Meat is so mysterious, there can be so much guesswork involved when attempting to cook it to perfection. I’m speaking from experience, I’ve overcooked my fair share of meat in my time – steaks have been transformed into chewy pieces of grey matter and some chickens were cremated by mistake. Don’t worry – we hate wasting food as much as you do, we always eat our mistakes, as punishment.
Food Probe Thermometer
We looked into getting a digital meat thermometer in the past to avoid this, but then we’d cook a finger-licking chicken and quickly forget all our burnt blunders. The memories came flooding back when I was invited down to Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
to learn how to cook the perfect steak, with the help of Thermapen’s digital food thermometer.
Cooking the Perfect Steak
Steak has to be one of the simplest and most satisfying dishes you can prepare at home (when you get it right).
I’ve tried a number of methods to make sure our steaks are cooked to perfection, the finger and thumb technique
, cutting it in half to take a look, and crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. Each approach has worked on occasion, but I’ve never been able to achieve consistency.
Where to buy your steak?
To cook the perfect steak, you need to start with high-quality meat. The best techniques in the world won’t turn a sorry steak into a mouth-watering meal.
If you’re planning a steak-night and don’t already know your butcher, we suggest becoming acquainted with them. Your butcher will be able to cut you the perfect portion size and tell you how long the meat has been aged for, which is important to consider as ageing improves the taste and tenderness of the meat (as a rule, 21 days is minimum and 35 is maximum).
were on hand at the steak masterclass to bring us up to speed on the different cuts and what to look out for when selecting a steak. If sirloin is your steak of choice, make sure you have a good amount of fat and marbling to maximise the flavour. The marbling melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from the inside.
Preparing your steak
Marinating your meat is optional, we’ll do this on occasion if planning on slicing and incorporating into a larger dish such as tacos.
If you’re looking for a classic steak and chips, then we’d suggest nothing more than good quality olive oil, salt and pepper.
Make sure the steak is at room temperature before you start cooking it (another handy use for the Thermapen).
oil and season one side of the steak, then season the other side when you put in in the pan.
How to cook the perfect steak
- Get your griddle or frying pan over a high heat, until smoking hot.
- Only cook two steaks at a time on a pan to avoid reducing the heat and stewing your steaks.
- Resist the urge to poke, prod and lift your steak.
- Only turn once you have achieved a good sear and cook the other side.
- Take your pan off the heat.
- Grab your Thermapen (or get ready with the finger technique) and test for optimal temperature by probing the thickest point.
- For rare aim for 52°C and for medium-rare, you should be looking for 56°C.
- When checking the temperature, you’re best knocking off four or five degrees, as the steak’s temperature will continue to rise as it rests.
- Letting your steak rest is essential when aiming to cook the perfect steak, I know you want to eat it straight away, but resting will allow the juices to be drawn back into the meat making for an even juicier steak.
- As a guide, let your steak rest for a third of the cooking time, wrap in foil to help retain the heat and get cracking on your sauce.
The perfect sides with your steak
Potatoes need to feature in some form or other, along with a nice crisp salad and a generous dollop of mustard.
In our steak masterclass, we learned how to make four sauces (peppercorn, red wine jus, salsa verde and chimichurri). Having never made salsa verde for, we were keen to give it a shot.
I teamed up with Gluten Free Edinburgh
and carried out some high-speed chopping of our ingredients.
Salsa Verde ingredients:
- 2 anchovies
- 2 tsp capers
- Small clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- Half tbsp chopped coriander
- Half tbsp chopped tarragon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
The salsa verde turned out pretty damn good, I’ll definitely be trying this again at home.
What to drink with your steak?
Wine is a classic, but this evening it was all about local beer from Barney’s
and Edinburgh Beer Factory
. I’m a huge fan of both breweries and am no stranger to pairing steak with beer. When we finally sat down to tuck into our steaks, I grabbed a Barney’s Capital Porter
to accompany my steak. Delicious.
Thermapen Kitchen Thermometer
If you search for the best digital food thermometer online, you’ll often find glowing reviews for Thermapen’s range. After using one for the past few weeks, it’s easy to see why.
I’ve used it for chicken breasts and steak so far – it’s worked like a charm. Previously I’d be cutting deep into the chicken and letting the juices escape, but now I’m placing faith in my gadget and eating consistently succulent chicken. It’s been helpful with some of the thicker steaks I’ve cooked but isn’t really needed for the thinner ones that fry in a flash.
Roll on roast time, I can’t wait to take the guesswork out of a huge chunk of meat.
retails at £51.60
, which is a significant investment, but it’s one I think would pay off. We’ve used ours almost every day and can’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Why use a Food Probe Thermometer
- It takes the guesswork out of cooking.
- It’s simple to use, just poke into the meat and you’ll get a temperature reading in seconds.
- It’s not just for meat, you can use it on sweet treats too!
- Cook your pork slightly pink, whilst making sure the temperature reaches a safe level.
- Take the stress out of the Christmas dinners and other special occasions, have confidence that your roast will be cooked through without drying out.
- Make sure reheated food is piping hot throughout, no more burning the tip of your tongue to test it out.
Other uses for a digital food thermometer
- Making jam, marmalade, toffee or caramel.
- Baking bread, cakes or cheesecakes.
- Check the water temperature for boiled/poached eggs.
- Reheating leftovers.
- Checking the bathwater is just right.
- Preparing porridge for Goldilocks.
For more information on Thermapen, visit their website