Steak 101

Tips, advice and recipes for creating restaurant-quality steak at home
Wednesday , 05 September 2012
Executive Chef Nicolas Tabbal
Executive Chef Nicolas Tabbal
Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce
Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce
Garlic and Herb Giant Chips
Garlic and Herb Giant Chips

The Butcher Shop & Grill’s Regional Executive Chef Nicolas Tabbal’s most important piece of advice is simple: “The secret of cooking a good steak is buying a good steak. A great grilled steak begins with a great raw steak,” he declares. With top quality meat, salt and pepper are all that’s needed. You need to have a good look at the meat before you buy, here are the things to be aware of:
The meat should be a bright red, the fat should be a creamy white and there should be thin streaks of fat running through it.
Check the grade, it’ll tell you about the meat quality based on marbling and age. The thickness should ideally never be more than 2 inches, nor thinner than an inch.
Read our top steak tips...

Top Tips on how to handle steak
Remove the steak from the fridge about an hour before grilling so it has the chance to reach room temperature. This is really important if you are going to cook the steak blue, rare or medium rare. A cold steak will contract when it hits the heat and this will cause it to toughen.
Trim the steak of excess fat. Any strips of fat should be about ¼-inch thick. Also, cut through the fat strip at 1½-inch intervals.
Season the steak with sea salt, black pepper or mustard seeds, olive oil or corn oil. Leave it for 5 minutes to enhance the flavour.
Preheat the grill to as hot as you can get it then reduce the heat to the proper setting for the cut of steak you are cooking. Proper heating of the grill is vital. Chef Nicolas recommends using a grill plate with bars, or a char-grill over the heat of a barbeque for best results. Turn the heat to high, as it enables the natural juices to be sealed inside the steak.
Place your meat on the hot grill, cook one side for a few minutes and then turn over and cook for another few minutes (check our timing guide on the next page). When you turn the steak back over, turn it 90 degrees to get the criss-cross grill marks. If the steak sticks when you try turning it, it is not ready to be moved.
If you are able to finish the steak in an oven, do so. Otherwise finish on the grill to the desired cooking level.

Which cut of meat to choose
Layer of fat on one side, good balance between tenderness and flavour. Cook it hot and fast. 
Fillet: The most tender cut but not as flavoursome. Good for grilling and roasting.
Rump: Layer of fat on one side, more flavour but not as tender as fillet. Best for grilling.
Rib eye: Tender and packed with flavour because of its excellent marbling. Best grilled – stays tender until medium.
T-bone: One section of striploin and one of tenderloin intersected by a bone. Built for grilling, generous amounts of fat keep it moist, tender and tasty. 
Prime rib: Not as tender as the other cuts but packed with flavour. Keep it whole and roast.  

Cooking techniques
Some judge the degree of cooking by colour or touch, but internal temperature is really the best way. Invest in a meat thermometer to take the guesswork out of cooking at home.
Very rare blue: Hot on the outside, raw on the inside and the meat will be sort of wobbly. Final temperature should be 40C to 45C.
Rare: Red, cool to warm center and the meat will be soft and spongy. Final temperature should be 50C to 55C.
Medium rare: Red, warm centre and the meat will have a springy firmness. Final temperature should be 55C to 60C.
Medium: Hot, pink centre and the meat will have a less springy firmness than medium rare. Final temperature should be 60C to 65C.
Medium well: Slight pink colour, cooked throughout and the meat will feel firm. Final temperature should be 65C to 70C.
Well done: The meat is grey-brown throughout and very firm and unyielding. Final temperature should be 75C to 80C.

“To appreciate the flavour and the quality of meat do not order or overcook your meat more than medium to medium well,” says Chef Nicolas

Sauces and sides
What’s best to accompany a steak?
The best sauce to accompany your steak will come from deglazing the pan or reducing the juices that collected from the meat while it was resting. Follow your palette: add your favourite herbs, garlic, shallots or mushrooms. 
When it comes to side dishes a lot of people like their meat with French fries – classic steak and chips – but there are various potato options: creamy mash, Dauphinoise or simply baked. For a lighter accompaniment, try corn on the cob or steamed veggies.

INFO: The Butcher Shop & Grill, The Walk at JBR, 04 428 1375; Mall of the Emirates, 04 347 1167; Mirdif City Centre, 04 284 0740,

Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce

50g black peppercorns
2 x 250g fillet tenderloins
10ml beef stock
100ml cooking cream
75g butter
20ml olive oil

Crush the peppercorns.
Heat 50g of the butter and the olive oil in a heavy pan over a medium heat.
Add the steaks and leave them until they start to lightly brown. Turn over and cook to your liking.
Remove the steaks from the pan and keep them warm.
Raise the heat of the pan and add the stock.
Whisk in the rest of the butter while scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the flavours.
Add cream and bring the sauce to the boil and allow to reduce. Serve with giant chips. 

Garlic and Herb Giant Chips

250g potato
100g unsalted butter
50ml olive oil
50g garlic cloves
10g fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the potato and cut into chips 3cm thick and around 10 to 15 cm long.
Soak them in cool water for 5 minutes and then change the water. Once that’s done, leave for another 5 minutes.
Place on a paper-towel and pat dry.
Meanwhile heat oven to 200C and boil water in a pot.
Put the potato chips in boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they become soft, then remove and strain.
Heat a frying pan and add olive oil, butter and peeled garlic. Then add the potato and season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
Cook the potato until it turns crisp and the aroma of the garlic and thyme starts to come through.
Transfer to a baking tray and into the hot oven. Bake for another 10 minutes while turning constantly.

Mushroom and Mustard Sauce

250g mixed mushrooms
20ml olive oil
50g butter
10g shallots
5g garlic
50ml cooking cream
15g wholegrain mustard

Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth.
Put a frying pan on a high heat.
Add oil and butter then shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, season well with salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the wholegrain mustard and mix well.
Add the cream and leave to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until all the flavours and ingredients have combined.

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