I love to cook. I love to cook things that lots of people don’t even realize that you can cook for yourself. I make my own salad dressings, like ranch and Russian. I make my own mayonnaise, yogurt, bacon, corned beef, and lard. This love for doing it myself began way back when I first started to smoke meats.
When a guy gets a grill, even if it’s the 25 dollar special from Woolco, he begins to appreciate the art that is cooking. I remember way back when, and I had no idea what meats you bought when you grilled. I think the first thing I ever bought to grill was beef, but it was not a steak cut, it was incredibly thin, and after a few minutes over the charcoal it became as tasty as shoe soles…back then I thought that cooking was complex. I thought that if I didn’t know how to make a steak taste wonderful that it must be because I didn’t know what spices to use. More must be better, I thought.
More is not better. Nothing in the world could be easier than cooking a steak, and you don’t even need a grill.
Here is how to cook a five star restaurant steak and not leave your kitchen. First, get a good cut of meat. Buy a ribeye and don’t skimp. I happen to have good grass fed beef, but you can get a good thick Angus cut at the meat counter at the grocer. Make it at least one inch thick. One good steak will easily feed two hungry diners.
When you get home put a black cast-iron Lodge skillet on medium heat to warm up. Put two tablespoons of your favorite natural fat in it. I have used butter, bacon grease or lard for this. Don’t use cooking oil or margarine, splurge for real fats.
While the pan is warming, dry any liquid off the top and bottom of the steak and sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides of your meat. I use Kosher salt because you can see how much you are putting on. I use a pepper mill for the same reason, and so that the pepper is freshly ground. Let the meat set and absorb some of the salt.
Once the fat starts smoking just a little bit you can put the steak on the pan. Set a timer for six minutes, make sure you fire or heat is on about mid way between off and rocket hot. Don’t move the steak for six minutes. When your time is up, turn the steak over, reset the timer for six more minutes.
After the time is up the second time, take the steak off and set it aside under aluminum foil or a dish towel to keep the heat in, you are going to rest the steak for five minutes. This five minutes is the most important five minutes, because the moisture in the steak will move back into the meat. If you cut it too soon all the juices will escape. After five minutes your steak will be perfectly juicy, when you cut it it will glisten and each bite will be awesome.
Now you are going to deglaze the pan. While it is still hot, after you have taken the pan off the flame, you are going to put a liquid in it so that you can collect all of the juices and brown bits that are flavoring the pan. I have used cognac, wine, whiskey, bourbon, and vegetable soup to do this job. While the pan is hot you put the liquid in, it foams and steams and you scrape the bottom of the pan to get the brown goodness off. Sometimes then I put a cup of cream in to make a gravy. I cook the cream down until it will coat a spoon. Generally I will take the rested steak and cut it into bite size pieces, against the grain. I will put the sliced steak back into the warm cream sauce to warm. When my guests take what they want from the sliced steak I always end up with more steak left over than you would think. Two Kansas City strips can feed four people, three can feed more than six. Your results may vary, but it is really surprising how much meat there is in a steak usually used to feed one diner.
Now you are ready to really eat. Real food, cooked simply, is the greatest discovery you can make in your kitchen. There is no need for anything complex to create something that tastes complicated. Surprise yourself this week. Cook a great dinner.