lists is needed, due to the difference in cooking styles and tastes. Because of that, we are going to mark the absolutely necessary things with a (*) sign. So, let us dive in!
1. Hardware and Cookware
- One functioning griddle, no matter the fuel source (electric griddle or a gas-powered outdoor griddle) or the cooking surface material (steel, ceramics or a cast iron) *
- A pair of medium-sized tongs *
- A meat thermometer
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towels
- A timer. Eggs timer will do, but mobile phones are ok too
- 8-10 oz strip steak (or more if you are cooking for several people) *
- Sea salt and pepper, preferably freshly ground *
- Vegetable oil like sunflower and olive oil. * Coconut oil and butter are good for certain recipes
- Garlic powder or fresh garlic, ground paprika and fresh peppers.
Before You Start Cooking
What separates the good from the great steak cooks is the preparation period. We would like to stress out the importance of certain stages every steak needs to go through, no matter the recipe you want to use. Some things are considered common enough all around the world, and revisiting them can be useful to anyone.
1. Defrosting and thawing
If you keep your steak in a freezer, it is really important that you defrost before marinating and cooking. Make sure that the steak stays on room temperature at least 20 minutes before it can proceed to the next stage. If you do not let it thaw properly, it will have a chewier structure, and it will be cook rarer than you think. Let the steak rest on the counter for a while, and make sure to dry it with some paper towels after the ice melts.
2. Marinating the steak
When it comes to seasoning and spicing things up, we can separate steak marinating into three main groups:
- Dry steak seasoning – This includes the basic package consisting of some vegetable oil or butter and just salt and pepper. A lot of people worldwide prefer this simple recipe, and it rarely fails to impress.
- Standard marinade – The difference between this style and the former is in the amount of oil/butter you use. With standard marinade you let the seasoning soak in through some excess oil.
- Overnight soaking marinade – This marinating style requires most of the attention, but brings the highest payoff. You rub the steak with a lot of oil/butter and seasoning. And let it soak overnight. This style is the tastiest if you have the time.
3. Cleaning and preheating the griddle
It is extremely important that the griddle is clean and seasoned before you put the marinade-soaked steaks on top of it. If you use cast iron griddles, make sure to put some extra oil on during the seasoning process. If it’s not done correctly you risk strong hot zones on the cooking surface of the griddle, which easily leads to steak overcooking.
And lastly, do not forget to preheat the griddle. Turn the dial to medium-to-high temperature, but do not go over 400. If you are not sure about the heat your griddle makes, use a thermometer.
To make sure the griddle is empty, spray some water onto the surface, and if it sizzles, the griddle is hot enough.
Cooking the Steaks
After your steaks have thawed and soaked the marinade in, put them one by one onto the griddle cooking surface. We advise that you never cook more than two stakes at the same time because the timing of flipping, and removing them from the griddle, is crucial.
Cook the steak on this side for 1.5 to 3 minutes, and use the tongs to turn it over after the period passes. Always use the tongs and not a fork, because holes made by the fork can make the insides cook faster without you noticing. If you do all of this, the steak should be ready.
Keep it on the other side for the same period and remove it from the griddle. The rareness depends on the thickness of the meat, but most importantly: it depends on timing.
- Rare – 90 seconds on each side, 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Medium rare – 2 minutes on each side, 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit
- Medium – 2 and a half minutes on each side, 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Well-done – 3 minutes on each side, over 160-200 degrees Fahrenheit
Before You Dig In
One of the most important things you should do before eating the steak is to let it rest, wrapped in an aluminum foil. Keep it tucked in for 10-15 minutes, and serve after the time period passes.
So, remember: defrost, dry, marinate, cook, let it rest. Simple as that.
These steps might sound a little complicated, but if you go slow, you will get the hang of it almost immediately. After all, the biggest reward is to eat a well-cooked steak that you made, with the marinade and all.