Here at Lovin Dublin, there's nothing we love more than a big fat juicy steak, you're probably the same yourself; it's certainly among most people's favourites when eating out. We've already touched on many places in Dublin nailing a great steak, but what do we know when it comes to eating steak at home? You're staring through the glass at a whole plethora of meats, you buy what looks like a tender piece of steak, you bring it home, whack the living daylights out of it with a wooden rolling pin and then you cook it only to find that it's as tough as boot leather and not even the dog can break it down. Well fear no more, here's our top tips on how to get your steak right, with help from the head honcho at The Village Butcher, Ranelagh.
Price, colour and texture
There are a few things to look for when buying your steak and price is one of them: a good piece of steak will not be a euro or 2 or in a 3 for €10 kind of offer. Colour is another thing to look for, aged beef will be a little bit darker in colour. Also texture, if you stuck your finger into the steak the hole should stay there for a minute or two.
Most reliable, popular piece of steak?
It's a toss up between the Rib-Eye and the Fillet. I find the men go for the big cuts like T.Bone and Rib-Eye and the ladies are more inclined to go for the fillet because it's a smaller cut and leaner.
How to cook your steak
There is only one way to cook a steak correctly. A steak should not be put onto the pan straight from the fridge, if a cold piece of meat hits a hot pan it can cause the meat to shrink and tighten making it tough. So it should sit out on your counter for a good half hour or so while you prep your other food. Oil and season your steak but not your pan, so a dry pan as hot as you can get it. Sit your steak onto the pan and you should hear it searing and crackling straight away. Do not keep turning, prodding and playing with it. Leave it be for anywhere between 2-6 minutes depending on how you like your steak done. Turn over and cook for the same amount of time again. You can finish it off under a hot grill for the final minute or 2. The most important thing is to let it rest. This is really important especially if you are trying to move towards eating your steak medium (which is the best way in my opinion), as it allows the steak to absorb the juices back in, which means you shouldn't have red juices floating around your plate, which can put people off trying a medium steak in the first place.
Best cuts of meat on a budget
The cheapest piece of steak that is also a great steak for frying is definetely the Rump or Sirloin as we call it. At in and around €16.99 p/kg for aged Sirloin steak it's fantastic value and very tender.
Butchers Vs Supermarkets
In my opinion there are 2 reasons why steak bought at a supermarket may be of a lower quality, the first being it's not aged. Even the prepacked steaks that say aged are fudging the labelling laws here as it may have only been aged for 7 days but the customer is under the impression it means aged for a decent length of time to impact on the flavour and taste. The 2nd is factory farming. The supermarkets are all about price, they buy from the large factories, there could be 500/1000 head of cattle a week going through these factories, coming from several different farms. Not only is there no consistency here but this scale of slaughtering causes huge stress on the animals. All of this has an effect on the quality and taste of the beef. Speaking for our selves here we deal direct with a farmer, a small operation, 3/4 cattle a week. Killed in a small local abattoir, we speak to the farmer every day re our orders, he transports the cattle himself and he delivers the meat straight to us. Very hands on, he is with the animals from beginning to end. He can stand over the quality of his beef without a shadow of a doubt.
Pounding your steak: yay or nay?
You should never need to pound your steak, you should be able to put it on the pan and that's it.
Where most people go wrong
Again 2 things come to mind here, the first is the cut. Fat is good in a steak!! It keeps the steak moist and adds to the flavour. Fat is good in this instance. The 2nd is the cooking, over cooking a steak especially a lean cut like the fillet is the biggest mistake people make. Eating steak is like drinking wine, it takes time to master it, find the cut you like the best, learn how to cook it to your liking without cremating it. A great tip is to time it, use your phone and decide if it needs 1 minute more or less the next time.
Best way to serve steak?
Medium, onions, mushrooms panfried in the juices in the pan while the steak rests. Home made chips, great big chunky ones, and peppercream sauce on the side. Every Friday night in our house anyway!