Steak is one of my favorite things for dinner, so these steps for making medium rare steak come in handy since I can’t always afford to go out for a steak dinner. I’ll be honest, it takes a bit of practice to get it exactly right, but once you get the hang of cooking a steak, you’ll be a happy camper. It’s so much cheaper to eat steak at home and you can enjoy it in your pajamas if you want to. So go ahead, try these steps for making medium rare steak, and enjoy your dinner tonight.
1. Bring the Steak to Room Temperature
This is one of the most important steps for making medium rare steak. This is because a cold steak tends to get really tough when it cooks. However, one that is at about 70 degrees before it hits the heat will cook up juicy and tender. Give your steaks 30 to 60 minutes on the kitchen counter before you cook them. The exact time depends on their size, but you don’t want to leave them out too long or you run the risk of making yourself sick.
2. Dry the Steaks
You don’t have to get out your blow dryer, but a couple of paper towels can’t hurt. If you start with a wet steak, you’ll wind up steaming it, rather than cooking it the right away. Simply blot the moisture from the surfaces of the steak before putting it on the grill or in the pan.
3. Heat the Grill
You should never put a steak on a cool grill or pan. Before you ever put the meat on to cook, make sure the cooking surface is completely heated to high heat. It’s best to also have a pan or grill side that’s only heated to medium. This is because you might want to move the steak to the cooler side if the outside sears, but the inside still needs some cooking time.
4. Press the Meat
Very gently press the middle of your steak. This helps you gauge when it’s done. In general, a medium rare steak will feel fleshy, much like the area between your thumb and first finger. You want the finished product to be slightly firmer than it is when raw, but not too firm or you may wind up with a steak that’s overcooked.
5. Keep a Close Eye on the Steak
Don’t slap your steak on the grill and walk away. That’s a surefire way to come back and find your meat is way overdone. Instead, hover nearby and check it every 30 seconds or so. Only flip the steak once. The amount of time your steak needs per side varies depending on thickness, but about four minutes per side for a one-inch thick steak is just right for a medium rare doneness.
6. Use a Meat Thermometer
A meat thermometer is the best way to check for doneness. A medium rare steak, when pierced at the thickest part, should register 125 to 130 degrees. Unless you want all the juices to run out of the steak, it’s not a great idea to cut the steak to check for doneness. Let your steak rest for several minutes before cutting into it. You can always put it back on the heat if you need to.
7. Salt the Steak
Notice I didn’t recommend salting the steak before cooking. While this is most people’s inclination, salt draws out the juices of a steak, which can leave you with a dry steak if you put it on before cooking. Instead, salt your meat just before eating it.
What’s your favorite side dish with a steak? My go to is a salad and a huge baked potato. What are you cooking for dinner tonight? I’m going for a thick, juicy steak!