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How to Cook a Juicy Steak

Updated on July 26, 2010

There are few things worse on this earth of ours than a dry and tasteless steak– and it’s made all the worse because of the glory that a good steak can be when cooked with a little care!

Well, cooking a steak so it stays juicy isn’t really all that difficult. Follow these next 3 bits of steak cooking advice and you’ll never suffer the indignity a dried up steak again.

How to Cook a Steak So It Stays Juicy

1. Don’t Overcook It

No matter what other steps you take, if you cook a steak to well done (or beyond!) then you cannot expect it to stay juicy. A rare or medium rare steak will be much juicer than a steak done to medium – and a steak done to well-done will be quite dry.

The liquid in a steak is lost as the meat fibers contract with cooking, spilling the juices within - the more well-done the steak, the greater the contraction and thus the greater the liquid loss.

To ensure that you don’t inadvertently overcook your next steak, pick up an inexpensive instant read meat thermometer…and use it!

  • Rare – 120 to 125
  • Medium rare 130 to 135
  • Medium 140 to 150
  • Well done – Over 160

2. Use a Jaccard Meat Tenderizer

These ingenious meat tenderizing devices insert need like blades into the center of a steak, cutting the meat fibers into shorter segments.

This results in a more tender steak, as the fibers are shortened and broken down even before you start chewing – but it also results in a juicier steak, no matter what temperature you cook to.

Shorter meat fibers contract less with cooking and this reduced contraction results in a reduced loss of meat liquid during the cooking time.

3. Make Sure to Wait After Cooking before Cutting the Steak

This one is huge!

Although it can be torturous to wait 5 or 10 minutes after grilling up a steak before digging in, this brief waiting period greatly increases the juiciness of the steak on the plate.

Just off the heat, a steak is much hotter at its surfaces than it is in its center, and the juices in a steak are pulled to these hotter surface areas and out of the middle sections of the steak. In time, these juices will redistribute back into the center of the meat, but if you do not wait after cooking before cutting into the meat, much of that extra juice that sits at the surface will simply spill out onto the plate.

You are left with a juicy plate and a dried out piece of steak!

Cover the steaks loosely while you wait and give thin steaks 5 to 10 minutes of resting and thicker steals 10 to 20…the wait will be worth it!


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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Sounds wonderful! I will pass this hub on to my son who loves to cook. I'm a vegan. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      You are a master when it comes to cooking, John.