Cooking steak like a pro (and mistakes you should avoid)

Mastering the art of cooking steak is a pursuit that many aspiring home chefs embark upon. There’s something inherently satisfying about achieving that perfect sear, locking in the juicy tenderness, and savoring each delectable bite. However, this culinary quest is not without its challenges, as even the most seasoned cooks can stumble along the way.  In this story, Oishya team unlocks the secrets to cooking steak like a pro, while highlighting common mistakes that should be avoided.

In the 1980s, health concerns led to less salt and red meat consumption, causing the art of seasoning steak to be forgotten. Enter Kosher salt, the unsung hero of seasoning, with its even distribution and ability to enhance flavors. Generously sprinkle it on your steak, press it in, and let the magic happen.

Mistake: You underseasoned it

When did we start treating our steaks like pincushions? Whether it's impaling them with forks while grilling or repeatedly piercing them to check doneness, it's a misguided practice. Each puncture causes precious juices to escape, leaving us with dry disappointments. Let's change our ways. Use gentle tongs to turn your steak, preserving its juiciness, and rely on the reliable thumb test for doneness. No need for unnecessary stabbings; just savor a succulent steak.

Mistake: You stabbed it

Cooking a steak straight from the freezer is a mistake. The cold temperature extends cooking time, leading to a tougher and drier steak. Let your steaks come to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. This ensures a more even cooking process, resulting in a tender and juicy steak.

Mistake: You cooked it straight out of the icebox

Well-done steaks are not just a matter of preference; there are limits to what can be considered palatable. The purpose of cooking and enjoying a steak is to derive pleasure from it. Overcooking a steak beyond medium is a serious mistake, while cooking it to medium-rare perfection preserves its succulence and flavor. Aim for a medium-rare steak with a predominantly pink interior and an internal temperature of 130°F to 140°F (54°C to 60°C). 

Mistake: You Overcooked It

One critical mistake is having a grill that isn't hot enough. Achieving steak perfection requires a scorching hot grill at a minimum of 450°F (232°C). Gas grills offer temperature control, while charcoal grills need ample fuel and airflow. To test the heat, hold your hand three inches above the grill and count to two seconds. The right way: Ensure your grill reaches a high temperature of 450°F to 500°F (232°C to 260°C) for a delicious sear and juicy steak.

Mistake: Your Grill Wasn’t Hot Enough

One rookie mistake is not allowing the steak to rest after cooking. Resting is essential for juicy perfection. When a steak is cooked, its cells contract and juices rush to the center. Cutting it immediately leads to dryness. But resting for five minutes lets the juices redistribute, resulting in succulence. Covering with foil helps retain warmth.

Mistake: You didn’t rest it

Not all steaks are ideal for grilling, despite packaging claims. Modern meat cuts vary, but the best grilling steaks come from the short loin or rib primals—ribeye, New York strip, tenderloin, T-bone, and Porterhouse. These cuts ensure exceptional flavor and tenderness when cooked to perfection. Choose steaks labeled "rib," "loin," or "strip" for a guaranteed delicious grilling experience.

Mistake: You grilled the wrong type of steak

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