Steak is one of our favorite dishes. Whether you like your steak with fries, dripping in butter or peppercorn sauce, or with some veggies, steak can be a delicious and filling meal that many enjoy.
We can’t speak for you, but steak is always seen as a treat in our household.
Maybe it’s the cost of the meat that makes it feel like a special dinner, or the fact that it’s just so tasty and flavorful, who knows?
The only thing is, it’s so difficult to cook a steak to perfection just like they do in the restaurants.
Sometimes, it feels like no matter how hard we try or how much time we spend focusing on cooking it just right, it always ends up overcooked, tough, or chewy.
So, what does this mean, and what can we do to prevent tough steaks? Read on to find out!
What Does Tough & Chewy Steak Mean?
When you order a steak at a restaurant, it is always served hot, soft and oh so tender.
You may even like your steak rare or medium rare instead of well done, where the insides are soft and pink, with the outsides seared.
No matter how you like your steak cooked, no one wants it to be tough and chewy to the point where you’re even struggling to cut the thing!
So, what does this mean, and how does chewy steak happen?
Well, for the most part, tough and chewy steak occurs when the meat is not cooked well or right.
For example, if the steak is undercooked, then it can be a little tough and hard because the fat has not had a chance to melt and infuse the meat with tenderness and flavor.
This can result in a steak that is not juicy enough to enjoy.
On the other end of the scale, if the steak is overcooked and cooked for too long, then it can be very chewy, hard and tough as the heat has zapped all of the juices and fats from the meat, taking away all of the softness, tenderness and flavor.
Why Is My Steak Tough And Chewy?
For the most part, a steak that is tough and chewy will turn out this way when it is not prepared or cooked properly.
Most of the time, a steak will be tough and dry if it is overdone, as the high heat of the cooker can zap all of the juices, and firm up the muscle fibers, which is what creates that flavorless, dry and tough texture.
The secret to not having this happen is to learn how to properly prepare and cook a steak so that you get it right every single time.
So how do you prepare a steak for success? Let’s find out.
How To Prepare Steak
Preparing the steak properly is paramount to cooking the perfect steak. If there’s no preparation, then prepare yourself to fail!
To prepare a steak before cooking, you will want to remove the steaks from the refrigerator, and leave them to sit at room temperature until they warm up.
Depending on your location, this could take thirty minutes to an hour or more for the steaks to come to room temperature.
Never skip this step, as it truly can make all of the difference! If the steak is allowed to warm up, it should cook more evenly once in the pan.
After you’ve got your steaks at room temperature, you will need to season them as this can help tenderize the meat.
To season the steak, you are going to want to use olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, and rub that into the meat, then top with fresh ground black pepper and some kosher sea salt.
Some people prefer to season the steaks before leaving them to reach room temperature, whereas others do it afterwards before cooking them.
We prefer to do it before, so that the meat becomes softer and more flavorful after cooking! Then, it’s time to heat up your pan and get ready to cook!
How To Cook The Perfect Steak
To cook the perfect steak, we recommend grilling in a pan on the stove. This is the method that distinguished chefs use, and if it works, don’t fix it!
To cook the perfect steak every time, you will need to start by opening a window or turning on a ventilation fan as this method creates a lot of smoke!
Once the room is ventilated, you will want to put your pan over a high heat on the stove, and leave it to get extremely hot.
Once it has had time to warm up, you’ll need to add in 1-2 tablespoons of butter or a splash of oil in the pan, and wait for the butter to brown or the oil to start sizzling.
This should indicate that your pan is hot and ready to go! Once sizzling, you can place your steaks into the pan, immediately reduce the heat down to medium, and cook the steak for about 4-5 minutes.
Then, use tongs to gently turn the steak over and allow it to cook on the other side until you see the steak develop an even crust or browned color on both sides.
Then, use the tongs again to sear the edges of the steak quickly, rather than leaving it to cook for long periods of time on the sides.
Finally, remove the steak from the heat and place on a cutting board, allowing it to rest for about 5-10 minutes under aluminum foil to seal the heat and the juices in.
Once rested, serve the steak on a warm plate with veggies, your favorite sauce and some fries for a delicious meal.
To conclude, tough and chewy steak is a result of either undercooking the steak or overcooking the steak.
Either way, with our guide of how to prepare and cook the perfect steak, you will have soft and tender meat in no time.
Just remember, you know what they say, practice makes perfect.