Every home cook might have their tried and trusted method for cooking the perfect steak. But science suggests you've probably been doing it wrong.
According to physicist George Vekinis, most people's steak cooking techniques result in dry, chewy meat. He claims that the perfect steak should be microwaved instead of grilled or fried. Vekinis argues that salting the steak before frying draws out water and makes it tough and inedible. Instead, he advises seasoning the steak after cooking to avoid moisture loss.
Another common mistake is cooking a cold steak straight from the fridge. Vekinis explains that when a cold steak is cooked, its exterior burns while the interior remains raw. To prevent this, he suggests warming the steak in the microwave for a few minutes before frying.
Vekinis recommends microwaving the steak for one to two minutes, depending on its thickness, and quickly frying it on both sides for a maximum of one minute. According to him, the ideal way to eat the steak is medium rare, with an internal temperature of at least 55-60°C (131-140°F).
However, Vekinis' advice contradicts well-known celebrity chefs, such as Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, who advocate for salting the steak before cooking. Their recipes call for rubbing the steak with salt and other seasonings prior to frying. Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, known for his scientific approach to cooking, also disagrees with Vekinis. In his experiments, Lopez-Alt found that salting the steak immediately before cooking produced the best sear.
Ultimately, achieving the perfect steak is a matter of personal preference and style. While Vekinis' microwave method challenges conventional techniques, it highlights the ongoing debate between the science of cooking and traditional approaches. As with any cooking technique, it is important to prioritize food safety by using a meat thermometer to ensure the steak reaches the recommended temperature.