My golden rules for perfect steaks

Updated on 09 March 2011 | 0 Comments

Follow these golden rules and, no matter how rare or well done you like your steak, it will always turn out perfect!

Steak and frites. There is no better. The dish has it all, meat, blood, fat, charring and all served with (preferably) triple cooked frites. Seriously, the French have it good.  Let’s take a dive into a pool of steak analysis.

Choose your meat carefully

A cow reared for consumption should be treated with respect. And respect for me means treating the animal well during its living years and getting the most out of the animal in terms of preparation (hanging for flavour). Over at Cowdray Farm in Midhurst they practice what they preach, with grass fed cattle, reared on the estate in a calm environment.

Not only that but they also prepare the meat correctly by hanging it for 5 weeks to develop the flavour.  We tip our hats. 

Different cuts

How do you like your steak? Personally, I like mine with plenty of marbling running through it. Marbling, also known as fat, equals flavour and in turn keeps the steak naturally basted whilst it cooks. The perfect cut for the job in this instance is a rib-eye. Here’s my take on the various cuts: 

Rib-eye - Great marbling, probably the most flavour and tender. It ticks all the boxes.

Sirloin - Usually good marbling and bags of flavour. Plenty of fat on the edges to gnaw on.

Fillet - Lean, tender and cuts like butter if cooked to perfection (which is no more than medium).  You do forego some flavour.

Rump - Stacks of flavour and good fat content. It will go very tough if cooked beyond medium.

Onglet - A real ‘gamey’ flavour and must be cooked rare to medium rare to ensure tenderness. 

Well done is not an option

So with the farmers at Cowdray Farm doing their bit, we should endeavour to do ours. Our responsibility arrives in the form of correctly cooking the meat. Please. Please. Please, step away from the ‘Bien cuit’. What use could we possibly have with a chewy piece of meat? 

A steak should have a caramelised and charred outside with a slightly rare, bloody and juicy centre for maximum flavour and enjoyment. This is known as medium rare. If you’re a little squeamish go for a medium at least. We owe it to the cows (man). 

Here’s a lowdown on cooking method for steaks around 1 inch (3cm) in depth. 

Rare – one and a half minutes on each side.

Medium rare – two minutes on each side.   

Medium – two and half minutes on each side.  Three minutes each side if you prefer just over medium.

Well done – I just can’t bring myself to write about it. 

My five golden rules 

However you choose to cook your steak though just follow these golden rules: 

1) Always get the meat to room temperature before cooking.

2) Get your pan or griddle smoking hot before you start.

3) Very lightly oil the steak and not the pan.

4) Season before cooking.

5) After it’s cooked, rest the steak for at least 5 minutes before eating. 

Tell us your tips

Do you have any tips of your own on how to make the perfect steak? What is your view on how well steaks should be cooked? Let us know your thoughts using the comments box below!  

Also worth your attention:

Of course there are alternatives in life and steak can be used in stacks of other dishes. This homely beef stew and whisky glazed brisket are perfect recipes for using tougher cuts. 

Or this stir fried noodle dish by Jamie Oliver is a great alternative use for rib-eye steak.


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