Some moms hesitate to cook steak because they mistakenly believe that only the most expensive cuts of beef will produce a tender steak. This isn't the case. Less expensive cuts of beef such as flank steak, round steak and sirloin steaks all can be the star of your dinner table. The secret to preparing a juicy, flavorful steak is to marinate it. The acids in the marinade breaks down the tough fibers of the steak, making it more tender and infusing it with flavor. Marinated steaks are typically prepared one of two ways: grilled or broiled.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, or approximately 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and place them on a serving platter. Transfer the remaining marinade to a bowl. You will use this later to baste the steak as it cooks.
Place the steaks near the center of the grill. Make sure that they do not touch or overlap.
Baste the steaks with the marinade using a basting brush. Continue to baste the steaks each time you turn them.
Grill the steaks for approximately 4 minutes on each side. The total cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the steak of the type of marinade you used. Thicker steaks take longer to cook than thinner steaks, and steaks that are marinated in an oil-based marinade tend to cook faster than steaks cooked in a water-based marinade.
When the steaks are browned on each side, place the steaks on a higher grilling rack or near the edges of the grill. This will prevent them from overcooking.
Remove one steak from the grill and place it on a clean serving platter. Insert a cooking thermometer into the center of the steak.
Remove the steaks from the grill once they have reached your desired temperature. The USDA recommends cooking steaks to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a rare steak should measure approximately 120 F; a medium-rare steak should measure between 125 F and 130 F; a medium steak should measure between 135 F and 140 F; a medium-well steak should measure 150 F to 155 F, and a well-done steak should register 165 F.
Allow the steaks to rest for 5 minutes before serving. The resting time allows the steaks to finish cooking and allows the hot juices in the meat to cool, preventing them from spilling out onto the plate when your family cuts into the steaks.
Position the top rack of your oven according to the thickness of your steak. Steaks that are 1 inch thick or thicker should be 3 to 4 inches away from the broiler, allowing them to cook more slowly. Steaks that are 3/4 inch thick should be 2 to 3 inches away from the broiler. Thin steaks, such as steaks that are 1/2 inch thick or less, should be positioned 1 inch away from the broiler.
Preheat the top broiler of your oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and place them on a broiler pan. Discard the marinade.
Broil the steaks, turning them occasionally, until they are cooked to your desired temperature, as measured by a cooking thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak. Thicker steaks and steaks that are marinated in water-based marinades will take longer to cook — about 14 to 18 minutes — than steaks that are thinner or marinated in an oil-based marinade, which will take about 8 to 12 minutes.
The USDA recommends cooking steaks to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a rare steak should measure approximately 120 F; a medium-rare steak should measure between 125 F and 130 F; a medium steak should measure between 135 F and 140 F; a medium-well steak should measure 150 F to 155 F, and a well-done steak should register 165 F.
Remove the steaks from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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- Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
- The Washington Post.com: Grilled Marinated Steak
- Grilling Companion.com: Marinating Steak
- The Complete Meat Cookbook; Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly
- Great Year-Round Grilling in the Midwest; Ellen Brown
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- United States Department of Agriculture: Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
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