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Since cattle were first domesticated in Turkey more than 10,000 years ago man has been in search of the culinary answer to one of the great mysteries of universe - How do you make the best steak? A great steak doesnt need much help but there are some things to look for in order to maximize the flavor.
Pay attention to the grade. The best steakhouses and restaurants choose the highest quality, and most expensive, grade which is known as USDA prime beef. This grade is hard to come by as only 3% of all US beef production fits into this category so its not likely that youll find this at your local supermarket so youll need to find a really good specialty butcher.
The next best grade is Choice grade and this is perfectly fine for 99% of us. The third most popular grade is Select grade and these tend to be leaner cuts. While leaner these also tend to be less flavorful, juicy and tender and are typically found at your local supermarket in the self-service meat case. Not recommended if youre looking to show off your steak knowledge and cooking prowess.
Like a good wine or a good cheese a great cut of beef tastes better with age. There are two types of aging when it comes to steak either dry-aged or wet-aged. Most steakhouses go the wet-aging route. Wet-aging allows the meat to age in their juices by vacuum packing the meat. This aging process not only tenderizes the meat but also intensifies the flavor.
The best steakhouses dont grill their steaks they broil them using commercial grade infrared broilers which produce extremely hot temperatures. You can still cook like a pro without the use of a commercial broiler by using a heavy duty cast iron pan or skillet. Just remember the key is you need to produce lots of high heat and heavy, dense cast iron skillets work wonderfully. Mastering the use of intense heat allows you to cook fast and get the steak hot enough to produce a steakhouse worthy steak.
Preheat your pan as hot as you can. Place the steak in the pan for about 2 minutes. Turn it over and cook the other side for another 3-5 minutes (depending on how well you like your steak done). Once youve reached your idea of done add your liquid (steakhouses tend to use butter). We prefer to use another, healthier popular liquid mixture that is a combination of white and red wine added to some soy sauce. Using the liquids at this stage of the process helps to lock in the flavor and the end result is a juicy steak. Just as in blackening this process produces a good deal of smoke so temporarily disconnect the smoke detectors and open the windows.
Its really very simple to prepare a great steakhouse quality steak that impresses your friends and family once you understand these steakhouse "secrets".
While for most rubs we like to go with 1 tablespoon of rub per lb of meat on steak we like to go a bit less at 1 to 2 teaspoons per pound. We like to season our steaks when we remove them from the fridge and let them warm to room temperature (approximately 30-60 minutes) before cooking. We also like to lightly season them again after their finished cooking and resting.