The Perfect Steak
I love beef. Straight, simple, honest ...
I've eaten pretty much the gamut of fish, fowls, bison, buffalo, insects, snakes, jungle critters (big and small), rodents and all the usual farm animals. But for me, beef is in a category by itself. I could eat this daily if it were possible.
For most of my cooking life, I've been chasing the perfect steak, both in restaurants and at home. I've sampled and reviewed my share of steakhouses, so here I will share my latest and favorite recipe for the perfect home-cooked steak.
Let me preface this by noting that I've tried more or less everything that has been recommended by celebrity chefs, written about in cookbooks, blogged, and YouTube-d. I have concluded that the best recipe for one person isn't necessarily the best recipe for another. Certainly, location and local beef quality also play a big role in creating the perfect steak.
As I've been living in Thailand for the last decade, I have nearly given up on eating beef on a regular basis simply because good beef is extremely hard to find. Thai just aren't into beef, and their beef industry reflects that. In any fresh market, you might find a dozen pork and chicken sellers, but you would be lucky to find one beef vendor. It would be a miracle if he actual has an edible piece of meat to sell you.
With that said, here is my assembled technique for "the perfect steak" (that is, as perfect as possible given what you have to work with):
First, always buy the best steak you can afford, whatever cuts you adore. Clean and trim off excess fat and less appetizing bits.
Second, marinate it with 2-3 tablespoons of fishsauce per steak (at least 16oz ~ 500g each) in an airtight container, and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days. Make sure to flip the steak after the first day to get the other side soaked also.
Third, remove steaks from marinade and dry them with some paper towels, and then put them into the freezer to "air-freeze" for 3 days. Don't wrap in plastic or keep in a container. The freezing air will "dry-age" the steak quite effectively.
Fourth, take it out and leave it to thaw to room temperature. This will take a couple of hours.
Fifth, follow the video recipe by Chef Chris Pandel on how to reverse sear a steak. It might be wise to tone down the salt-seasoning part (or skip it altogether) as our steaks have already gained plenty of salt with the fishsauce marinade. (Click the photo below and watch video on his website as it's not available on YouTube).