How To

Master chef shares 10 steak cooking myths to ignore to cook the perfect steak

February 27th, 2019

In the pursuit of cooking a good steak, checks try many different methods. Unfortunately, some of these tips are in fact myths. Not only do these steak cooking myths not work, they can sometimes even cause it to take longer to cook a steak. Here are some popular steak cooking myths that are not true.

Avoid Using a Fork to Turn Your Steak

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My Web Vault Source: My Web Vault

The Myth: This myth is partly true. Poking your steak with a fork while cooking it can cause the steak to lose valuable juices.

The Truth: In truth, a steak is filled with many tightly packed sections filled with water. Poking these sections can in fact release the water they contain, but the degree of water loss is so small that the loss of the juices can’t really be detected when eating the steak.

Wait Until After a Steak is Cooked to Season It

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The Spruce Eats Source: The Spruce Eats

The Myth: This myth states that you shouldn’t season your steak until after you have cooked it. The belief is that salting it beforehand can dry it out, thus making the meat tough.

The Truth: Drying out the surface of your steak before cooking helps it to brown more easily while cooking. For best results, salt the surface of the steak at least 45 minutes before cooking. This allows it to dry sufficiently for the best browning.

Steak Taste Best Hot Off the Grill

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The Splendid Table Source: The Splendid Table

The Myth: A steak tastes best when you serve it as soon as it comes off the grill.

The Truth: As a matter of fact, steak served right off the grill is often dry and tough. Allow the steak to rest on a warm plate for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat to relax and the juices to spread back out through the meat after cooking, making the steak juicier.

Flip the Steak Only Once

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Serious Eats Source: Serious Eats

The Myth: One big misnomer that steak cookers follow is the maxim that you should never flip a steak more than once. Where this fallacy stems from is up for debate, but it might play into the erroneous belief that searing a steak locks in the juices.

The Truth: In fact, flipping a steak multiple times while cooking not only helps it cook up to 30 percent faster, but it also cooks the meat more evenly. As a matter of fact, the gentler cooking imparted by flipping the meat allows it to cook more overall.

You Should Marinate a Steak

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Jessica Gavin Source: Jessica Gavin

The Myth: The belief that you must marinate a steak to get the best steak is not true.

The Truth: A common misconception is that a marinade helps to tenderize a steak. This is simply not true. A marinade can impart some extra flavor to a steak, so you can marinate your steak beforehand. If you find yourself ready to cook with a steak that is not marinated, add flavor in the form of olive oil, chopped herbs, or other items after cooking.

Boneless Steak has Less Flavor Than Bone-in

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Serious Eats Source: Serious Eats

The Myth: If you leave the bone in a steak, it will have more flavor. This is due to the many flavorful compounds that exist in the bone transferring to the meat.

The Truth: This myth is in fact false. The truth, when meat cooks it tends to push stuff out, which would prohibit compounds from the bone making their way into the meat. What might be happening is that the bone tends to insulate the meat right next to it, making that particular section of meat more flavorful and juicy.

The Poke Test is a Good Way to Check Doneness

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The Butcher Steel Source: The Butcher Steel

The Myth: This myth states that an experienced cook can tell the doneness of a piece of steak merely by poking it. The belief is that a rare steak feels like the fleshy part of the hand at the base of the thumb when touching it with your index finger. A medium cooked steak is if you touch your middle finger and well-done is if you touch your ring finger.

The Truth: Checking the doneness of a steak is an exact thing and shouldn’t be trusted to such a method. The easiest and safest way to check a steak is to insert a cooking thermometer. Rare meat should be at least 125 degrees or higher, medium at 146 degrees, and well done at 165 degrees.

Searing Steak at High Heat Locks in the Juices

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My Web Vault Source: My Web Vault

The Myth: Some cooks claim that you should sear the surface of the steak to keep more of the juices inside. The searing process creates a barrier that traps the juices as the meat cooks.

The Truth: In fact, searing the surface of your steak when you first start cooking it in no way creates such a barrier. A steak that is cooked more gently and finished with a sear at the end of cooking is more evenly cooked, more flavorful, and juicier.

Cutting a Steak to Check for Doneness Causes it to lose its Juices

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My Web Vault Source: My Web Vault

The Myth: Just as with poking a steak with a fork while cooking it is believed to cause it to lose it juiciness, so can cutting it with a knife do the same thing. and just like with a fork, cutting a steak with a knife while cooking it can cause it to lose juices.

The Truth: And just like when using a fork to poke a steak, the amount of juices lost when cutting a steak with a knife while cooking it is so small as to be undetectable. Normally, you should use a thermometer to make sure that the interior of the steak is done to your satisfaction, but cutting a steak to check this should not affect its quality.

You Should Allow a Steak to Rest Before Cooking

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Serious Eats Source: Serious Eats

The Myth: Allowing a steak to rest at room temperature before cooking allows it to cook more evenly once you place it on the grill. In addition, allowing the meat to warm before cooking it can help it brown better due to the fact that the energy from the heat can focus on cooking the steak as opposed to warming it up.

The Truth: While warming a steak before cooking it can help it cook more evenly, in reality, allowing a steak to sit for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking doesn’t raise the internal temperature of the steak in any significant way. An easier way to bring the meat to a warmer temperature is to place them in the refrigerator the night before cooking.

Source: Serious Eats

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