Cheeseburger Gothic

My secret shame is over

Posted November 26, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I can't cook steak. There. I said it. But it's true. Even though I'm a medium rare guy, I always end burning the crap of my choice cuts. I blame the unreasonable demands of the 'well done' brigade to be served up a plate with nary a drop of the red stuff on it.

Really hoping that this Steakmate app I put on my phone today helps. It's from the Meat and Livestock Corporation, so you'd hope they knew what they were doing.

It seems to have a pretty simple interface. You choose your steak, enter some data like thickness and how well done (or not) you want it, and it sets a timer on your phone and/or watch telling you when to turn and when to remove and rest.

You can set multiple timers for people who want their meat done differently. Thomas and I are both medium rare men. The ladies, not so much.

It only does steak for the moment, but presumably it could be further developed to handle lamb, pork and so on.

Now all I need is a new barbecue to test it out on. My old four burner has not weathered the latest of its ten winters all that well.

35 Responses to ‘My secret shame is over’

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted November 26, 2015
I'm an old school medium rare man too, but cook for some other family members who insist that their steak have no sign of red (yew!). I sometimes just can't be bothered with the time scheduling challenges. I've decided recently it's a little outmoded to be so very fussy about medium rare. I reckon, a few decades ago, the average steak was so ordinary that medium rare was necessary so it didn't taste like an old shoe. These days, with high tech breeding and feeding, the average steak now tastes fine cooked medium, still moist and tender. The medium rare preference is a lot more merely cosmetic than it used to be. These are my maverick findings.


John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted November 26, 2015
Guards! Guards!

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bawpcwpn is gonna tell you...

Posted November 26, 2015
This is why I like my steak just shy of moo-ing. Did download the app once but never got a chance to try it. I like my lamb however medium rare, and wouldn't want to undercook chicken or pork. Perhaps there's a market here? JB's Meat Meter? With added functionality of telling the app how everyone likes their steaks done and it tells you when to turn and remove each. I could almost make a web app easy enough, and potentially an iOS app. Food for thought!

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted November 26, 2015
I've mentioned in the past my beefy heritage. This has led me to be a cow meat snob. If it's for casserole, pie or similar I'll get any old slab O' cow. I've even stooped to the duopoly, although usually I buy from a specialist purveyor of flesh. About once a month it's steak night; usually a bullsh!t expensive (~$12 each) porterhouse from a little joint in Maroochydore. Pasture fed, Not grain fed feedlot shite, 2 to 3 years old, nice marbling but not too fat. Inch and a bit thick Seared, turned twice, 6 minutes total at the rare end of medium rare. *drools*

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted November 26, 2015
Hmm. Having just enjoyed a nice rare steak, this works for me. More rare than medium. Grass fed only. Happy cows taste better - we make enough cortisol on our own. Inside should be red, not pink. Doesn't need to be bleeding, just needs to melt on the tongue.
For those who demand "well done", either very cheap cuts or something glammed up from balsa wood and cardboard will suffice.

NBlob mutters...

Posted November 26, 2015
+1 ATM I'm building, so I read that as GlueLam'd up from balsa & cardboard.

damian reckons...

Posted November 26, 2015
I'm remembering staying at the Cri in Rocky on our honeymoon and getting the full breakfast, which included inch and a bit thick steak to order, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, fried tomato, fried potato and baked beans.

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trib would have you know...

Posted November 26, 2015
While everyone has their own way, I was taught a near-flawless method for steak (and lamb fillet, lamb cutlets, etc.), Here it is, it works for your average scotch fillet or 1" thick meat:
  • pat dry the meat before cooking with paper towel
  • rub meat with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and season with freshly ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt
  • seal the meat 1 minute each side on the hot plate
  • once sealed, transfer to grill over a very hot flame - 1-2 minutes for rare/medium-rare, 4 minutes per side for medium, 6 minutes per side for revolting
For your really gutsy steak - a 2" thick monster or your Cattleman's Cutlet, go 6 minutes on the first side on the grill, then 4-5 minutes on the second side; at least until the juices come through and start pooling on the up-side. For a thinner cut, or a lamb cutlet or similar, take a minute off per side.
Once cooked, rest the meat for 2-3 minutes, slice and serve.

insomniac mutters...

Posted November 26, 2015
Oh man, the Cattleman's is the best. The ones we get are so big we call them half a cow, and they are so good you can abuse the hell out of it on the BBQ and it still melts in the mouth. Ms insomniac and I share one between us, about 20:80. She get the well done-ish bit at the end and I get the good bit.

trib puts forth...

Posted November 26, 2015
We buy 3 at a time, for me, the Mrs, and the (adult, still at home) child. We take 1/2 each, with fights over the bones. That leaves 3 more halves for the following day at lunch.
Best.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted November 26, 2015
Always pleased to see people expand their culinary talents but isn't the Breakfast Creek Hotel in the same town as you? Why would you ever need to cook your own steak?
If you want to take you steak cooking to the next level you should try Sous-Vide Steak.

Brother PorkChop asserts...

Posted December 2, 2015
You know the trick the Brekkie Creek uses? To get the steaks consistent, they seal them and finish in a microwave.

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted November 26, 2015
I've reached the Denis Leary "bring me the cow, I'll cut off what I want and ride the rest home" stage in my steak appreciation, where I'd rather err on the side of rare (or tartar), than risk having it remotely medium or *shudder* burnt. My family, to my shame, are still stuck on medium for their steaks. So every time I host a BBQ I have to firstly shoo my father away from "helping" and cooking the steak for me (he's good with a pair of tongs, but will overcook my steak), and then I cook everyone else's steak, and just as they're gathering plates, sorting out salads etc, I slap my steak on to cook. This ensures my family get steaks to their (incorrect) liking, and mine remains to my liking.

I've also tried the Heston Blumenthal theory of turning your steak every 30 seconds (check out the episode of How to Cook Like Heston where he covers beef, and then the science (SCIENCE!) behind cooking the perfect steak), and found this works very well too. Because you have to monitor the steak constantly, you get a good feel for when it's cooked through to when it's burnt if you're cooking for philistines.

My brother has tried sou vide steak, and he finishes it off by tossing it on a really hot BBQ for a few seconds each side to give it the BBQ lines and flavour and make it look like a real steak.

coriolisdave reckons...

Posted November 27, 2015
Seconding the Heston method - it's very very effective.
The other highly-recommended technique - which works regardless of your flipping preference - is to grab a meat thermometer and cook the steak until it hits the appropriate temperature for preferred "doneness".
Seems a bit like cheating, to me, but millions swear by it.

GhostSwirv would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2015

Intuitively I have been cooking all of my meat all of my life using the now-called Heston method, enduring the slings and arrows and empty VB cans of family and friends berating me for my high protein rotations and yet strangely I do not have my own sciency cooking show or legion of online fans?

Marinated butterfly lamb is my speciality - and with a new decking, outdoor dining and BBQ area, not to mention the SPA, I cannot wait till Melba's weather settles down into proper outdoor cooking mode.

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2015

+++Because you have to monitor the steak constantly, you get a good feel for when it's cooked through to when it's burnt+++

Reminds me of PJ O'Rourke's number-one steak cooking tip, which is that it's vitally important to hover over it constantly, scowling and prodding it with a fork. It does nothing for the steak, but it does stop you from wandering off to watch TV and turning your expensive prime cut into a flight jacket.

Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted November 27, 2015
Yep I too like the Heston method - but when doing it on the stove it splashes oil EVERYWHERE...which is a tad annoying. I need an outdoor bbq.

Penley asserts...

Posted December 4, 2015
I use Heston method too. Used to use a meat thermometer or cutting into it (!) but now just go by feel - it took ages to get it down but now both boyfriend and I can do it and the learning curve was worth it.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted November 27, 2015
I tried, many times, to grill our steaks.

Yeah, while my mom likes hers the same way General Grant did the reality is that Cindy prefers hers mooing and I'm somewhere in the grey area.

So I finally turned the steak grilling over to Cindy, who does it perfect, every, single, damned, time.

I'll stick to ribs, brats, and burgers on the grill from this point forward.

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
You may as well cut them off right now. Tsk tsk, letting a woman cook your steak.

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2015
Oh, but it is sooooo good.
Almost like sex.

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
A friend was hosting a BBQ, and the male partner of one of her guests offered to do the cooking. He couldn't light the BBQ. I was summoned, wandered out, turned three knobs on the BBQ (click, click, click, WOOSH!), and had it going in seconds. And in the age old unwritten rules of BBQ-ing, if you light the fire you get to cook. Poor man hovered beside me for the rest of the cooking process offering his help. I gave him the sausages to cook, since I figured if he couldn't light a simple gas BBQ he had no business anywhere near my steak. He admitted afterward that in the moment I got the BBQ lit he felt thoroughly emasculated. He was British, so he could be excused for not being an expert; I think they get about 1.5 days of outdoor cooking weather a year, so he's had nowhere near the practice a native born Australian has had.

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2015

+++I'm somewhere in the grey area+++

If your meat has gone grey by the time you cook it I think I may have spotted at least one contributing factor to your stomach problems.

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted November 27, 2015
On a serious note, I can't eat the steak if it is rare, medium rare, or medium. I get sick within minutes.

No, mine has to be clear of the pink.

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Abe Frellman puts forth...

Posted November 27, 2015
I would second Trib's contribution to this discussion. As for the steak itself, if I lived in Brisbane, I'd be sourcing my steak from anyone who stocked beef from Nolan's of Gympie. They use the 'tender stretch' method where the carcass is hung by its crutch in the cool room to age it. It takes up more cool room space and so is a bit more expensive, but the finished product means that if you do over cook it, the finished product won't suffer too much in the process.

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Nigelau has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015
So, how does the phone cope with lying on the BBQ so it knows the temperature of the BBQ?

Quokka puts forth...

Posted November 27, 2015
Surely it's the fit-bit.When it can no longer find a pulse, it's done.

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Justin asserts...

Posted November 27, 2015
I cant believe all this talk of steak and BBQ and none of you have mentioned a webber yet.<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">

Justin mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">
<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease;">JB, you would be a fool not to upgrade to a webber, it will improve you skills far beyond any app ever will. Any of the webberQ range will suffice, the new ones even have a sear station now to get it all nice a crispy and caramelized on the outside, while staying BLOODYon the inside. <div style="transition: all 0.1s ease;">Practically cooks the steak itself..............all you need to do is stand round drinking beer and 'supervising'....

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DarrenBloomfield has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015
I've used that app, with mixsed results. Doesn't factor in temperature. If you want to improve your steaks (and who doesn't) you can't go past some tips from Heston. The episode of "the search for perfection" where he cooks rib eye is a thing of beauty. It will change your life.
But if you want to cook a steak in less than the 8 weeks that method takes, the big three tips are:
really hot grillturn often (yes really - it's a Heston tip)no substitute for touching the meat - the "thumb test" really is a good guide for how far on a steak is done.
The fun is in the experimenting.
Don't forget when and how to season: Best article ever on the subject - its Scienz!
http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/03/the-food-lab-more-tips-for-perfect-steaks.html

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
Steak? Its easy to cook. Make sure its seasoned then cook the bit of dead cow until moisture comes out the top. I usually sear and cook one side first for 4 minutes, then the other. Press the underside of a fork onto it after a couple of minutes and if there's juice starting to bleed out the top, its done. 6-7 minutes all up for a regular porterhouse. And then rest it for a few minutes while you grab another beer, get the latest cricket score, feed the dog, kick the cat and tweet a pic of your steak.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted November 27, 2015
I like my rib eyes, hell who am I kidding I buy steak in bulk and cut it myself, which means a nice thick steak with great sear and char yet still perfectly rare in the centre. Yum. PS dry season sear low heat turn sear low heat

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Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted November 28, 2015
I like my steak barely frightened.
Take it out of the fridge 30-40 min before cooking so it's not cold in the centre.
1 minute to each side on the plate then 2 minutes each side on the grill or griddle pan.
Cover with foil and rest.
Place steak in mouth hole and wash down with red.

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ShaneAlpha reckons...

Posted November 28, 2015
The meat makes a lot of difference. A mate of mine, also a good cook, worked for a couple of years for AMH and would buy the *good* export stuff that you never, ever, ever see in Australia. I still, 20 years later, remember the time he cooked beer fed Kobe beef. It was like my mouth had an orgasm.

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 2, 2015
A SAFFA mate cooks his delicious meat whole first over flames. Trims and Rubs a whole rib fillet, chars the outside. Slices it into steaks then grills each one to the diners liking. I found it delicious but time consuming when hungry.

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