How to cook the perfect steak

By Hugh Judd, Quality Standard Beef & Lamb Foodservice Project Manager

Cooking the perfect steak

Here are some simple guidelines to ensure that you will cook the perfect steak every single time. These hints and tips will take the guesswork out of cooking steaks.



When buying steaks always ask your Quality Standard Mark butcher for advice. The Quality Standard assurance scheme for beef and lamb provides you with high levels of assurance about the meat you buy.

The Quality Standard for beef is the only scheme in the UK to cover eating quality and all the beef carrying the mark is chosen according to a strict selection process to ensure it is succulent and tender.

Before you start:

It is important to remove steaks from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring up to room temperature. Simply pop on a plate, cover and set aside until required

Make sure the pan is extremely hot before cooking the steaks.

Where possible always use tongs rather than a fork to minimise any loss of meat juices

Always oil then season steak on both sides just before cooking. Try not to overload your pan with steaks; this will lower the temperature of the pan and increase the likelihood of the steaks `stewing’ in their own meat juices.

Finally, always rest your steaks for a few minutes after cooking before eating….it will really be worth it!

Cooking time and the touch test:

For 2cm (¾inch) thick sirloin, rump or rib eye steak cooked with moderate heat

For 2-3cm (¾ -1¼ inch) thick fillet and T-bone steak, add an extra minute on each side.

An easy way to test your steaks is to use the touch test. A steak becomes firmer the longer you cook it. You can tell how done it is by the firmness of the meat when you press the thickest part with your finger. Lightly place your thumb and forefinger together and compare the feel of the meat with the feel of the fleshy area at the base of your thumb. As you move your thumb from fingertip to fingertip, the thumb muscle tenses and becomes more resistant just like a steak as it cooks!

Rare: 5 minutes (2½ minutes each side), Touch Test: Forefinger to thumb

The outside of the steak is evenly browned, the centre heated through but still rare, contracts slightly when touched and very pink inside.




Medium Rare: 6-7 minutes (3-3½ minutes each side), Touch Test: Middle finger to thumb

Most of the centre of the steak should be pink, but warm through the middle with a hint of red. This steak should have a firm surface but be soft in the middle.




Medium: 8 minutes (4 minutes each side), Touch Test: Third finger to thumb

Half the rare meat in the centre (which is still slightly pink) is cooked, the steak is resistant when touched and the juices will seep on to the sealed surface of the steak.




Well Done: 12 minutes (6 minutes each side), Touch Test: Little finger to thumb

The steak is cooked right through and feels firm.



After Cooking:

Rest the steaks for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to distribute evenly

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For more information on the Quality Standard Mark visit:

Photocredit Wikipedia/starstone

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