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Cooking the perfect steak

Updated on July 31, 2011



Cooking the perfect steak can be a challenge, even for top chefs. That's because smaller cuts of meat can dry out easily or cook too quickly so they become dry, tough or leathery. We recommend using a heavy frying pan or griddle (ridged pan) rather than an electric grill as you can control the temperature more easily.

CHEF'S TIP: Rump comprises of several muscles, all of which are frequently used, giving it a firmer texture, and more of a juicy "bite" than a soft-textured steak such as fillet. It also has fine marbling, which ensures it is full of flavour.

These Pavé Rump Steaks are cut across the grain to approximately 50-60 mm (2-2¼ inches) thick. The term pavé refers to the shape, which is rectangular or square.

Due to the thickness of these steaks, they require a slightly longer cooking time than that given in our ‘Steak Cooking Guide', which is why we've included this separate guide.

Step 1 - Prepare the steaks

  • Allow to come to room temperature (for about 20 minutes).

  • If bought from mail order, defrost overnight in a refrigerator, in original packaging and pat dry.

Step 2 - Preheat your pan

  • Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat until hot, but not smoking. (If the pan is too hot, the outside will burn before the inside is done, too cold, and your steaks will be tough).

  • Brush the steaks with oil (to avoid using too much), or pour a little oil into the pan, and season if desired. (Canola or groundnut oil is best, but olive oil is fine too.)

  • When you place the steaks in the pan, a "sizzle" will tell you if it's hot enough.

Step 3 - Cook to your liking

  • For a medium steak: Cook on one side without touching for 3-4 minutes, then reduce to a medium heat and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  • Gently turn the steak over with a pair of tongs (don't pierce it, or the juices will escape), and cook for a further 6 minutes. (You can vary the times here if you prefer a rare or well-done steak.)

  • To test for doneness, press the steak gently with the tip of your finger. Rare should be soft and supple, well done firm, and medium in between.

Step 4 - Rest your steaks

  • Resting is just as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender all the way through.

  • Remove from the pan, place on a rack and cover with foil and leave in a warm place for up to 10 minutes. Remember it is always better to over-rest your steaks than to under-rest them. Resting helps the meat to achieve the full flavour and tenderness.

Step 5 - Serve your steaks

  • Lay your table with razor-sharp, un-serrated steak knives designed to cut cleanly through the meat.

  • Serve your steaks on hot dinner plates, and enjoy.

Guide to steak cooking times

The times given here are a guide only and refer to a steak that is approximately 2.5cm or 1" thick. Thicker steaks may require a longer cooking time, and vice versa for thinner steaks.

Rare: 1-2 minutes per side - rest for 6-8 minutes

Medium rare: 2-2.5 minutes per side - rest for 5 minutes

Medium: 3 minutes per side - rest for 4 minutes

Well done: 4.5 minutes per side - rest for 1 minute



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    • Handicapped Chef profile image

      Handicapped Chef 4 years ago from Radcliff Ky

      I find that you can cook steak to your liking but if I'm doing steaks for clients I use oil salt and pepper and make them to there liking well, medium or medium well even rare.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I have done them so. My current practice is to oil them lightly if searing, not at all if grilling, then after they're cooked use either salt & pepper or something like Lawry's depending on the cut and how it looks. If I have guests I just put seasoning on the table and let each handle it as he likes.

    • Handicapped Chef profile image

      Handicapped Chef 5 years ago from Radcliff Ky

      Attikos, To be honest a good piece of steak dose not need a lot of seasoning all I use is a basic oil on it then salt and pepper is all I use and the flavor is awesome try it that way and let me know what you think.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      For years, I've been hearing the argument over when to season. The latest I read is that you should do so either an hour before cooking, or within five minutes of it, but not in between. I tend to do it afterwards myself, following resting, just before serving. Any thoughts on this debate?

    • Handicapped Chef profile image

      Handicapped Chef 5 years ago from Radcliff Ky

      Ian thanks for the reply, Some people like their steaks diffrent from others my choice is medium well that's why I done the diffrent versions so people can choose their steak the way they like it.

    • profile image

      Ian 5 years ago

      Why such confusing timings, 3 different versions?