Smart Living

How to cook a steak with Neil Rankin

Tried and failed to cook a steak well? Try these quick and easy tips from the chef director at Temper, and you'll be frying with the best of them

We might not all be master chefs, but we can certainly fake our way through a few dinners with some quick pro tips. So here’s a big one: how to cook the perfect steak. It’s certainly a challenge, but we’ve roped in one of our favourite chefs and meat aficionado, Neil Rankin, to give us some tips. 

Get prepped

Preparation begins long before you even step foot into your kitchen with your choice of cut. Walking into a butcher’s shop with massive chunks of beef strung up above the counter can be intimidating if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. But Rankin has made the decision easy for you: ‘My favourite prime cut is sirloin,’ he says. ‘I’m also a huge fan of skirt.’ They’re easy to cook, no matter the thickness, but aim for your steak to be roughly an inch thick with as much surface area as possible. Then stick with some simple seasonings. ‘I don’t use marinades for steaks, ever,’ he adds.

Smoking hot

Use a gas burner (if possible) with a cast iron pan. Turn up the heat to medium-hot. ‘If the fat burns black, turn it down.’ Rankin says. ‘If it doesn’t sizzle, turn it up.’

Time is of the essence

The amount of time it takes your steak to cook depends on its size, but cook it on high heat until all surfaces of the meat are coloured, and then switch to a low heat until the meat reaches 50℃. When you’re near the point of your steak being fully cooked, turn the stove off. ‘Never rest a steak,’ Rankin says. ‘Instead, undercook it.’ Allow the steak to finish cooking on its own internal heat rather than letting it rest after it’s already cooked completely.

The moment of truth

What’s the best accompaniment to a good steak? Rankin’s with us: ‘A side of chips, a bit of béarnaise sauce and a bottle of California Zinfandel.’ Enjoy.