The Top Mistakes You Make When You Cook Steak

Two pieces of steak stacked on top of each other

Cooking a great steak at home looks like it should be easy. All you need is a high quality, MSA grade cut of meat, with lots of marbling, a skillet and oil. Place the steak in the pan, cook for a few minutes, flip it and cook it on the other side. A perfect steak!

It’s disappointing when your fabulous cut of meat doesn’t turn out juicy and tender. Instead, it’s bland, tasteless and tough. No one wants to eat it (except the family dog who thinks it’s heaven sent!)

You desperately wanted a steakhouse quality of steak and ended up with a doghouse one instead.

Here are the top mistakes that a home cook makes when preparing steak at home.

Life’s tough

Yeah, we get it. Life’s tough. But your steak doesn’t have to be tough.
The biggest culprit of tough steak is overcooking. Stop being a zealot and cooking every bit of juice out of your meat. You may get an icky feeling when you see a piece of meat that looks undercooked – with red juice and a spongy interior. Overcook your meat, and it will taste like an old shoe.

Here’s a guide to how long you should cook a 2-3 cm thick piece of steak:

  • 2-3 minutes each side – rare.
  • 4 minutes each side – medium.
  • 5-6 minutes each side – well done.

You spin me right ’round, baby

No. Big mistake. Turn your steak once (that’s right, only once!) Don’t spin it around like it’s a vinyl record. Please, for the sake of your steak, resist the urge to turn your steak over countless times.
Some like it hot
Steakhouses don’t cook sizzling steaks by accident. Super hot commercial grills cook your steak in a flash. Use the same temperatures at home, and you’ll burn the house down.

Even if you can’t cook your steak at the same high temperatures, don’t be shy. Get the pan extra hot before tossing your steak in. The heat will caramelise your steak and make it sizzle.

Bring in the heavyweights

Save the aluminium skillets for another time. Teflon? That ain’t going to stick. You want the big boys (or big girls) of pans. Grab yourself a heavyweight skillet, preferably a cast iron one and make sure it’s hot enough for your steak. A cast iron skillet will retain the heat and caramelise your steak.

Seasoned like a pro

Healthy eating concept with steak. Includes fresh ingredients like corn and eggplant

Want a juicy and flavoursome steak? Season your steak 30-45 minutes before cooking. Add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and leave it to absorb into the meat. No need for fancy seasonings like herbs, chilli or cajun pepper. Keep it simple with salt and pepper.

Guessing game

Some people think that you can tell if a cut of steak is ready by sight. Is it seared? Does it look like it’s done? Forget the guessing game. Invest in a meat thermometer instead.

What temperature do I cook the steak?

  • Rare – 60 degrees Celsius.
  • Medium rare – 65 degrees Celsius.
  • Medium – 70 degrees Celsius.
  • Well done – 75 degrees Celsius.

The rest is history

When you cook steak, the protein pushes the juice towards the centre of the steak. If you take your meat off the grill or out of the oven and slice straight into it, the juice will flow all over the cutting board, which means that your meat will be dry and flavourless. By allowing the meat to stand for at least five minutes, this gives time for the meat to relax and the juice to redistribute throughout the cut of meat.

A medium rare steak has just the right amount of juiciness that you get the maximum benefit of resting your steak.

How long do I need to rest steak?

Prime rib roast:
15 minutes.

Grilled steak:
5 minutes.

Want a steak that’s cooked to perfection? You can try to cook a decent steak at home or head to your local Hog’s Breath Cafe for the ultimate steak experience.

Try our signature 18-hour slow cooked Prime Rib steak, cooked in three mouth-watering sizes including lite cut (200g), traditional cut (300g) or mega cut (400g). For a MEGA meal book a table at Hog’s Breath Cafe today.