How To Cook Steak For Beginners

Cooking steak
(Image credit: Unknown)

Learning how to make steak is a great place to start when you’re unfamiliar with cooking meat for a couple of reasons. First, cooking is basically about managing heat, and cooking meat is one of the simplest ways to master this simple skill. Second, whether you cook it gently and lovingly in an elegant Le Creuset griddle pan or take it outside and whack it on the barbecue, red meat is a great source of creatine and protein – essentials for building muscle – along with vitamins B, D and selenium.

Half the battle is getting good-quality meat, which is richer in nutrients; the other half is making it delicious. Richard Turner, Michelin-starred chef and founder of the East London Steak Company, explains how to do both.

Pack light

“Don’t buy vacuum-packed if at all possible – it’s usually a sign of large processing plants. Buy from a reputable butcher who keeps his or her beef on the bone, rather than off a supermarket shelf.”

Grass is greener

“Grass-fed meat is always better than corn-fed, and free range is a must. For steak, dark colour is a good indication of quality and there should be a good level of fat marbling present. The meat shouldn’t be bleeding.”

Treat your meat

“The cooking process for any red meat is the same. Let it come up to room temperature before cooking, season it just before cooking and always cook in a smoking hot pan – flick in a drop of water, and if it sizzles it’s ready. Then rest it for five to ten minutes in a warm place before serving.”

All-Star Steak Recipe

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 350g steak
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make

  1. Your aim should be to get a good char on the outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender inside – impossible with a thin piece of meat. Ideally your steak should be at least 4cm thick.
  2. Take the meat out of the fridge ten minutes before cooking. Get the pan really hot and, at the last minute, season the meat well with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Don’t use any oil on the meat – if the pan is hot enough, the meat won’t stick.
  3. Put the steak in the pan, leave it for a couple of minutes and then turn it. Turn it every couple of minutes until it’s done the way you like it. 
Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.