Photography: Ben Backhouse
A thick steak might seem like the sort of food that’s a monthly treat – but it’s time to rethink that. A single 250g, grass-fed, aged-28-days slab of sirloin costs about the same as a Quarter Pounder meal – and unlike Uncle Ronald’s fare, it packs in around 70g of protein, with a punch of healthy animal fat and zero carbs or preservatives. The only catch? You have to cook it yourself – but with a bit of help from Michelin-starred chef Adam Gray, that’s the easy part. Here’s your step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Heat
Before anything else, take your steaks out of the fridge – ideally at least half an hour before cooking, so they’ve got time to come up to room temperature. Next up, put your pan on the hob and give it a few minutes to get as hot as possible.
Step 2: Season
“Brush your steaks with a tiny bit of rapeseed oil, just so they don’t stick in the pan,” says Gray. “Then season them with salt and freshly ground pepper. Do it from a height to get a good spread.” And, obviously, do it on both sides.
Step 3: Cook
Time to sear. Put your steaks in the pan, and don’t let the sizzle intimidate you. “The key is it’s continually hot,” says Gray. “Don’t regulate the heat – just open the windows and get it smoking.” Using tongs, flip them a few times to make sure they’re sealed all over. If your steak’s 2cm thick, cook it for 2min each side for rare, 3-4min each side for medium, and 5-6min each side for well done.
Step 4: Serve
Remove your steak from the pan and let it rest for a minute or two to let the juices settle, so they won’t leak out when you cut into it. For a healthy side dish, fry up some onion and garlic in a pan with a dash of nutmeg and fish sauce, then add spinach and a dollop of double cream. Sweet potato fries optional.
Which Cut To Buy
“It’s from the laziest muscle in the animal,” says Gray. “So it has less fat but also less flavour, and it’s very tender.” It’s also traditionally expensive. Consider serving with garlic butter to add some punch.
“This will be perfectly marbled with fat all the way through. For me, it has the most flavour,” says Gray. Ribeye also works well on a barbecue, if you trust yourself to cook it properly.
The one with the big strip of fat along the side. “It has minimal marbling, so you’ll render the fat first,” says Gray. “Get your tongs and hold your steak fat-side down on the pan.” You’ll use less oil and get more flavour.
The cheapest cut, but also the toughest – it comes from the back end of the cow, where the work is done. One of the more flavourful cuts, it’s better cooked for slightly longer than ribeye or sirloin.
Adam Gray is a Michelin-starred chef who runs healthy cooking courses. He is currently head chef at Bourne And Hollingsworth Group (bandhbuildings.com). Visit adamgraychef.com for more info.