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"How to Cook Steaks"
Taking the Guesswork Out of Cooking Steaks
If you really want to learn How to Cook Steaks the right way, simply print this information for future reference. Several factors need to be considered when you want to cook a steak to perfection. There are several different cuts of beef that make great steaks. Your main choices are Ribeye steaks, Porterhouse steaks, T-Bone steaks, New York Strip steaks, Sirloin steaks and Filet Mignons.

You will also need to consider the quality of the meat if you want to learn how to cook steaks. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades beef after being inspected. Only beef that is USDA inspected may carry the USDA shield of authenticity. The higher the ratio of fat content (marbling) and the younger the beef, the higher the grade. It is the fat marbling that determines tenderness, juiciness and flavor. The age of the beef determines beef texture and also effects the flavor. Remember that grain-fed beef will have a lot more marbling and flavor than grass-fed beef.

USDA Prime beef is usually only found in your better restaurants and in specialty meat markets. You will generally find Choice and Select grades at your local supermarket. You will find that Prime has the most flavor and is the most tender of the three. Select has the least amount of flavor and has the lowest texture quality and will usually be dry and somewhat tough. Choice falls in between Prime and Select. Needless to say, if you don't mind paying top dollar and want to serve a very delicious steak, make sure its USDA Prime. Under no circumstances purchase a Select grade if you want to impress your friends and family. There is no comparison to a good Prime piece of beef.

Next, you will need to consider if the beef has been aged. What does this mean? If beef is properly aged, the butcher will hang the beef in their meat locker for a period of time before cutting it into its various components. It has been said that four weeks is an ideal period of time to age beef. Aging beef helps to tenderize the meat and intensifies the flavor which will provide you with the finest steak possible. If you have room in your refrigerator, you will find a remarkable difference in the taste and texture of your steaks if you will simply let them age for a week or two before cooking.

You will now need to determine how you will cook your steaks. There are various ways to do this which includes different forms of grilling, frying and broiling. We would like to suggest that you prepare your steaks on a gas or charcoal grill for maximum flavor and juiciness. If a grill is not available, use a broiler versus a frying pan. Place your broiler pan as close to the heat source as possible to sear the steak and to lock in the juices. If you use a charcoal grill, you can also add some wood chips during the cooking process to provide a slightly smoked flavor to your steaks if you prefer. Mesquite wood chips are ideal for this purpose. Make sure that you soak the chips in water prior to using.

Now that you're ready to grill your steaks, how long are you going to cook them. The chart below will provide you with the cooking times required which will be determined by the method of cooking, the thickness of the steak and the doneness preferred. Hopefully, the following information will help you determine how you will want to cook your steak. Remember that each individual will want their steak cooked to their own particular preference.
Rare... Red in middle and red at the edges of the steak (Slightly Warm)
Medium Rare... Red in the middle and pink at the edges of the steak (Warm)
Medium... Pink in the middle and pink at the edges of the steak (Warm to Hot)
Medium Well... Pink in the middle and gray at the edges of the steak (Hot)
Well Done... Gray in the middle and gray at the edges of the steak (Very Hot)
Make sure that you take your steaks out of the refrigerator in time to let them reach room temperature before cooking. Some individuals will marinate their steaks overnight to help flavor and tenderize the meat, especially if it's a Select grade of meat. If you have purchased USDA Prime, simply season and cook. To get those nice square grill marks on your steak, simply rotate your steak 90° when cooked approximately half of the suggested time on the first side.

Example: Grill a 1" Steak to Medium. After cooking 3 minutes on the first side, rotate 90°. After cooking 3 more minutes, turn the steak over. Cook 4 more minutes until the steak is done. Allow the steak to rest a few minutes before serving which will help the steak to retain some of its juices.
Cooking Steaks Chart
All Steaks Cooking Method
Gas or Charcoal Grill
Cooking Method
Oven Broiler
Thickness Doneness First Side After Turning First Side After Turning
3/4" Rare
Medium
Well Done
  4 Minutes
  5 Minutes
  7 Minutes
2 Minutes
3 Minutes
5 Minutes
  5 Minutes
  7 Minutes
10 Minutes
  4 Minutes
  5 Minutes
  8 Minutes
1" Rare
Medium
Well Done
  5 Minutes
  6 Minutes
  8 Minutes
3 Minutes
4 Minutes
6 Minutes
  6 Minutes
  8 Minutes
11 Minutes
  5 Minutes
  6 Minutes
  9 Minutes
1 1/4" Rare
Medium
Well Done
  5 Minutes
  7 Minutes
  9 Minutes
4 Minutes
5 Minutes
7 Minutes
  7 Minutes
  8 Minutes
12 Minutes
  5 Minutes
  7 Minutes
10 Minutes
1 1/2" Rare
Medium
Well Done
  6 Minutes
  7 Minutes
10 Minutes
4 Minutes
6 Minutes
8 Minutes
  7 Minutes
  9 Minutes
13 Minutes
  6 Minutes
  7 Minutes
11 Minutes
1 3/4" Rare
Medium
Well Done
  7 Minutes
  8 Minutes
11 Minutes
5 Minutes
7 Minutes
9 Minutes
  8 Minutes
  9 Minutes
14 Minutes
  7 Minutes
  8 Minutes
12 Minutes
Note: If you're planning to grill your steaks on a gas grill, make sure that your grill is hot so you will be able to sear your steaks and seal in the juices. If using a charcoal grill, make sure that all of the charcoal is burning red-hot before placing your steaks on the grill. If you will be using your broiler, preheat your oven for at least 10 minutes before broiling your steaks.

Article: How to Cook Steaks
Author: Ray Zimmerman
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