ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Perfect Steak, Pt. 2: How to Cook a Steak

Updated on June 30, 2007

An interview with Morgan Davis

24 ounce T-bone steak
24 ounce T-bone steak

This is part two of the interview. In it we discuss how to cook the perfect steak. For the introduction and part one, which dealt with how to select a good steak cut, click here.

Ok, we’ve covered the topic of choosing a good cut. How about cooking it--you said that a hot fire was the other key element of making a perfect steak?

That's right. I always cook steak on the grill because the broiler on my electric stove just can't get hot enough. Too low a cooking temperature will not properly caramelize and sear the outside surface, and the necessary longer cooking time will dry out the steak and overcook it.

How do you prepare the steak on the grill? Do you marinade it or prepare the meat in any special way?

There are lots of folks who take a very purist approach to steak and don't want any seasoning at all, whereas some folks eat it with sauce or ketchup. I fall somewhere in between, but I sure wouldn't bring a good steak near ketchup or A-1!

I prepare steaks by placing the meat on a cutting board or in a baking dish and brushing on some olive oil. I like to take course gray sea salt and whole peppercorns and crush them up with a mortar and pestle until they're just larger than you'd get out of a normal pepper mill. I rub this over the meat and then let it sit long enough to come to room temperature--usually about thirty to forty-five minutes.

After cooking the steak, I will sometimes put some truffle oil or a good, creamy blue cheese over it, but that's it. It's a pretty simple preparation and I think it compliments the flavor of the meat well.

Do you do anything special with the grill?

Grilling can be done in different ways. A gas grill will work, and a nice, robust charcoal grill can be used to burn wood, but I don't think that charcoal alone would really be hot enough. I suppose if you used plenty of coal and make sure there is a good, even coal bed under all of the meat, that might work.

Personally, I like a little smoky taste to my meat, so I use a large, barrel-shaped charcoal grill with wood. It's a Char-Griller brand grill--a nice, reasonably priced grill with cast iron plates. If I'm in a hurry, I get the fire going using a small bag of "light the bag" charcoal briquettes and add my wood later, once the charcoal is hot enough to ignite it easily. If I have time, then I can start a wood fire from scratch.

The key is having a hot fire with lots of good flame. You want to be able to seer the outside of the meat quickly so that it seals in the juice and gives you a delicious, almost crackly texture in places. If you have a gas grill or are using charcoal, make sure you have the grill plates close to the fire—you want the flames right on the meat. When I use wood, I like to get good, dry oak sticks that are about a quarter of the thickness you would normally put on a fire. I put them on about 5-10 minutes before the meat so that they have time to flame up and become fully engulfed and also heat the grill plates so that they are good and smoking.

Do you cook steaks rare, medium, or well?

I like mine pretty rare--just warm on the inside but still a good red. The hot fire makes this easy to accomplish. About three to four minutes on each side is all it takes. Don’t be surprised if the steak seems to catch fire in places, a little of that is okay.

It's easy to achieve medium and well also. For a medium steak, just move it out from the direct heat of the flames and let it cook for another two minutes a side or so. You'll need to learn to judge the softness of the meat. As it cooks inside, it gets harder and harder and begins to shrink at the edges. A rare steak won't change shape much at all and will be about as soft as the piece of muscle between your thumb and forefinger when it is relaxed. Medium is slightly harder than that, and the meat will have started to pull away from bone at the edges.

To get a steak well done (should you want to commit such a travesty), just toss it on the flames and then shut the grill. Make sure you have all the vents open so the fire doesn't die. The intense heat against the top of the steak should cook the inside faster. The meat will be very firm to the touch when it is done.

Do you have any favorite sides or finishing touches?

As I said before, a sprinkling of truffle oil is a wonderful thing on a hot steak--the aroma fills the room and is really intoxicating. If you have hungry guests, it will have them begging for the plate. I have also always enjoyed a good Roquefort or other soft, creamy blue cheese. I'm not a big fan of flavored butters, as the steak is pretty greasy to begin with, and I hate steak sauce or ketchup on a good steak. Try topping it with some Marsala-caramelized onions or sautéed oyster mushrooms.

My favorite side with steak is actually the mashed potato recipe that you've already written-up. Other than that, a nice garden-fresh salad in summer or some warm, green vegetables like asparagus or green beans in winter. With a one and a half pound steak, the sides really aren't that much of a concern.

What about beverages?

Beer.

Heh. Could you elaborate?

Good beer. Really any kind of beer is going to complement a steak. In the summer, try something lighter like an Amber Ale or IPA. In the winter, I like a good Porter or Stout.

Anything else?

That's it, really. I spent a long time as a teenager trying to figure out how to cook steak. I ruined plenty of meat under the broiler or drowned in a red wine marinade just to learn that really all it takes is simplicity. A good cut and a hot fire.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Reid Earls 

      6 years ago

      Great article! I can't wait to try a Prime rib eye cooked using this simple recipe.

      While I love a good craft beer, to me nothing is better with steak than a bold robust red wine. Absolute bliss.

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 

      8 years ago

      cool hub, except drop the beer.. highly recommend chocolate smoothies.. :D

    • profile image

      Mary 

      10 years ago

      I followed your instructions on finding the perfect steak (and it just so happened that it was fairly high priced, but not outragous). Once I foun the steak, I followed your instruction on how to prepare and cook it. I don't eat steak myself, so my boyfriend had no faith in me what-so-ever that I could cook a steak. I have to tell you...that recipe floored my overly hard to please boyfriend. He is the pickiest person I know and he thoroughly enjoyed this dinner!!!!! I made cut red potatos (steamed) with herbs and a greek salad. For desert, I made strawberry and banana kabobs drizzled with white and dark chocolate. You made our night! His because of the fabulous steak and mine because he is so happy. Great ideas!!! We will be using this from now on!

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 

      10 years ago

      Great Hub. Love it - someone who knows how to cook a steak and will share. Thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)