How to Become Master of the BBQ Steak (with a Summer Steak Recipe)
From casual family dinners, to alfresco get togethers with friends, a well-cooked steak on a barbecue is hard to beat. A succulent beef steak is the ultimate staple in Australian cuisine and something every home cook, chef, casual griller or restaurateur should master.
Essentially, barbecuing on a gas or charcoal BBQ is like cooking a steak in a ludicrously hot oven, so cooking time is minimal. If you're prepared, it's the simplest way to cook.
What you need
- A BBQ preheated on medium-high
- Long-handled tongs for turning your steak
- An oil bowl
- Pastry brush
- Stiff wire brush
- BBQ scraper
How to cook the perfect steak
Remove your steak from the fridge and bring to room temperature. As a general guide, this should take around 45 minutes.
Apply a wire brush and a thin smear of vegetable oil to the grill before lighting. Lower the hood to allow the BBQ to reach maximum temperature. You'll know when it's hot enough as you won't be able to hold your hand over the grates for more than two seconds.
Oil your steak using the pastry brush to ensure that all sides are covered. Season one side with salt and pepper (be sure to leave seasoning until just before you heat the steak, as salt can draw out the juices, making it tough). Lift the BBQ hood and place it at a 45-degree angle to the grill bars, season side down. Lower the hood and grill for around two minutes.
Raise hood, move the steak 90-degrees without flipping and lower the hood once again for just under two minutes.
Turn the steak, season and repeat the heating process.
Remove the steak and place somewhere warm. Cover loosely in foil and leave for around six minutes. This will allow the meat to relax and evenly distribute the juices so that every bite is succulent and tender.
Cooking to your desired taste
It is recommended that steak be eaten medium-rare, but this isn't always to every person's liking. Some like to literally "show" their steak to the grill, while others are not afraid of a little cremation.
The time it takes to cook a steak varies according to how you like it cooked, as well as the thickness of the meat. As a general guide, a 1.5cm thick steak will take:
- Rare: 1 – 1.5 minutes each side
- Medium: 2 – 3 minutes each side
- Well-done: 3 – 4 minutes each side
For thicker steak, add a minute or so to each side.
Other tips to be aware of
- Never be tempted to test your meat by cutting into it. This will cause the juices to escape, making the meat tough. Instead, press the centre of the steak with the back of your tong. Soft = rare, springy = medium and firm = well-done.
- Befriend your butcher to ensure you get the right cut. Favourite BBQ cuts include fillet, scotch fillet, porterhouse, T-bone, rump, round and blade.
- Embrace the fat. Don't be afraid of marbling, as these thin white streaks of fat are what keeps the meat nice and juicy. They also add valuable flavour.
Flank Steak with Chilli Tomato Salad
For a steak recipe to get every dinner guest's mouth watering, try cooking Flank Steak with Chilli Tomato Salad. Flank steak (otherwise referred to as "skirt steak") is economical, has lots of flavour and is beautifully tender when marinated.
- 1 kilo flank steak
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 800g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup green olives
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp Sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp hot chilli sauce
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- Prepare the steak a minimum of four hours before you need to cook it. Start by seasoning the steak with salt and pepper, and then placing steak in a bowl with sugar, paprika and cayenne pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Remove steak from the fridge one hour before cooking. This will allow the steak to return to room temperature, and will help it cook evenly.
- Heat the BBQ until you can no longer hold your hand over the grill for two seconds. Brush with vegetable oil and cook steak for around 5 minutes each side. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the salad by combining onion and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar in a large bowl. Toss regularly for 10 minutes before adding tomatoes, celery and olives.
- Whisk remaining vinegar, horseradish, Worcestershire and chilli sauce and celery seeds. Slowly whisk in oil, toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. (Note: this can be made up to four hours ahead).
- Serve salad with sliced steak.
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Mireille Kilgour has been an entrepreneur for 35 years in the hospitality sector. French born, she has been an accomplished business owner and operator for a number of Sydney venues. Leading the industry with high profile institutions such as Lamrock Café Bondi, she has endless passion for the industry, and now has the pleasure of supporting restaurants to fill their tables with the new Good Food Gift Card program.