Oh how pleasurable tucking in to a good cut of steak can be.
As far as dining experiences go, time has proven that there's little to top that first taste of gloriously cooked meat with its layers of flavour and delicate texture. It's the undisputed meal of choice for mob bosses, convicts on death row and well, most gentlemen in general for a reason.
When it comes to the industry elite, Hawksmoor has become something of an institution in London. With consistently positive reviews and the same level of consistency in quality running through their menu in each location, there's no surprise as to why.
Whilst such flavoursome pleasures are all well and good when a professional has achieved them for you, there's every opportunity to produce the same results at home, providing you abide by some very simple, yet essential rules. We sought the wisdom of Mr Richard Turner, Hawksmoor's Executive Chef and meat specialist to provide the ultimate guide to cooking the perfect steak at home...
1. Buy good meat. This is the key. Ask the butcher for beef from a traditional British breed where the cow has lived a bit (ideally 30 months plus) and spent most of its time eating grass as nature intended. It’s important that it’s been humanely dispatched and hung for at least 28 days (35 is better).
2. Buy thick. The aim is to get a good char on the outside whilst keeping the meat juicy and tender inside, this is impossible with a thin piece of meat. Ideally each steak should be at least 300g (10½oz) and 4cm thick.
3. There’s a huge difference between a steak cooked over real charcoal and one cooked in a pan, so ideally at this point you want to fire up the barbeque. Take the meat out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking to bring it up to room temperature.
4. Get the grill really, really hot. You need to get it to the point where it’s painful to hold your hand anywhere near it. Make sure there’s decent ventilation – there’s going to be lots of smoke.
5. Season the steak well (more than you might expect). Use your own pot of Hawksmoor steak seasoning (an uncomplicated blend of Smoked Maldon Sea Salt, regular Maldon and coarsely ground black pepper – good meat won’t need anything else). Don’t bother with oil – if the grill is hot enough the steak won’t stick.
6. Stick the steak on. Leave it for a couple of minutes and then turn. Carry on turning every couple of minutes until it’s the way you like it. Move the steak if you see yellow flames from the barbeque otherwise it will become too smoky). If cooking more than one, don’t overcrowd them.
7. Don’t leave them on the heat too long. It’s impossible to give exact cooking times – it depends on the temperature of the grill, thickness of the steak and what cut it is. To get one of our 600g Bone-in Sirloins to Medium Rare we cook them (turning regularly) for 10 minutes.
8. Let it rest. A good rule of thumb is to rest it for as long as you cook it.
9. Eat away. If it’s good meat and there’s enough seasoning you shouldn't need any sauce, just a bit of salad to mop up the juice.