I love steaks. If I could eat steak every day I probably would. It has to be beef for me although I’ll happily eat bison, antelope or venison. There aren’t many antelope in Scotland. But we do have plenty of beef cattle.
The best steak is grass fed, free range, hormone free from a farmer that you know and trust. It should also be butchered by a close friend.
Meanwhile in the real world, the rest of us have to make do with what we can get. And afford. But what are the best steaks to buy, how should you cook them, and can they really improve your sex life? Keep reading to find out…
Know Your Steak Cuts Like a Pro
This isn’t going to be an exhaustive list and if you live in the United States of A, some of the terminology might be different however this is my short list on steaks (in no particular order).If you want to know about more than just the three I’ve featured here, check out this article.
If you can get your steak direct from a butcher, then great. Otherwise, it’s going to be vacuum packed like the rest of us plebs:
I’ve always found sirloin a bit ‘meh’. It generally costs more than rump (see below) due to it’s tenderness. Sirloin is pretty lean so if you’re watching those calories, it’s a good choice.
The sirloin comes from the upper middle part of the cow. Because of this, it’s not very tough. Mainly because it doesn’t do anything.
I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve never really liked the band Radiohead. A lot of people I know get all misty eyed just talking about them but I’ve never got it. I’ll listen to their music quite happily but always feeling like I’m missing something that everyone else is getting.
Which brings me to fillet (or filet if you’re American. Or posh). The centre cut fillet is the most expensive and sought after of the steak family. I’ve had good fillet before. But I’ve never felt the fireworks that £25-35 should bring me.
Why I should pay more for less meat is a hard concept for me to grasp. Especially when it doesn’t have the taste of, say…
When I said these weren’t in order, I lied. Rump is my absolute, hands down favourite. It’s inexpensive, flavourful. Plus if you buy quality and cook properly, it’s never tough.
The best way is to marinade it in spices, vinegar and sugar overnight. Then grill on a hot barbecue grill with vegetable skewers. Or you could just fry it in a frying pan.
Frying Steaks the Right Way
When I was 16, I worked a summer in a tree nursery. There was an old guy there who had worked on the farm since before trees had colonised the British Isles. On my first day, he handed me a pair of shears and said,
Pruning with secateurs is like most things in life: there’s a right way, and a wrong way.
And he was right. Rows and rows of poorly pruned maple trees will testify to that.
Anyway, the same principle can be applied to cooking steaks. I’m no professional chef. But I feel like I’ve got steak frying down to the point where I don’t ruin them (often).
If you can reach this point, you’ll be more proficient than around 90% of the population.
To stop your steak going tough, bring it up to room temperature before you cook it. I like to season with pepper only. Salt can dry out the meat.
Get your frying pan really hot. I use a Tefal Intensum 32cm (get it here). This has the little Thermospot that tells you when the pan it hot. I like to sprinkle water on just to make sure. When it jumps and fizzes, the temperature is just right.
I don’t use any oil. It just smokes and burns. Sear the meat for one minute each side. Then cook to the required ‘done-ness’. I like somewhere between rare and still alive. My wife is more of a medium-rare so I try to cater for all tastes. If you like steak well done, you are a Philistine and a reprobate.
This is the most important stage: let the meat rest. That means take it out of the pan, onto a warm plate. Cover and leave for 3-5 minutes while you sort the sweet potato wedges/kids out. Once it’s had time to rest, serve and enjoy.
What about More Muscle and Better Sex?
In the photos on this post you’ll see the meat is marbled with white.
This is fat.
Contrary to what the 1980’s told you, saturated fat is not evil. In fact, saturated fat is necessary for a whole host of physical and neurological functions.
If you want to test this, cut out all fat from your diet and see how well you can concentrate next time your partner is telling you about her day. Enjoy sleeping on the sofa.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 45 men were given either high fat, low fibre or low fat, high fibre diets. After 10 weeks, the high fat group (10% saturated fat) had 13% more testosterone in their systems than those who had been subjected to low fat, high fibre hell (Source: T-Nation.com).
Why is this significant? Because testosterone increases protein synthesis which in turn increases muscle size when coupled with hard training and…high protein diet.
There is also a strong link between sex drive and testosterone levels. Low ‘T’ = low sex drive. Higher ‘T’… well I’m sure you can figure it out. So those poor schmucks on the high fibre diet not only spent 4 hours a day in the bathroom, but their sex drives dropped. Talk about martyrs for science!
Summary: A Meaty Issue
Red meat isn’t evil. In fact it’s wonderful. If you cut it out, you better have a good reason. If you’re an energetic, hard playing, hard lovin’ Dad, steaks are your friend.
Moderation is key, but I will always want to have steak in my diet. Buy the best you can afford. Cook it right and enjoy the benefits.
Like this post? Check out some of my other articles on food and nutrition: