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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Steak Rub (and how to cook steak)

Is there anything better than a perfectly cooked steak? Tiger striped, juicy and slightly rare in the middle?   For me one of the best (and simplest) meal is a nice slab of steak served with mash potato or chunky chips.  The best sauce in the world for steak has to be bĂ©arnaise, followed second by pepper and a close third by Diane.  Peas and mushrooms, yes please.

My favourite type of steak has to be ribeye.  This steak has plenty of fat which results in loads of flavour and a very juicy cut.  Cheaper than fillet (unfortunately only just now) you get more for your money and unless you cook it for an hour its very difficult to get wrong.  Due to its high fat content many sources recommend cooking this steak to medium/medium well.  For me however my steaks must be rare.  

Nigella couldn't have put it any other way - "rare enough that a good vet could bring round".

This special rub is from chef Anne Burrell and I first came across it over a year ago and since then has been my rub of choice for all steak.  Easy to make and once you have a batch it will stay happy in the cupboard for a few months while you get through it.  Mainly consisting of salt (meat needs to be salty) and sugar (to guarantee a perfect tiger stripe crust) this rub has the smoky flavour of paprika and warming scent of garlic that infuses in to your steak within 30 minutes of rubbing.  I have never tried this rub with anything other than steak but actually it might work well on chunks of red onion, peppers and courgettes.  Anne created it for ribeye steak and she states that leaving it overnight will give your steaks an aged flavour.  I tend to get my steaks from Marks and Spencer as they surprisingly sell amazing steaks at very good prices, all aged for at least 21 days.  Simply rub in, leave for 30 minutes while the chips cook and sear in the pan.

A few notes on cooking steak.  I would always use a pan of some sort, never a grill (BBQ only exception)  You must heat the pan to as hot as you dare and not add any oil - oil the meat if you must, never the pan.  Once 'shimmering' hot place your steak, presentation side down, and LEAVE well alone.  Start a timer and cook for 4 mins.  Do not touch.  Then turn over and continue to cook for 2 minutes for rare, 3 for medium and 4 for well.  Again do not touch or you will spoil your stripes if using a griddle.  You want the steak to catch in places and slightly burn.  The high heat will sear the steak and it will naturally release itself from the pan.  Finally the most important thing to do is allow your steak to rest after its cooked.  Leave it on a wooden board or warm plate.  I leave for 5 minutes as there is normally other things I need to do while I wait (heat up sauce, dish out mash, etc).

So, if you enjoy steak as much as me why not give this rub a go?

Steak Rub
by Anne Burrell

3 tbsp sea salt (must be sea salt - table is far to strong)
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tsp red (or sometimes called pink) whole peppercorns
2 tsp smoked paprika 
1 tsp garlic powder

Simply place all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind until the peppercorns have broken up and the mixture looks like damp martian sand.

To use, sprinkle as much as you like over the steaks.  I tend to use a teaspoon per steak (so half on one side and half the other).  Rub or brush in with a pastry brush.

Leave for at least 30 minutes.  Store the left over rub in a air tight container.

Then cook your way, or my way, as stated above.