Meat Masterclass #1: Steak

How to pick, prep and cook every meat known to man in our new series

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Every man likes to think he's a meat expert.

Over at the Great British Meat Co, they really are meat experts.

So allow us to bring their know-how and your hunger for it together in this new series, taking every hunk of animal man can eat one-by-one, and telling you all you need to know about how to pick it, prep it and cook it to perfection.

First off, the carnivore’s 'piece de resistance' – steak...

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1 | Remove steak from the fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking to allow it to relax and get to room temperature. Cooking cold steak direct from the fridge increases the chances of burning it: the muscle tissues contract and tighten, making it harder to distribute heat evenly.

2 | Season steak 10 minutes before cooking. That gives the salt a chance to dissolve into the meat tissues and evenly flavour it.

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3 | You shouldn't need oil – if your pan or grill is hot enough and of good quality, the steak won't stick.

Sirloin
The nation's favourite steak thanks to its succulence and availability, sirloin is cut from the 'whole sirloin'; taken from the lower middle of the animal's back. When choosing a sirloin ensure it has the right amount of creamy-white fat edging the top of the steak and marbling throughout. This fat melts when it cooks, keeping it juicy. For something more extravagant, try a T-bone steak, it is actually a cross-section of the sirloin un-filleted, on one side it is a piece of fillet and on the other a sirloin.

Bavette
Popular in France and Latin American, the bavette has thankfully become more commonplace in the UK in recent years. Cut from the flank (in other words the abdominal muscle or belly), this is a relatively long and flat steak that lends itself well to marinating. Because it is from a well exercised muscle of the cow, it has a strong flavour and although it is a good steak for slow-cooking, be careful, it can become tough if overcooked.

Tomahawk
A large rib-eye steak with the forerib left in, and French-trimmed to expose the bone, the tomahawk steak can be difficult (and expensive to source), but it is worth the effort to track it down as nothing beats it for dramatic jaw-dropping presentation. Named after its resemblance to a tomahawk, it is best cooked under the grill served medium rare.


Rump
A cheaper cut of meat but extremely flavoursome. As you might expect from the name, it is taken from the voluptuous derriere of the cow. Generally quite a large steak, it can be cut into strips or chunks for frying.

Rib eye
Cut from the eye of the fore rib, rib eye steaks have a little more fat than other steaks, which helps to keep them moist. They're ideal for barbecuing or char-grilling.

Fillet
The leanest and most tender of all steaks, fillet takes little to no cooking and is the favoured choice for rare dishes like carpaccio.

1 | Good quality steak should be well seasoned and for best results, simply fried. Firstly heat your frying pan or griddle over a high heat until the pan starts to smoke.

2 | Add the seasoned steak or steaks to the pan (never cook more than two at once) and keep them well spaced apart. It is imperative the heat stays high as a drop in temperature will result in the steaks stewing rather than frying and this will impair the texture and flavour.

3 | Once good seared markings have appeared, turn them over and cook on the other side.

4 | Once complete, let the steak rest for approximately three minutes before serving, this will allow the juices drawn out of the meat to resettle within it.

5 | Cooking times depending on the size and thickness of the meat, but for a standard sirloin, the following times are a good guide:

Blue: 1 minute each side
Rare: 1½ minutes each side
Medium rare: 2 minutes each side
Medium: 2¼ minutes each side
Medium-well done: 2½ - 3 minutes each side.

The Great British Meat Company are a family butchers established since 1953 and supply some of the top chefs and restaurants in the country. To buy their 100% British produce and get it delivered free, visit their website.