Food & Drink

How to Cook Restaurant-Quality Steak at Home

At a recent Snake River Farms event, acclaimed Chef Carlo Miguel dished out a few reminders on how to cook the perfect steak.
IMAGE Snake River Farms
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A steak meal is often celebratory. A promotion, a proposal, a birthday, or whatever other important milestone usually culminates at a restaurant, the shiniest slab of beef at the center of the table. The image of steak has always been associated with some kind of triumph, which makes every bite all the more delicious. It's a feeling usually found at a glitzy location (read: Esquire's best steak in Manila), but apparently, you can replicate it on your own in the comfort of your home. At a recent event at Seventeen O'Nine, Carlo Miguel, corporate chef of the Foodee Group, revealed a few steps to cooking the perfect steak no one can mess up.

Photo by Snake River Farms.
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1| Where you get your beef is crucial.

It's no big secret the key to good steak is good beef. While a talented cook can attempt to hide any flaws in subpar meat with various techniques and extra flourishes of flavor, choosing the right cut and quality of beef is already half the job. These superior standards are usually reserved for top chefs and high-end restaurants, but they're becoming much more available to consumers. Think beef raised with all-natural methods and fed sustainable diets. Top meat suppliers have made shopping online easier and grocery stores have amped up their meat sections with high-end sources. S&R, for example, has begun carrying cuts from the famous Snake River Farms for P1,499 to P1,699 a pack.

Photo by Snake River Farms.
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2| Temperature is important.

Good beef should be chilled not frozen, but when you're at home, you're bound to store your meat in your freezer. It's important that your steak is completely at room temperature before it hits the pan. This allows for easier and even cooking. 

3| Don't overdo the flavor.

The best flavor for beef is beef, so good beef doesn't need to be masked with extraneous seasoning. You can highlight it with a bit of pepper and salt, or even paprika or garlic (Miguel has his own special spice mix, but that's because he's feeling a little extra). His tip: Season the room-temp steak around 10 minutes before you cook it to allow the flavor to seep through. Remember: the thicker the cut, the more the seasoning. 

Photo by Snake River Farms.
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4| The oil won't matter so much if you have butter.

Miguel doesn't have a preference for oil. "A few years ago canola oil was bad, then it was good. I think now...I think it's bad again," he shrugs. "It doesn't matter what oil I use because I finish it off with butter." The chef puts the oil once the pan is hot, cooks the steak, then adds butter, smashed garlic, and thyme. Certain cuts don't even need oil. The striploin, for example, has a thick hem of fat along one side, which the chef places on the hot pan. It releases delicious juices that work so much better than oil.

Photo by Snake River Farms.
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5| The cooking temperature depends on the cut of beef.

Miguel admits knowing the temperatures by look and feel takes practice. You can get a cooking thermometer in the meantime. 

He does have a few tips for cooking different cuts, however. Something like a tenderloin, with barely any marbling, is best cooked rare (at 110-degree Farenheit) since it's already naturally tender. Cuts that have a little more muscle, like the striploin and ribeye, need a warmer temperature to break the marbling down better. If you're not too particular with the cut, Miguel's favorite is the chuck eye log, which is known as the poor man's ribeye. These cuts need a little more work, but they also offer unparalleled natural flavor.

6| Even steak needs to rest.

If you don't want your steak to be a watery mess, let it rest for about 10 minutes on a rack before transferring it to a serving plate. Enjoy.

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