There’s nothing quite like a juicy cut of beef to celebrate a birthday, holiday or the end of a long week, and a pepper-crusted ribeye or tender flank steak does just the trick. But if you’re among the home cooks who are hesitant to make steak, have no fear. Many folks who feel quite comfortable in the kitchen otherwise are guilty of cooking dry, tough meat.
Read on to avoid the most common mistakes, and get ready to cook the perfect steak every time.
Mistake 1: Not using enough seasoning
You may be afraid of making steak too salty or overpowering it with spices, but trust us: Caution doesn’t pay when it comes to seasoning. Since you can’t season the steak’s interior, playing it too safe will deprive you of rich flavors and a bold crust.
What to do instead: Season the meat heartily on both sides about 35 to 40 minutes before cooking. For inspiration, check out our favorite DIY spice blends.
Mistake 2: Cooking steak cold
When it comes to steak, it can be hard to be patient, but you never want to pull steak straight from the fridge to throw on the grill. Plan ahead, giving the meat time to reach room temperature. A cold steak will cook unevenly, potentially causing the outside to burn while the inside remains undercooked.
What to do instead: Depending on the cut, allow a half-hour to two hours for the meat to sit on the counter.
Mistake 3: Getting the wrong cut
Choosing a steak isn’t as easy as grabbing it from the cooler and heading to the checkout line. There are plenty of varieties, and not all of them should be cooked the same way. For instance, T-bones thrive on the grill, but a boneless ribeye does best in a frying pan (thanks to the fat running through it). Treating all steaks the same can deprive you of the best possible flavor.
What to do instead: Learn your cuts and preferred cooking style. If you forget which cut you like, remember that the higher the price point, the more likely it’s meant to be fried. (Any good butcher will be happy to provide answers and advice.) Want to get more creative with your cut of choice? Grill up our favorite steak recipes.
Mistake 4: Choosing a lean cut
There’s a time and place for lean cuts, but steak night isn’t one of them. Lean cuts tend to be tough and dry, since fat is what provides most of the flavor.
What to do instead: Pick out a steak with a healthy amount of marbling (the fat which shows up as white flecks and lines). It may be more expensive, but the tenderness and juiciness will be well worth it.
Mistake 5: Turning the steak only once
It’s a common misconception that the best way to keep a steak tender and juicy is to flip it once. While you may get photo-worthy grill marks, your steak won’t be any more delicious. In fact, with this method, you may be drying out the steak.
What to do instead: Get into the habit of turning your steak multiple times as it cooks, especially when the heat is high. Extra flips allow the steak to cook more quickly (up to 30 percent faster than the one-flip method.) This is what will give you a juicier steak. You’ll also find that this method helps the meat cook evenly, without much curling along the edges.
Bonus Test Kitchen tip: It’s essential to use tongs instead of a fork to flip your meat.
For five more mistakes you (might) make when grilling steak, continue reading the original article at Taste of Home.