You Can Make A Steak Better Than The Keg
July 24, 2018in
I'm going to let you in on a little secret here: once you get a few things down right, you'll be able to make steak that is just as good as, if not better than, The Keg or any steakhouse around that level.
I remember when I was younger thinking that The Keg had the best steak in the world. Of course that could partially be because growing up I was used to my dad cooking steak until it was shoe leather, because he is a VERY well-done steak person—but still, The Keg was this glowing place that had epic, juicy steaks that made my mouth water just thinking about it.
As I got older and my pallet got more refined and I started to learn more about cooking, I learned what a really good steak actually was. After tasting my first REALLY good steak, I absolutely needed to have that in my life again. I got obsessed. I started learning more and more about how to cook the perfect steak.
Now, as the person who normally does all of the cooking, I do have to say that I did not learn this alone. Jesse loves steak more than I do, and he actually did the learning with me because he generally does all of the barbecuing. So it's mostly him that is responsible for the amazingly delicious steak that we get to eat that allows for me to not miss The Keg one bit.
So after learning, and lots of (delicious) trial and error, we have come up with a few key tips to making a steak that will rival any chain steakhouse around.
Quality of meat is key. Do NOT shy away from fat. A steak has a lot of marbling is going to be one amazingly delicious steak. Sure, it's not going to win any prizes for being the most nutritionally dense, low calorie food, but if that is what you're looking for, you shouldn't be looking at steak in the first place. The one cut of steak that negates this rule is the tenderloin. It's not as marbled with fat, but is still amazingly buttery and delicious if it's cooked properly (note: it's harder to not dry it out because of the aforementioned lack of marbling).
When steak is aged it gets more delicious, much like a good wine. A lot of higher end grocery stores actually offer dry aged steaks now, so look around and try to not gasp when you see the prices because your taste buds will thank you and shut up your wallet's protests.
Don't skimp on the cut of meat. Strip, Ribeye and Porterhouse have all been great for us in our experience. They have wonderful marbling, flavor, and texture.
I cannot stress this enough, MOST PEOPLE UNDER SEASON THEIR FOOD. It's just true. Watch the food network and watch how heavy handed the chefs are with their salt and pepper. It's not just an ode to salt bae. Give your steaks a really good salting and peppering before you cook them.
The salt will bring out the flavors of the steak and will also give the steak a really nice crust when you make it.
I do want to take this moment to tell you that not all salt is made the same. Do not use regular old table salt for your expensive cut of meat. Smoked salt or Fleur de Sel goes amazing with steak, in my humble opinion.
I know, I know. You've been cooking and smelling the delicious and heavenly wafts of your sizzling steak hitting your nose and you cannot wait to taste it. But do it. Wait. Trust me.
Once the steak is done, sit it somewhere where you will not be tempted to cut into it and let it rest. If you cut into it too quickly all of the delicious juices in it will leak out. You want to give it time to re-absorb those juices.
There are a ton of sites out there that will show you tips and tricks that you can use to tell if a steak is done. Some go by the touch. Some go by the look. Some go by timing, but the only way that is fool proof is to use a thermometer.
If you do not have a thermometer invest in an instant read thermometer. It has made all of the difference in our meals.
So once you know how done you want it, check a temperature guide, such as this one, to see what temperature you need to cook the steaks to. Remember to take the steak off the grill before it reaches the temperature that you want it to be because it continues to cook after you take it off of the heat.
There are other tips that can help, like bring the steak up to room temperature before you cook it. Or don't fuss with the steak. Put it on, let it do its thing, flip it, but don't fuss. Those tips are great tips, but the four that I outlined above are the key ones. Learn those and get those four down pat, and you are going to say goodbye to chain steakhouses because you'll be able to make your own at home, just as good, and for less money.
Now, once you can master the art of delicious sides, like twice baked potatoes, garlic mash, and the cheesiest mac and cheese of life, you'll never miss a chain steakhouse again. So go forth, learn these tips, and make delicious steaks.