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I am almost ashamed to ask this but....... HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Showing 1-25 of 283 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2012 09:57:50 BDT
Frenchie says:
Hello everyone

How do you cook beef steak?

Hubby is fed up with Qorn, me thinks, and he bought some beef steaks. The last time I tried to cook some, they became as hard as my shoe soles.
What I did is that put some butter in a frying pan, garlic, parsley, salt , corn pepper and put my steaks in it. Cut a little incision on the top, and waited about 5 minutes, then turn over, another 5 minutes and they were really hard. So, I add some water, covered the pan and after 15 minutes, my steaks were so hard. I had to cut them in tiny pieces and disguise them in a curry with loads of vegs.
What did I do wrong?
What I have now in the fridge are two thick slices of beef roast joint, and I think it was the same last time . They look like steaks to me. And they have been looking at me every time I open the fridge for the last two days. But I cannot bring myself to cook them because I do not know how.
You can see, I am not a very good cook. I usually do meat in the pressure cooker and make casseroles, or I buy Qorn - but not the mince Qorn, it is not very tasty. I use real mince meat, at least, this, I can cook **smiles**

Help please? I shall NOT be defeated by two mere slices of beef, in my pursuit of bettering my culinary (un)talent .

Frenchie, formerly French Bookworm in UK, LOL.

Posted on 3 Oct 2012 10:39:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Oct 2012 10:45:42 BDT
pixie says:
Hi French...I'll tell you how I do it and others will have theirs

First take the steak out of the fridge to room temp...1/2 hour
season with salt and pepper, and brush with oil
get your pan nice and need the steak to sizzle
place the steak in the pan and sear for 2 mins..turn it over and sear the other side 2mins, they should be a nice colour
remove from the pan and cover with foil and leave for 6 mins

This is the perfect time for my steak....the whole thing should be 10 mins so if you like your steak cooked more it's 21/2 minutes searing each side then 5 mins rest.

the best website is Donald russell and his info and meat is the best I have ever tasted.

Good luck french!X

edit...I don't know what cut you have so it's difficult but my fav is Ribeye.
You don't seem to eat alot of steak so it is well worth buying the best. Check out Donald Russell, he has recipes and a fab selection of meat. I order from him and it comes beautifully packaged and shock frozen...there is never ant question of you not being satisfied. I once ordered from him for Christmas and the delivery people stuffed up. I rang and explained to Donald and said some of the contents had thawed. they suggested I share my haul with neighbours and they promptly replaced it with no extra charge! boy was I popular!

Posted on 3 Oct 2012 11:41:05 BDT
Don't salt the steak while cooking it; the fibres contract and make the meat tough. Salt it when it's on the warmed serving plate.
Also, it may not be you, it may be the steak. Butchers can be unscrupulous, if you buy it in a plastic package in the cold case, more so. You get what you pay for, usually. If it looks cheap it usually is tough. Go for red steak but not dark red; darker meat is usually from an older animal and therefore tougher.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Oct 2012 11:58:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Oct 2012 11:58:59 BDT
gille liath says:
I'm not clear on whether you were trying to fry or braise them. Assuming it's the first, it needs to be a good quality, tender cut, properly hung, and not too thinly cut. The pan should be smoking hot; I'd use oil, not butter, and I wouldn't add anything else at the start of cooking. I haven't had any problem salting the meat just before cooking, if you salt afterwards it won't be absorbed as effectively.

Bottom line: sounds like either you overcooked them or it wasn't good enough meat for the job.

Posted on 3 Oct 2012 12:09:12 BDT
D. H says:
Hia French,

I agree with Pixie.
1, Always bring your meat up to room temperature and season with salt and pepper, I like english mustard too or marinade first. I generally marinade as soon as I take the meat out of the fridge as it starts coming upto temp the meat soaks in the seasoning making it taste better.
2, I only use a cast iron skillet for my steak and putting it on a large burner and let it get really hot.
3, put a little beef dripping in the pan and throw in some onions once softened add your steak and sear for 2mins either side if there is any fat on it, turn it on its side with tongs and sear the fat too. always take your steak out of the pan and let it rest for 5 mins covered with a little foil.
4, leave the pan on the heat and add button mushrooms and a little red wine to the pan to deglaze and then put a tsp or tblsp of cornflour in depending how much sauce I want to thicken. when thats done I just serve with chips and salad and drizzle a little sauce over top of the steak or make a little garlic butter with parsley to pop on the top whilst its resting.

to check the steak turn your hand upside down so you can see your palm. With your forefinge on your other hand touch the crease inbetween your finger and thumb that is *Rare* move down the heal of your thumb a little *medium rare. and again *tender *well done and then over done. My favourit is tender- *well done.

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 01:19:40 BDT
wobberoo says:
The shame!!

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 10:00:18 BDT
Gordon salts his steaks first and so do I, room temp,hot pan, oil steak not pan, resting. These are important factors, cooking time is personal to individual taste and thickness of said

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 11:06:31 BDT
Frenchie says:
I know! I will never live through the shame of it. This is black on white, on a public forum. A French who cannot cook a steak **smiles** ,but a least, there are beef steaks... oh, I could not forgive myself for trying to cook a kangaroo steak...

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 11:14:34 BDT
Frenchie says:
An update on my steak cooking:

I dutily took out the steaks out of the fridge about 1/2 hr before cooking. Coated them with coarse salt and pepper (next time I will try without salt). I put a little oil in the pan and heat it really hot. I put the steaks in it and they sizzled and got brown quick. Put timer on 2 minutes, I turned them over, another 2 minutes. Cover with foil and waited 6 minutes. They wre a little bit better but not tender.
But hubby has bought some more, so, I'll have plenty of practice. **smiles**

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 12:35:28 BDT
Bearman says:
Sounds like you did everything right second time round, so it must be the cut of meat being used. You could try hammering the steaks with a meat tenderiser next time, though I would suggest a better idea is to choose a different cut of meat. Filet is the most tender, but rump or serloin have better flavour. Ribeye is somewhere between. At the risk of contradicting Orinoco Wonble (sorry), I understand that it is the meat that has been hung for longer that is darker in colour, and is more tender and better flavoured. If you visit your local supermarket, their top brands usually say "hung for 21 days" or similar and are darker than their standard steaks. Also go for thicker steaks as it is much easier to avoid overcooking which makes them tough.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 14:08:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Oct 2012 14:09:11 BDT
gille liath says:
Hey, that's what I said!

You're absolutely right about colour, too. Bright red steak has not been hung properly and is likely to be tough. Dark is best - as long as it's not a dried-out neb end such as you can sometimes get from butchers.

Just goes to show, folks - if you want to know about steak, you obviously need to go to a bloke. ;)

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 15:16:05 BDT
We're both right, Bearman. Here in Spain we don't have the tradition of hanging, so dark meat is old beast. I know that in France and England you consider fresh-killed meat inedible; here that is not the case--though I wish it were.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 17:41:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Oct 2012 17:44:29 BDT
Frenchie? Being as it is your husband who is doing all the fancying and also the buying of the steak, then why don't you ask your husband to cook you a steak first? - just to see an 'expert' in action! ;o>

I tried seasoning steak the Marco Pierre White way - by making a seasoning paste made from a half of a Knorr Beef Stock Cube crumbled up and mixed with a little olive oil then brushed on with a pastry brush. It added a lot of extra flavour - and they were delicious. I like to cook mine until the blood starts to comes to the surface, which is when the steak will be at medium rare - and just the way I love them!

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 18:03:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Oct 2012 18:46:02 BDT
Andy Wales says:
If I read your original post properly, you said that you had " two thick slices of beef roast joint" ! From the sounds of it I think you might be trying to cook this meat in a manner that is not suited to the cut, as roasting beef is normally cut from different areas of the cow and need different cooking from beef that is for frying / grilling!

I would be tempted to go back to the butcher and ask for frying steak such as rump, ribeye or sirloin and then cook these as outlined in earlier posts as I think that trying to cook a roasting or braising cut will always leave it tough!.

If you really want to treat yer man and want to take an easy step in frying beef, try starting with some fillet as this is most probably the easiest to cook and is often the most tender cut, and then move on from there to different cuts.

Good luck


Posted on 4 Oct 2012 18:43:20 BDT
pixie says:
If you go on "thegoodtoknow website they have a video from Donald Russell on how to cook steak. As mentioned though, you may have naff beef, so don't give up french!

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 22:55:06 BDT
happy says:
It's not just cut, but where it came from. Brazilian beef is most probably the best. Scottish Aberdeen Angus is good as is Australian . It needs to be well hung. Otherwise it will be shoe leather. It's better to buy a piece and then cut slices off, don't know why.

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 23:16:13 BDT
D. H says:
I have to disagree with you there Happy cleaner. There is absolutely nothing wrong with british beef. Infact it would be fair to say british beef is probably the best there is. The farms are well managed, the cows are well cared for, there is a huge paper trail for each animal, they are happy strolling around fields eating off the land and grains too and they are not inhumanly treat. Don't fall for the latest fads *angus beef* etc. Remember it's not what you buy thats the problem..generally how you cook it. You need to know what you are buying and ask how best to cook it. that's why its best to go to a butcher. Butchers know what they are selling store staff don't.

Posted on 5 Oct 2012 08:52:42 BDT
Bearman says:
While I am happy to sing the praises of British beef (especially scottish beef), I have just come back from a holiday in New Zealand where I had a steak from a Wakanui Blue Grain Fed cow that was amazing (no antibiotics or hormones used in rearing them).

Suzysunshine - I tried that that Marco PW method too and its great. It certainly improved the flavour of a cheap steak, though I find it a little strong for good steak. My favourite seasoning for a good steak is crushed garlic and black pepper smeared on both sides of the steak foir at least 1/2 hour before cooking, then seasoning with Maldon salt just as it goes into the pan.

Now thats got me salivating so I will have to find a piece of fruit to scratch my hunger itch :-(

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2012 08:55:45 BDT
pixie says:
Try a banana! Lol! They are just the right shape Bearman!

I am always worried if I eat a steak out when the waiter puts down a Steak knife...With Donalds you don't need it and as I am cackhanded I find cutting tough meat difficult. The meal usually ends up on the floo!

Posted on 5 Oct 2012 09:19:16 BDT
Bearman says:
Pixie - you make me blush!

I had a steak at a hotel in the USA once where the steak knives they put down looked like some kind of hunting knife, complete with folding blade - I know I asked for a blue steak, but do I have to kill the cow myself? In the end it turned out to be all theatrics as I could have cut the steak with a spoon.

Now to take care of that banana.......

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2012 09:35:32 BDT
pixie says:
And I bet it was delicious!

Posted on 5 Oct 2012 12:45:18 BDT
Some really good points coming out here and it shows what knowledge we take for granted when in fact it is built up over years of trial and error.

For what it is worth this is my take on finding and cooking a tender steak;

First if you can choose your butcher, look for the number of customers in the shop, it should be busy at peak times with no meat pack special offers plastered everywhere, there really is no such thing as good cheap as chips meat, you usually get what you pay for.

Quick cooking steaks come from the tenderest part of the animal where the muscle does the least amount of work.

Fillet of beef is the most expensive and tenderest as it comes in a long thick tapering strip from along the inside of the rib cage and you can buy it whole or in chunks it can also be found on a T Bone Steak as the small bit opposite the Sirloin.

The downside of Fillet is that it can be too tender and have a mushy texture. It can also lack flavour because of the lack of fat.

Next comes Sirloin then rump rump tends to be the biggest cut but is not the most tender as it comes from the back end of the steer which does a bit of work, I thing the Sirloin is to be really prized.

In any case maturity is very important if not vital. How long has the steer or cow been dead and hung up before the meat is sold. The longer the hanging period the more tender and tasty the meat is. This is due to two factors. The action of lactic acid produced by the meat that breaks it down (the same thing that gives us cramp) and the drying process that intensifies the flavour. Anywhere between 21 and 26 days is usually good and the meat should be almost red to brown and still smell fresh with no slimy feel.

The Aother necessity is fat, all steak including Fillet should have what is known as marbling or very fine lines of fat running through the meat just like when you look at a piece of marble.

It is the fat that gives the flavour and helps keep the meat tender when cooking. Don't buy steak without marbling.

Cooking: keep it simple s little course sea salt is fine, no pepper as this can burn and leave a bitter taste. Bring to room temperature as already recommended and flash fry or griddle depending on thickness for no more than about three minutes a side and that should give you a medium finish just slightly pink. If you like well done steak don't waste your money buy a sausage or something.

The taste should stand on its own and make your taste buds explode.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2012 19:22:47 BDT
Crushed garlic and black pepper, 1/2 an hour before?......
Have you been peeking in through my kitchen window, then, Bearman?!!......HA HA HA!!!

Posted on 5 Oct 2012 19:24:24 BDT
wobberoo says:
Well he better not have any ladders!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Oct 2012 13:47:18 BDT
kate says:
sorry orinoco womble but steak is better when it is darker. it should have been hung for 21 days to make it much more tender but the butcher should know this a little tip for everyone you can fry grilling steak but you can not grill frying steak my husband is a retired butcher hope this helps from kate
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
Participants:  37
Total posts:  283
Initial post:  3 Oct 2012
Latest post:  7 Dec 2012

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