Food from the Farm: Good Steak
Good morning friends and local food eaters,
Who doesn't love a good steak?
We wanted to share some of our experiences with cooking steak. We eat steak about once every month or two, and it is a special treat. Generally we prefer cooking ground meat or slow cooking roasts since we know that they are more plentiful from a butchered animal, and we like to save our best cuts for the CSA members.
Our absolute favorite way to prepare steak is over a wood fire.
We love having fires in our fire pit in the yard when it's nice out.
Grilling seems to be the gold standard for steaks, and it's no wonder why. It's easy to sear the outside and impart a bit of smoky flavor while leaving it medium rare or rare and juicy on the inside (which obviously is the way to eat any steak, right?)
A charcoal grill works great, and even better are those fancy Green Egg masonry grills. Those things are the best, and anything cooked on them tastes magical.
But sometimes, we just cook the steak inside on a nice cast iron pan.
Regardless, step one is to salt the steak.
Last year I wrote about salt, the most important ingredient in the kitchen.
Salting ahead, even 20 minutes before you cook the steaks, makes a big difference in bringing out and adding flavor. Coarse, fine, celtic, himalayan, use whatever salt you have, and salt liberally!
Refrigerating at this point is optional if the steak will be cooked in the next few hours. I prefer to leave the steak out, covered, to come to room temperature until it's time to cook.
Next step: preheat the heating surface. Make your fire, start your grill, or turn on your cast iron pan. We let a dry cast iron pan heat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes to get it good and hot.
Then throw the steak on the heat.
Many steak and meat recipes/chefs/connoisseurs will tell you to use a big enough pan so that there is plenty of space so that the meat doesn't touch the sides or each other.
Clearly, I didn't do that here. This is in the name of GOOD steak, not perfect award winning steak. For us every day home cooks, I aim for good and simple, and try not to be a perfectionist.
These were inch+ thick delmonico steaks, so even for a rare finish, they needed over 5 minutes per side. The timing of cooking depends so much on the thickness and cooking heat that you have to constantly watch and feel it to get the browning and doneness that you like.
We are big fans of feeling the steak for doneness using the hand measurement technique like this:
This is a good way to learn how done a steak is by how firm it feels. That way there is no need to cut into it to test it.
After letting it rest for about 10 minutes, we cut and served. One of these ~1 lb steaks would probably be a restaurant serving, but we cut one into portions which fed our family and ended up with a whole steak as leftovers.
MMM! Here, with nicely browned garlic brussel sprouts and a side of kimchi.
How do you like your steaks?
Thanks as always for supporting local foods,
~Brooks and Anna