How would you like your steak? This is the golden question that’s asked to us each time we order a steak. This can be somewhat daunting, because cooked too little, it might not be as seared as you like it; cooked too much, the cut of meat might end up having the texture that’s reminiscent of your car’s tyre – and we know you don’t want that!
The good news is, a little knowledge and confidence in our own preference can overcome any reluctance and turn us into accomplished cooks and happier diners. Sciacca thought it was high time to share a basic guide covering the foundations of how to master cooking the perfect steak.
Useful tips to keep in mind
The temperature at the centre of a cut of meat gives an accurate indication of the level to which is cooked but there are other methods where you needn’t head for the meat thermometer. Apart from timing, the other is the touch test.
Hold out your non-dominant hand, palm up and relaxed. With the index finger of the other, lightly prod the fleshy area between your thumb and the base of your palm. If there’s very little resistance, the meat is raw. To check for rare meat: make a circle with that thumb and its index finger. The muscle at the base of the thumb should slightly tense up.
As you repeat this process with the middle, ring and little finger, the muscle below the thumb tenses further each time. Interestingly, the feel of that muscle resembles the feel of a steak at its further stages of cooking: blue, rare, medium/rare, medium, medium/well and finally well done.
But isn’t eating undercooked meat dangerous?
Well, this rule applies when it comes to meats like chicken, pork and ground beef. As for steak, if the meat cut has any bacteria present, it’s generally on the outside. Steak doesn’t contain the parasites that infect chickens and pigs. Nevertheless, the outside should always be seared and handled with clean instruments. Ground beef, on the other hand, is going to have bacteria spread throughout, since its surface area differs to that of a slab of meat.
…But I don’t want my steak to be bloody!
For the rare steak lovers, usually shrug off this assertion by arguing that, “It’s not blood, it’s meat juice!” Or perhaps, they simply grin carnivorously, stating that the “blood” is the best part. While some might debate what the best part of a steak it, you might be wondering, what exactly is this so-called meat juice, anyway?
Surprisingly, that “meat juice” is mostly water, fat and myoglobin. And did you know the real reason raw meat looks so red is because of myoglobin protein in the muscles? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because of the haemoglobin found in blood. What’s more, a quality steak that’s been properly rested and correctly cleaned should contain barely any blood at all – believe it or not, even when it’s served rare!
If you’re a meat lover but still haven’t mastered the technique of cooking the perfect steak for you or your guests, why not ditch your apron and grill and head to the best steakhouse in Malta – Sciacca Grill Valletta. Contact us to book your table today.