Steaks are one of the more expensive meats in the food budget, and you want to make sure your money is well spent. Choosing the right steak and cooking it properly will guarantee a tasty meal for your celebration.
Choose a good quality steak to ensure tenderness and flavor. Look for a steak that has small veins of fat running through the meat. USDA Prime and USDA Choice are the best grades, and the most expensive. They will give you the best tenderness and flavor if money is not a consideration.
Marinate the Steak
A good quality steak will need no marinating. A lean steak with no fat will be tough and dry unless you marinate or tenderize it. Meat tenderizer should be used sparingly or not at all. Meat tenderizers will turn your steak to mush if used improperly. A good marinade of red wine, lemon juice and olive oil will tenderize the meat, and add flavor and moisture.
Warm the Steak
Bring the steak to room temperature by allowing it to rest on the counter for about 30 minutes before cooking. If the steak was frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator first.
Dry heat is best for cooking steak. You can pan fry a steak in a little olive oil. Make sure the pan is hot before adding the steak, otherwise the steak will release its juices and stew instead of fry. You want to cook the steak quickly on the first side, then turn it only once to finish on the second side.
Broiling will also produce a good steak. Season the steak with salt and pepper, and any other desired spices. Preheat the broiler, broil until the top side is browned, then turn the steak to finish to desired doneness.
Grilling is a popular way to prepare steak. Preheat the grill and season the steak. Oil the steak lightly on both sides to prevent sticking. Place the steaks on a hot grill over direct heat. Turn the steak once, then finish over indirect heat.
Allow the steak to rest for a few minutes to redistribute the juices back into the meat. The meat will continue to cook during this time, so take it off the heat a few minutes before it is done to your liking.
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Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.