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Steak help?


stevembk

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For some reason, i can never get around to buying and preparing steak. Its not just cooking it, I can get recipes online. I am just completely clueless when it comes to choosing what type of cut and how much. I don't know how thick/size it should be, what price's are good or what quantity to get to eat that night and or save for multiple meals.

 

Budget is also a big part of my problem. I have been on paleo for about a month but am unable to afford high quality grass fed beef. I usually look for ground beef or turkey that is less than $4 per pound.

 

Could any of you offer me some advice, guides or tips on what I should be looking for, recipes and how you prepare steak?

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I buy steak once a week from the local butcher - not grass fed, but not from a huge midwest factory farm, either. Anyway, every week I buy about 1.2 pounds of what they call "Flat Iron Steak" - it's similar to a skirt steak or flank steak, but seems a little more tender. Anyway, that amount provides dinner and lunch the following day for both my husband and me. It's typically $6.75/lb where I buy it.

 

If I remember, I'll start to marinade it on Sunday morning. If not, I'll just throw on some seasoning at the last minute. I like to have pre-mixed seasonings on hand - I've bought a few through myspicesage.com since they don't have any added chemicals (at least not the ones I've bought), or I'll mix some up from recipes I find online and keep them in glass jars (I do this for taco seasoning and onion soup seasoning). I've liked all three of the marinades on this list  and tried a bunch of the marinades on this list .

 

Another hint is to figure out what day your local grocery store puts meat on sale. When I was in high school, there was a period where both of my parents were unemployed, and ironically, we ate steak all the time, since my mom would stock up on it when it was reduced to sell at the store. You can get steaks as much as 75% off this way and then just freeze them until your ready to use them.

 

The only other advice I have is to not overcook your steak. If I'm cooking it on the stove, I usually heat up my empty pan for a minute or two on high, then throw the steak on, wait about 30 seconds, then flip it, wait another 30 seconds, then lower to my actual cooking temperature. This helps seal in the juices. Flip the steak with tongs so you don't open up the inside and let the juices pore out, and invest in a meat thermometer to get a perfect steak. We cook ours to 145 degrees F, which is somewhere between medium and medium well.

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Luke - that is epic. I'm sending it to my husband right now.

 

Also, serve your steak with sweet potatoes. Because sweet potatoes are the best. I'll slice a bunch pretty thin, spread them out on a baking sheet, and then top with olive oil and taco seasoning then just bake until they're done.

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Will the packaging say "skirt", "flank", or flat iron"? Also, what quantities should I get. Is freezing unused steak ok?

 

I think all men, and some ladies like a big steak, but should I follow the rule of a palm sized portion? Is this size before or after its cooked?

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This will help:

That is brilliant.  Love the thumb tough guide to how it's doing (& had never heard it before).

 

Totally sticking that up on FB.

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the amount of time you rest the steak is dependnt on the thickness of the steak.  a thicker steak means let it rest longer, and thinner steak means it ready earlier.  i usualy go with 30 mines per half inch of thickness.

 

also, going with just salt and pepper is fine, but i LOVE the ones i make where i add a light dusting of garlic and onion salt.

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skirt and flank are slightly different but similar. I have mistakenly bought flank looking for skirt.

it will actually say skirt steak on it... our you can ask for it... it's usually long and folded over in half. it's often reverted to add the butchers cut bc that's the cut they keep for themselves. skirt > flank. but it's an acceptable substitute if you can't find it.

also if you are in a lower income area you might not find it... I can't find it in one Shop Rite bc it's expensive and it goes bad... have to go to the more 'upscale' area.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/steak-cuts-for-grilling_n_1537318.html#s1008310&title=Porterhouse_Steak

 

When people think "steak" they think the types for grilling... here is a list of them with pictures.  They are generally the kind that are low in connective tissue so they don't require long times in order to properly breakdown that tissue.  You pick any of the cuts from that list I just provided, throw it on a grill/super hot pan till it hits 135 degrees and have yourself a grand ole time!

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If you can't afford grass fed, you can try to find local meat from a smaller butcher rather than the big chain grocery stores.  If you keep consistently going to the same place, sometimes the butcher will give you discounts for your loyalty/buying in larger amounts.  I buy sirloin steak for grilling which is vacuum packed and pre-marinaded, it's so convenient to stock up and just throw in the freezer until ready to use. You could probably do this yourself if you buy plain steaks.  It can also be cheaper to buy an entire roast and slice it yourself.  Then you can have whatever thickness you want.  I do this sometimes with pork, though it can be difficult to cut it well if your knives are crap.  I find 250-300g raw weight is good for one meal, but I usually cut the fat off after cooking.  

 

My fav way to cook steak is on the BBQ.  Get the grill really hot, sear on both sides then turn the heat down to cook through.  I would never cook steak more than medium, it just gets too tough at that point.  Remember that it will cook a little bit more as it rests.  Also, if you are cooking extra to have for lunch the next day, you might do well to undercook just a touch since the microwave will dry it out when re-heating.  I heart steak, I eat it at least twice a week :)

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Thanks for the advice and links.

 

I don't use a grill because live alone and don't see the point of dealing with the charcoal just for one piece of meat. I will probably try a frying pan or an open forman grill before I decide to invest in a cast iron or grill pan.

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Forman grills and frying pans are great! I use my cast iron for steak all the time but please please please do NOT use a non-stick one.  The coating is not meant to handle being preheated screaming hot like you want for searing a steak, it actually will burn off and produce toxic fumes at a very high temp.  It also won't perform that nice maillard reaction as well that makes your meat brown and delicious.  A steel or cast-iron pan is your best bet... also a little bit of knowledge that most beggining chefs don't realize... when you put the meat on the screaming hot pan DO NOT touch it until it releases from the pan.  AKA when you put it down it is going to adhere and seem to stick right to the pan.  As the proteins undergo the maillard reaction they will release themselves from the pan... if you have to force your spatula under a steak and tear it away from the pan to flip it then you are either too early or way too late (usually you will be too early, too late involves burning and smoke and you'd know it, but it's a lot easier to be early than late).  Other than that, just make sure you have a thermometer and follow that awesome picture above and you will make an amazing steak.

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Luke, that pic is awesome, went right to my facebook to remind the men of the rules, thanks.

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I have that same issue w/ grilling. Love the flavor/smell, but hate heating it up just for me. Cast iron is definitely the way to go. I follow Alton Brown's method - bring a steak to room temp. Preheat it to 500 degrees in oven then put on a hot stove (wear oven mitt duh). Season steak with salt and pepper, then oil each side. Sear each side for 30 seconds. Put back in oven for a couple minutes on each side. It takes longer to preheat the oven than it does to cook the food. But it's juicy, perfectly seared, deliciously med rare. Let it sit on a cutting board or plate a couple minutes before you cut into it so it's still juicy.

 

Also, make chimichurri sauce to go on it = YUM!

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