How to Cook the Best Steak: Tips and Advice

It is notoriously difficult to get steaks right – sometimes it’s too hard and chewy, other times it’s bland and far from juicy. How can we best cook steaks? Here are a few tips from renowned chefs and experts.

Sit the meat outside of refrigerator

Take your steak out of the refrigerator and place it in room temperature approximately one hour before cooking. “Frying or grilling it from cold will stop the heat from penetrating to the middle as efficiently,” said Jamie Oliver.

Pick the best pan and heat it up

“A heavy-duty, thick-based frying pan, ideally with a non-stick coating, will achieve good results, as will a heavy griddle pan or skillet,” said Natalie Hardwick of BBC GoodFood. Heat the pan (or griddle or barbecue) up before putting the meat in to get a juicy, caramelised taste from the meat.

Cook the steak

Take a look at the BBC GoodFood’s guide; cook a 3.5cm thick fillet steak:

  • Blue: About 1½ mins each side
  • Rare: About 2¼ mins each side
  • Medium-rare: About 3¼ mins each side
  • Medium: About 4½ mins each side

For a 2cm thick sirloin steak, cook:

  • Blue: About 1 min each side
  • Rare: About 1½ mins per side
  • Medium rare: About 2 mins per side
  • Medium: About 2¼ mins per side

Feel the meat (or take the temperature)

To make sure your steak is cooked to your liking, feel it with your fingers, Hardwick said. “When rare it will feel soft, medium-rare will be lightly bouncy, and well-done will be much firmer.”

However, others said feeling up the steak could be a little difficult, especially for untrained cooks. “Just take the steak’s temperature and know for sure,” said Dawn Perry of Bon Appetit. For a medium rare steak, remove from the pan at 60°C or 140°F; for medium, 68°C or 155°F; for well-done, 75°C or 165°F.

Let the meat rest after cooking

Do not cut the steak right away – let it rest for about 10 minutes to get the juiciest, most tender steak. It would not get cold – instead, it would reabsorb and redistribute the juice.

Joseph Campbell

Hi there! I'm Joseph Campbell, a Sydney-based writer and food blogger. Follow me each week as I take you around on my food adventures.