8 Myths About Cooking Steak You Need to Ignore

8 Myths About Cooking Steak You Need to Ignore

Some people are almost religious about cooking steak.

Rules are followed blindly by them, and they don’t question them.

You can find thousands of articles on how to cook steak on Google by typing “how to cook steak.” Most of the articles consist of “pro-tips” that you’ve already heard a thousand times from “celebrity” chefs on TV.

In reality, most of the advice out there is just plain wrong.

Put an end to eight common steak myths by dispelling them today.

Myth No. 1. It is not a good idea to salt steak before it is cooked

Don’t Salt Steak Before It’s Cooked

Salting meat before cooking is an old wives’ tale that is usually repeated without any explanation.

The reason is probably that salting a steak before cooking is a wonderful idea after all.

Your steak will taste better with salt, and it will brown better as a result of reducing surface moisture. Depending on its thickness, salt your steak between 40 minutes and two hours beforehand.

The first few minutes after salting the meat, also called dry brining, will cause moisture to be drawn from the meat.

If you don’t want to cook for long enough, this actually adds to the surface moisture, making it harder to get a good sear.

Eventually, the moisture will be absorbed back into the meat when it mixes with the salt to form a brine. In addition to permeating the meat, this brine also carries the seasoning.

How long should I let my steak marinate before salting it?

Salt your steaks and let them sit uncovered in the fridge for one to two hours if you have time.

With this approach, you will be able to sear well-seasoned meat with no reduction in juiciness.

You can salt the meat shortly before cooking if you don’t have time to do that. Salting your steak and waiting 5 to 10 minutes before you cook it is the worst option.

Myth No. 2. Room temperature is best for steaks

The main problem with this piece of “sage advice” is that it appears so logical at first glance.

It is supposedly more effective to cook your steak evenly and sear it better after bringing it up to room temperature for 20 minutes.

Due to the lack of thermal energy wasted in bringing your steak to temperature, you won’t waste any energy. The heat from the steak will immediately start getting you a perfect sear if it is already at room temperature.

Having tested this out, one of Serious Eats’ Chief Culinary Advisors, Kenji López-alt, found that it fell apart very quickly.

His steak had risen 1.8°F by the time it sat at room temperature for 20 minutes. Despite cooking the steak for two full hours, its temperature remained only 13% below the ideal for a medium-rare steak.

Is it better to sear a steak that has come up to room temperature?

Kenji’s tests again yield a negative result.

Generally, searing is not affected by the temperature of the steak at the start. For the Maillard Reaction to take place, moisture needs to be evaporated.

A lot of effort goes into evaporating moisture.

It’s Serious Eats – J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

A temperature increase of fewer than two degrees will not make any significant difference to the amount of energy needed to evaporate the water in your steak.

Is there anything you should do?

Using paper towels can help remove as much moisture from your steak as possible if you’re looking to perfect your sear.

Alternatively, you can salt them and leave them in your fridge uncovered for a few hours. You will be removing as much moisture from the surface as possible, which will increase the efficiency of your sear.

Myth No. 3. Juices are locked in by searing meat

Juices are locked in by searing meat

For those in the back, let’s say it loudly. Your meat doesn’t become moist after searing because it creates a magical impenetrable barrier.

In spite of being thoroughly debunked from the 1900s on, this myth is still around, originating from an 1840s food chemistry book.

Essentially, browning meat is all about removing moisture from its surface layer and causing the Maillard reaction to occur.

Your steak gets its iconic taste from this process, which rearranges sugars and amino acids. Juicy steaks shouldn’t be affected by this procedure if it is done correctly.

A study by Cook’s Illustrated, SeriousEats.com, and food scientists all found that beef that has been seared later in the cooking process retains more moisture than that that has been seared immediately.

There is a reason why reverse searing is so popular when cooking steak.

Searing meat for what purpose?

Cook your meat well, but do it with the right intentions.

Don’t worry about “locking in juices.” The goal is to remove surface moisture.

Put your steak on a baking sheet that has been heated between 300°F and 500°F, pat it dry with a paper towel, and apply some salt two hours before you cook it.

Myth No. 4. Make sure you don’t flip your steak too many times

As with “searing meat locks in juices,” this one suggests cooking your steak thoroughly on one side, before cooking it on the other, which helps to create that magical moisture seal that everyone keeps talking about.

In addition, it is suggested that it makes your meat sear better. You may find that your steak cooks unevenly if you move it more than once.

Despite the fact that all of that is untrue, none of it is even vaguely accurate.

Keeping your steak from drying out is as simple as flipping it several times, according to food scientist Harold McGee.

A steak is prevented from absorbing too much heat or losing too much heat if it is turned repeatedly during its cooking process. Maintaining the internal temperature of your steak this way keeps it nice and even.

Nearly 30% more time can be saved on cooking your meat with this method.

Flopping your steak more than once may result in your steak not having the grill marks of a steakhouse.

What is the frequency at which I should flip my steak?

You can flip your steak every 30 seconds if you like.

In addition to browning your steak evenly, the constant rotation will reduce the amount of time it takes to cook it.

As much as possible, you want a golden-brown crust, not a perfect cross-hatch grill mark pattern.

It is true that grill marks make food look enticing, but the flavor is missing in the areas between the grill marks.

Myth No. 5. Check your steak’s doneness with the poke test

Do not poke your steak or yourself to check if the meat is done to your liking!

Simply prodding something with your finger is not enough to detect temperature changes as small as 5°F.

Our hands and noses have evolved to feel like different types of steaks according to their textures.

There’s something different about your hands and face compared to almost everyone else’s. The dog also cannot tell what breed of beef is being cooked, what cut it is, or what cooking surface it is on.

Is my steak cooked when it is done?

A meat thermometer will ensure that your steak is cooked exactly to your liking.

Monitoring temperature is one of the best ways to ensure a perfectly cooked steak, as we described in our guide to steak doneness.

Take your steaks off the stove at 5°F before they reach the ideal temperature by using a good instant thermometer.

When they are on their way to the table, they will continue to cook, so you won’t overshoot.

Myth No. 6. When you cut into a steak, you can tell if it is done or not

There are two types of this one:

  1. By cutting your steak and seeing the color, you can tell if it is done”

  2. The best way to tell how well done your steak is is not to cut into it; it will lose all its moisture.”

They are both wrong in equal measure.

You should continue to cook the steak after you remove it from the heat, as we mentioned earlier.

This causes its color to change as it moves. A quick glance at its color is therefore extremely inaccurate for assessing its cooking status.

You could compare it to trying to estimate the time by looking at a picture taken randomly during the day.

You should also remember that your steak is not a water balloon. When you cut into your steak, some juice will spill out, but not so much that you should actively avoid it. When you’re going to eat it, you’ll probably have to cut it into pieces.

Can you tell me what I should do next?

Using a thermometer is the best way to determine whether your steak is done. Don’t sound like a broken record here.

The professional kitchen environment seems to have influenced the development of many of these alternative methods.

A number of TV chefs have shared these methods with their audiences.

When you are at home in peace, you can afford to be more accurate.

Myth No. 7. Following the cooking of your steak, you need to rest it

There will be plenty of controversy surrounding this myth.

It is emphasized in many TV chefs’ recipes and cooking shows that steak needs to be rested.

Resting a steak makes it juicier, which is usually the reason given for doing so.

Various theories explain why this occurs, such as the resorption of moisture by the meat or increased viscosity by the juices.

Despite their claims, none of these theories hold up under scrutiny.

Amazing Ribs’ own Prof. Blonder, Heston Blumenthal, J. Kenji Lopez-alt, and Epicurious have all tested whether resting could enhance the juiciness of your steak, but none of them have been able to prove it.

After cooking, resting your meat has some downsides, according to evidence.

A number of things can cause your steak to go cold, or it can overcook due to heat carryover, or the internal moisture can soften the crust on your steak.

Can you tell me what I should do next?

When you cook steak (or anything else quickly), you can disregard this particular myth completely.

Large cuts like brisket, which are slow-cooked, benefit from resting.

You may want to try Kenji’s alternative method in case your steak loses fluid:

  • The first thing you need to do is sear the steak in hot fat

  • Put a wire rack over a baking sheet with a rim, and rest the meat there

  • If there are any fats or juices left over after cooking, reheat them to a smoking temperature before serving

  • Once the steaks are cooked, pour the sauce over them

A final shot of flavor is added to the steak using any juices lost during cooking.

Myth no. 8. There is a better flavor in the bone-in steak

Steak with the bone in has a better flavor

There is some truth to this last one, even if it is subjective, which makes it different from the others.

There are some people who enjoy eating bone-in steaks because they provide you with lots of gristly connective tissue.

The act of chewing on bones is not at all harmful, as some less charitable people may suggest.

In addition, there are those who would be horrified by the idea of eating meat that has no bones.

However, this myth about steak cooking cannot be applied to anything because it is so general. This kind of advice won’t be useful for bone-in steaks because there are too many types, from too many breeds, cooked in too many ways.

The bone serves as an insulator if we were feeling charitable. Therefore, chunks of meat immediately adjacent to it may cook more slowly. There’s no way this is going to transform cheap steak into something you won’t want to put down.

Do I have to give up bone-in?

It’s okay to cook steak with the bone in if you enjoy it.

The bone-in steak is not for everyone. Despite what you might think, you aren’t missing out on anything fantastic.

It is more important to consider what breed of animal your steak was raised from, as well as the way it was prepared and cooked, than if it had bones in it.

There is no such thing as a myth!

So there you have it. After disproving these myths conclusively, they shouldn’t be printed again, right?

At least we have saved you from having to dig up old steak wives’ tales on your own, and potentially eating subpar steak.

Hope you prepared some delicious beef during that time.

Here are our ten best butchers that deliver steak and a guide to the best steaks for grilling to get you started.

What steak cooking myths should we bust, or which myths have you busted yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *