August 1, 2016
Posted in: Culinary Arts

What Makes A Great Steak

If you eat meat, you probably love steak. And if you’re taking online culinary courses, then you have likely devoted hours to perfecting your particular method of preparing a delicious piece of meat. There’s a lot of room for disagreement about what cut, seasoning or cooking technique is the best, but there are some examples that stand out. As you continue to refine your own approach, you can take inspiration from the greatest steaks being prepared in the U.S.

Achieving unmistakably fantastic results
There are many ways to make an exceptional steak. One classic approach is to sear the meat on the stovetop and then finish cooking in the oven. Alton Brown’s recipe calls for giving a rib eye a minute on the burner in a hot cast-iron skillet before setting it in in an oven set to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for four minutes. The juicy, medium-rare results mean the only additional flavoring you need along the way is some kosher salt and black pepper.

“One classic approach is to sear the meat on the stovetop.”

A recipe for porterhouse provided by Bon Appetit suggested adding more extensive seasoning by making cuts in the meat before patting on sugar, cayenne and salt. This unorthodox technique also calls for keeping the seasoned meat in the refrigerator for a day before moving it to the freezer for a few hours. The resulting ice crystals leads to more tender beef when you fry it in canola oil and slowly roast it in an oven set to 200 degrees.

In recent years, sous vide has taken off as a way to cook steak to the perfect internal temperature. According to Serious Eats, there are two phases to this process. First, you season the beef and place it in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag to cook to the precise level of doneness you desire. Then, the steak comes out of the bag and into a skillet for searing.

Restaurants that are a cut above
You may opt for a simple, classic method or take advantage of the latest cooking technology to make your steaks. Either way, you can find plenty of ideas by looking at some of the best steaks currently being made by chefs across the country.

Great steakhouses offer a variety of enticing cuts of beef.Great steakhouses offer a variety of enticing cuts of beef.

Food Network declared the porterhouse for two served at Peter Luger Steakhouse in New York City the finest in America. It’s easy to see what sets the dish apart at this institution with a history stretching back to 1887. The hearty, dry-aged cut is half sirloin and half filet mignon, and it’s all broiled in a delicious clarified butter for an unforgettable flavor that you can share. If you have a larger group or exceptional appetites, you can even opt for variations meant for three or four diners.

At RPM Steak in Chicago, diners have options like a 28-day dry-aged New York strip steak, a 12-ounce filet mignon or wagyu beef imported from Japan. The signature dish, however, is The Duke, a 10 ounce rib eye filet. The fat from the beef is rendered, combined with garlic and capons and then brushed back onto the meat with an herb salt. The steak then goes into charcoal oven to add some smoky flavor.

Churrascos in Houston brings some South American inspiration to delicious slabs of meat. The restaurant serves its eponymous steak, a charcoal-grilled beef tenderloin, with chimichurri seasoning and bearnaise sauce. It’s joined by sides of cracked fingerling potato and grilled vegetables. Just be careful you don’t fill up on the plantain chips before your main course arrives.

Boston’s Mooo offers a wide range of dry-aged steaks to match any meat-lovers preferences. There’s rib eye, grass-fed New York sirloin, filet mignon, wagyu and a 24-ounce porterhouse. It’s all tied together by a selection of house-made sauces like bearnaise, bordelaise and barbecue. Each piece of meat is accompanied by roasted garlic and bone marrow butter.

Everyone has a personal favorite cut of steak and a preferred means of cooking it to perfection. Wherever you stand on this eternal debate, you’ll develop the skills to make a variety of great pieces of meat while studying at an accredited online culinary institute. With some ideas from the chefs who have gone before, you’ll find the way to prepare steak that suits your own style.