With the grand stretch in the evening as of late, barbecues are being dusted off throughout the country, so we thought we would share some tips for cooking the perfect steak.
First you’ll need to select your steak. Rump, round, and rib-eye cuts are all good options, but we'd recommend Tesco finest Angus fillet steak, because it's aged for 21 days before you can get your hands on them, making it incredibly tender. Whatever meat you choose, make sure it has a little fat marbled throughout.
For those who hate the fat, try to put those thoughts to one side. It helps to keep the steak juicy while cooking, and you can always trim it off after the grill is finished with it.
1. Pre-heat your barbecue on medium-high heat. Forget about gradual cooking, we're looking for a lot of heat, and quickly.
2. Take the steaks out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature and brush them with a little bit of olive oil on both sides – this will prevent the steak from sticking to the barbecue. If you’ve gotten all fancy on us and marinated your steaks, make sure to drain any excess liquid before you place them on the barbecue.
3. Season the steaks just before cooking, as salt draws out some of the juices from the meat, so leave it as long as you can before whipping on the salt and pepper. Make sure you only season one side of the meat, as there’s no use in the other half drying out while it’s not evening cooking.
4. Place the steaks on the barbecue seasoned-side down first to seal in the flavour. You’ll hear a sizzle as you do this, as the heat seals the surface of the meat and traps the juices inside.
5. Leave them to sear, only turning them over once that's happened so the juices don’t escape. Season the other side just before turning over the steaks, and then it's just a waiting game.
6. Remember, take your time and don’t put all of your steaks on at once. Sure, it’ll save a few minutes, but it’ll reduce the heat on the grill and prevent the steaks from cooking evenly. The extra time you spend over the grill will be worth it, trust us.
When it comes to cooking times, there’s no definite answer for what to do. The general rule for cooking steak is that if they’re about one and a half centimetres thick, you will want to cook them for one to one and a half minutes each side for rare, two to three minutes each side for medium rare, and three to four minutes each side for well done.
If your steaks are closer to two or three centimetres thick, roughly double the cooking time, but these are just guidelines, not gospel. Use your own judgement, but don’t be tempted to cut into the steak to check. This will let juices escape and can make the meat tough.
Instead, just press the centre of the steak with barbecue tongs or fork and if it’s cooked rare, the meat will be soft, if it’s cooked medium rare, the meat will spring back a little, and if it is cooked well done, the meat should be much firmer.
When you’re happy your steak is cooked, take it off the grill and place it on a large plate. Cover it loosely and leave it for about five minutes. While it was cooking the juices were pushed to the centre of the steak so resting after cooking causes the meat to relax and the juices redistribute evenly throughout the meat.
This is a good time to clean your barbecue, but we understand if you’d rather furiously switch your gaze between the plate and your watch.
Before serving, top your perfectly cooked steak with a flavoured butter. The Improper Butter range are a great option, seeing as they’re not only grass-fed and Irish, but they infuse the butters with flavours like garlic, chilli, basil and our favourite, Cashel Blue Cheese. They’re also one of the 70 Irish food and drink companies that have joined the Tesco Taste Bud programme in partnership with Bord Bia since it launched in 2012.
Pop into your local Tesco and try their 100% Irish Angus steak, matured for 21 days to make it the most tender steak ever. Love every bite or your money back.