| One of the most common questions asked, since the day I stepped into a professional kitchen is ... "How do I cook a steak?"|
Truth be told, there are a million ways, a variety of methods, a plethora of seasonings, many theories, etc. I'm going to suggest the following based on a beef tenderloin steak, but suggest that the concepts can be applied to most cuts of a (quickly cooked) grilled, sautéed or roasted beef cut (nothing braised, smoked or slow roasted, mind you ... those are very different approaches). This recipe is a generalization, but contains enough tips that they can be applied to several different cuts for a delicious well seasoned "beef flavored" steak!
Beef Purchasing Thoughts: Beef is one of those things where you can spend A LOT of money for an aged kobe beef. You can splurge for some organic, grass fed beef (this is what I go for, when I can find it. It's quite good for you, but is a touch more gamey and dry than you might be accustomed to). You can pick up whatever is on sale at the local store, etc. It depends on your price point, as well as ... your dinner guests. Sometimes you want to impress, others ... not so much. For me, personally, no matter what, I tend to buy a whole large piece (tenderloin, prime rib, etc.) of meat, trim it and break it into steaks, myself. It's much cheaper this way. Then, I'm personally in the habit of vacuum packing and freezing my steaks for later use. Yes, this can diminish the quality of the meat, but not so much that it prevents me from doing it, to save some time and money down the road. I live in Mexico and tend to get my meat from CostCo or a local restaurant distributor, but for those of you with access to great butchers or farmers, I suggest striking up conversations with them to see what's available. I've even heard of groups of neighbors getting together and buying whole or halves of cattle from local farmers and breaking them down, themselves. This is a great way to get the best, for less.
Beef Seasoning Thoughts: The whole of idea of crusts, marinades, rubs, spice blends, etc. tend to come from history, where refrigeration was scarce and a masking of the funky flavors of an old piece of meat needed done. Or, the flavorings came from a method of preservation. Yes, these flavor blends ALSO happen to taste really good, but if you've got access to a fresh cut of high grade beef ... you want to taste the beef! A properly cooked and juicy steak seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper will always elicit the same response ... "How did you cook this?! What did you season it with?!" When you say, "Salt and pepper", they won't believe you.