Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Hot and How Long to Cook a Steak?

By K.C. Kudra

For many of us, getting out that grill is just the first step to making a great steak, and while there are lots of foods that do well on the grill, none of them are quite as good as the perfect steak. However, if you do not know what you are doing, it can be extremely difficult to produce a great steak. Lots of people say they have the best method, but choosing can be pretty tricky. Here is a quick overview of how long and how hot you should cook your steak.

The first thing you need to remember is that the process starts before you begin cooking. The first is starting with great steak, and some people go as far as to buy a whole tenderloin and cut it down into individual steaks themselves.

Choose steaks that are three to five ounces each, depending on who is eating, but always use a consistent size. That will resist in consistent, reliable cooking performance every time you make steak.

After that, you will need to make sure you have got the skills to cook beef on the grill. That might sound silly, but it is more than just heating up some coals and slapping on a steak. Grilling is a relatively simple process, but if you want a steak that is more than just safe to eat, you are going to need to understand how your grill works. This kind of cooking is fast and intense, so mistakes are a lot more difficult to recover from.

Be sure your grill is very hot and your steak is seasoned correctly before you start cooking. Seasoning should be gentle enough to allow you to taste the meat, but strong enough to complement the flavor of the beef. Put the side you would like to show off on the plate down on the grill, and cook it until it is about three quarters of the way done. Then flip it and finish it to your preferences. Grilling beef does not have to be complex if you pay attention.

So, how long to cook a steak, and how hot should it be? Unfortunately, the answers start getting complicated pretty quickly. Usually, all we can say is that you should cook a steak till it is done. However, the process of cooking a steak is something that happens the same way every time, as long as you know what you are looking for. Keep an eye on the changes that happen in the meat to know when your steak is ready for eating.

At 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat proteins will start to coagulate. That shrinks the steak down and makes it stiffer. The sides of your steak will become brownish gray at this point. Later on, at 320 degrees, the sugars in the meat begin to caramelize, which is when we begin to see grill marks.

That is because the sugars are caramelizing. When your steak is nearly cooked, it will begin to bubble as the juices come up from the bottom. That is when you need to flip your steak and allow it to cook the rest of the way.

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