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SUCCULENT STEAK STILL SIZZLES
A MAN VS MACHINE STEAK-OUT CHALLENGE
Photography by Craig Landale
As restaurateurs know, a picture of a perfectly cooked succulent steak is still an image that’s known to entice diners through the doors of their establishment.
Recent reports state that the consumption of meat has risen worldwide over the last 50 years, and burgers AKA “Dude Food” is seeing a rapid recent trend spike. What’s interesting to note is that beef accounted for 40% of meat consumption in the early 1960s, making it the most consumed meat. Also it’s worth noting that 286,200,000 tonnes of meat products were consumed globally in 2010.
Although it’s not as popular in Asia or Eastern European countries, beef steak is still consumed in vast quantities throughout the US, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe. A sizzling steak is a firm favourite on menus across the UK, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg.
How to cook the perfect steak
Of course, this depends on your idea of perfect so we got in touch with Fresh Food Guru Andrew Gordon who comments, “My preference is to let the steak come to room temperature and then oil & season it or brush with an oil based marinade. I am also a fan of cooking dirty which is straight onto the coals on the BBQ”
How long you cook your steak depends on taste. As a guide, these are the times we were recommended for a 2cm thick sirloin.
- Rare: approx. 1½ mins each side
- Medium rare: 2 mins each side
- Medium: about 2¼ mins each side
- Well-done: 3+ mins
Obviously, this is only a general rule, and cooking times will depend on the thickness and density of the meat. So how do you know if your steak is ready to serve? You can use a meat thermometer, though you’ll have to poke a hole in your steak to do this.
Try the finger touch test
The best method to check if your meat is cooked to your taste is to touch the steak and see how much resistance it gives. Now compare this with the famous finger test. With the index finger of your right hand, touch the fleshy raised area of your palm below the thumb of your left hand. This is how raw meat will feel.
Now gently press the tip of your index finger and thumb together on your left hand. When you touch the same palm area, you’ll find it’s now slightly firmer to the touch. This is what a rare steak should feel like.
For a medium rare steak, place your middle finger against your thumb. The same fleshy palm area is now even firmer. Getting the hang of it? Your ring finger against your thumb will give you the resistance of a medium steak and your little finger that of a well done steak.
The steak-out test
To put all this "chef stuff" to the test we take a novice cook from the MWS team and invited a few hungry lads around for a bit of world cup action. Steak and nothing but steak was on the menu and with a ‘Man vs Machine’ theme, we use the good old frying pan and the Tefal OptiGrill.
Frying Pan – Ok so the finger touch test is a cool little trick but it proved harder than we thought. When you’ve got 3 pans on the go with 6 steaks, it can get a little tricky.
"The main problem is hesitation or spending too long testing one while the others are cooking"
When doing a medium rare and you think “I’ll give that a bit longer”, you quickly have a situation where the steak has become medium to well-done. However, it was a 65% success in the end which is not bad at all.
Tefal OptiGrill – On first impression we wondered if a machine could get it 100% right and if all the flavoursome juices would be kept, especially since we’re using steak cuts at different shapes and sizes.
"The machine is super easy to use and has ‘Automatic Sensor Cooking’ to work out the thickness and temperature of each of the meats"
Thankfully it’s fool proof since at each stage of the cooking process, rare to well-done, an LED Indicator changes colour and beeps to inform you it’s ready.
Amazingly the steaks were 100% perfectly cooked according to each preference with all the tasty juices remaining as if it had been served at a fancy restaurant by a top chef. A lot of the fatty juices are drained into a drip try (for all you health conscious guys) too.
You’ll also see from the pictures that it’s definitely a guy friendly machine with some unique stylish design features. The metal grid plates also click off for easy hassle-free cleaning - a thumbs up from us!