Monday, March 23, 2015

On Cooking Steak

Since Rabett Run appears to be working on the culinary side, and the first steak has been thrown out opening the barbecue season in the Northern Hemisphere Eli thought he would share a useful trick.

The problem with cooking steaks or roasts is to get a nice crusty outside while leaving the center, well, unshoeleathered, or the inverse, with the center nice and the shade of red you like while the outside is pasty brown.

What the Bunny is about to betray is one of those utterly revolting secrets that works on the thickest steaks and roasts without the expense and time necessary for using a sous vide.

Build the hottest fire you can, or turn the broiler up to nuclear or heat the frying pan red hot  THEN toss the steak into the microwave for a minute to three or so minutes.  Season the steak with salt and pepper and a little olive oil.  The time for microwaving depends on how red you want the center, from blu to rare to medium rare.  That takes a bit of trial and error and the degree of doneness should be a bit less than you want to eat because of what follows. Another benefit is that even for thick cuts, the meat is evenly done inside.  A little more olive oil, maybe even butter and salt and pepper at this point is a good thing.

You then toss the steak onto the fire, into the oven, into the pan, in front of the blowtorch, into the pit of hell, whatever and crust the outside.  This procedure shortens the cooking time by separating cooking the inside and the outside.


Russell Seitz said...

Simpler is better Eli.

The Great Secret is that by transcending the melting point of the iron skillet or broiler pan , you can forego the microwave:

Missing from Myhrvold's opus Magnopere is the MIT shortcut of cutting the steaks or chops exceeding thick and burying them in a scant inch of coarse thermite atop clean magnesia open hearth furnace bricks.

Use a six inch long thermite trail to connect this to the ignition mixture, as barium peroxide is not good to eat.

The steaks or chops should be removed before the molten iron freezes. Adjust salt after cooking as NaCl tends to boil off above 2000C

Fergus Brown said...

Russell reminds me of the cocktail referred to in the excellent Curries and Bugles, a cookbook of the British Rj: no longer have the book, but it included (IIRC) Justerini & Brooks Gin, ether & formaldehyde, or something like that. The author notes that it shouldn't be drunk before playing tennis since it tends to duplicate the ball in one's vision.

BBD said...


Whyever would you want to cook the inside of a steak or beef / lamb roasting joint?

So long as steaks and beef or lamb roasting joints are left at room temperature for 1 - 4 hr before cooking the meat will be *hot* enough at the core by the time the surface is correctly cooked. No need for microwaves.

Fernando Leanme said...

Russel, I have to confess I used your name in something I wrote:

My advice is to forget beef. Cows are huge methane emitters. Do pork ribs and walk up a steep hill, say 3 km in one hour, to make up for the grease.

afeman said...

This is a slightly more involved version of how I like pork chops. High and low heat in a pan suffices.

And if anybody missed this:

Jeffrey Davis said...

Unless you're Ruth's Chris, cooking steaks will remain an art because you'll never know how much water is in the meat. My best efforts involve searing the steaks (1.5" tenderloin filets) in a cast iron pan on the stove top and then sticking them in a 500 degree over for 11-13 minutes. You'll want to tent the pan with aluminum foil because there's an enormous amount of spatter in steaks that will just coat your oven and give everything a meaty flavor for months. 11 minutes is a little purple. 13 minutes threatens to be well-done. A wrapping of bacon is a good hedge since tenderloin can be a little bland. You can't be sure of the time because of the water issue. Ergo, art and guesswork.

Of course, salt and pepper before searing. I like coarse salt and finely ground pepper.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

I love steak.

Brian said...

Given enough time, all blogs eventually start putting up posts about the authors' favorite recipes, and pictures of their pets (I posted one of a salamander in our compost bin). All blogs.

I wonder who will do it first at RealClimate.

Russell Seitz said...

If Aristotle is to be believed ( works for Willart Tony's Cohort ) thermite may not be hot enough to cook a salamander .

Under no circumstances should thermite be applied to the Easter Bunny.

EliRabett said...

What does Willard know about salamanders

cRR Kampen said...

Wow. This will be QA'd :)

Anonymous said...

What BBD said, and what Jamie shows:

Take the freaking steak out of the fridge for a while.

And that's the memo.