How to cook the perfect steak

There’s nothing like a perfectly cooked charcoal grill steak, but if you’re living in a flat or apartment you probably have to get by with a pan and stove which, along with a piece of well selected steak, is all you’ll need to cook the perfect steak. This is my guide on how to cook the perfect steak in six steps.

1. Select your steak

The perfect steak requires good beef. There are a few factors that affect whether your steak will be good including: the breed, length and method of aging and the way the animal was raised, fed and slaughtered.

For best results, get dry-aged steak from a butcher. Most butchers will be able to tell you the breed and length of ageing. The steak should be dry aged for at least 3 weeks. If you want to know where to find a good butcher, check out our list of butchers here.

If you like tender steak more than tasty steak then go for fillet, if you prefer taste then go for Sirloin, Rump, Flat Iron or Rib Eye.  I usually go for a rib eye for the ideal combination of taste and tenderness.

An image of a longhorn rib eye steak
A fantastic dry aged Longhorn Ribeye steak

2. Rest and salt your steak

Rest your steak on the bench for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help bring the steak to room temperature, remove some surface moisture and promote even cooking. Use rock salt or pink Himalayan salt and season generously. 

3. Cook your steak

Cooking time will vary by the heat of your appliance, the pan your are using, the thickness and the type of your steak you have. But there’s two important things you need to do: 

  • Set your stove element to the hottest temperature possible (if gas, set it to a medium-high heat) and get the pan as hot as possible. Avoid oils, butters or fats unless meat usually sticks to your pan.
  • Flip the steak every minute until you get to your preferred ‘doneness’ or temperature (see step 4).
A gif of ribeye steak being cooked
I love a bit of smoke: cooking the rib eye steak

4. Check temperature or ‘doneness’

I strongly recommend that you don’t cook your steak any more than medium because you want to keep the steak juicy and tender. After all, overcooking meat is murder.

Cooking time varies by appliance, so if you aren’t sure how to get your steak to the right temperature there’s two approaches you can use:

  1. Use a thermometer: You’ll get an accurate temperature, but also a puncture wound to your steak. The temperatures in the table below give a guide to how the steak will turn out.
  2. Use the finger touch test: If you want to avoid puncturing your steak you can use the finger touch test to get a feel for the temperature of your steak. You can also see the table below or the video further down.

5. Rest your steak

Resting your steak after you’ve cooked it is super important and is something that too many people forget. The sign of a poorly rested steak is when you cut into it and it the juices pool onto the plate. We want to keep the juices in our steak.

As a rule you should rest your steak for as long as you cooked it. To avoid the steak getting cold while resting:

  • Rest the steak in a warm  place or a warm oven (set at the temperature you’d like your steak – for example around 50 degrees for rare to medium rare steaks.
  • Rest the steak on a wood cutting board and tent the steak with foil (don’t wrap it)
  • Serve the steak on a warm plate
An image of the longhorn rib eye steak
The longhorn rib-eye steak resting and almost ready to be eaten

6. Enjoy your steak

The easiest part  (provided you’ve followed steps 1-5). Enjoy your steak and comment below to let me know how it was. If you want to  eat out at a fantastic steakhouse then don’t forget to check out our top steakhouses – especially our top 10 London steakhouse list.

What about the steak sauce? I’m a firm believer that you only need steak sauce for bad steak. A good, tasty steak should be a delight on its own. But, if you really want passable sauce recipes you can check them out here.

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