It’s always a great feeling when you know exactly what you’re talking about and an even better one when you get rewarded for it.
Having steak at a restaurant has always been seen as a premium delicacy that can either be cooked to absolute fine perfection with juiciness and tenderness that simply melts in your mouth, or tough and leathery texture to the liking of rawhide.
So if you want to be in control of the quality and outcome of your steak, assuming the chefs are highly skilled and trained professionals, then you’ll need to know the finer points behind ordering a steak like a pro.
Cost doesn’t mean everything
Just because there’s a hefty price tag slapped onto a steak option on the menu doesn’t mean it’s the best. Unless the menu elaborates more on the care and quality of the cattle, you’ll just be paying extravagantly for something you hope will turn out to your liking.
It also doesn’t mean that going with the default medium rare is a safe bet. Depending on the cut, you may prefer certain cuts cooked a different way to others as each cut offers different moist and juicy levels to meet the mouthwatering steak you’re looking for.
Know your cut
When it comes to ordering steak, most people will tell you to simply go for the popular cuts such as fillets or the rib eye (without actually knowing much about the cut aside from the fact that it’s a popular mainstream one).
Fact is, if you’re looking to have the juiciest steaks that literally melt in your mouth, you’ll need to focus on cuts that have connective tissues. These are the areas of the cow that have higher fat content intertwined with meat, which holds the meat together.
When cooked, connective tissue releases juices from the fat into the meat, which enhances its flavours. The more marbled your cut, the more it will melt in your mouth if cooked correctly. Cuts such as rib eye have good connective tissue, which results in exceptional flavour when cooked right.
How well-done should your steak be?
You might have heard the saying that the best way to cook a steak is medium rare. The reason behind this is a medium rare technique of cooking is ideal for collagen breakdown, which then turns into a juicy jelly that gets absorbed into your meat enhancing its flavour.
Medium rare steaks often provide the best flavour of your beer, and a good chef will know how to char it on the outside while maintaining a cool inside.
Steaks that are cooked well-done take away the smooth texture of the beef as well as over-evaporation of the juices causing it to turn out relatively dry, chewy and tough. In other words, anything above a medium rare technique will lack the juicy tenderness and rich flavours a steak aficionado looks for.
If you like your steak cooked rare, you’ll be glad to know that your preference falls under the ideal range as you don’t lose juices from cooking it rare.
It is true that everyone has their own personal preferences and that how you like your steak cooked may vary from the next person. However, a good steak is juicy and not chewy, meaning you will need to aim to be within the range of a rare and medium rare steak.
What fuel should you use
Now that you’ve got the answer to how well-done your steak should be cooked, it’s time to specify out how you’d like it done.
When chatting up the waiter or chef, ask what kind of fuel they use to cook your steak. If they’re any good at it, they’ll tell you that their steaks are cooked over a natural fuel such as charcoal or wood fire. This ensures that flavour and complexity are added to your steak bringing out an aromatic experience that gives a steak one of its best features.
Where do you source your meat?
The more knowledge the chef has about the source of their meat, the more likely the establishment knows how to cook a good steak.
Grain fed beef should be sourced from a humane and ethical farm as the lifestyle of the cattle has an impact on the flavour and taste profile it carries forward when cooked.
Grass fed beef should come from high quality sources such as Cape Grim Beef and other comparable cattle farms. If you’re talking about Wagyu beef, you’ll want your standards to be as high as Japan, so looking at a source such as David Blackmore will ensure high standards and quality control. Oh, and while you’re at it, you can sweeten the deal with a true blue Australian whiskey that’ll have you immersed in a quality meal.
Grass fed vs grain fed
Grass fed beef is always better than grain fed beef as the latter tends to have a creamier texture that doesn’t give you the authentic, clean flavour of what you would want in a quality steak.
Certain sources will even go so far as to tell you how long their cows have been eating grass such as their dry aged vintage rib eye where cows have been fed grass for 60 months.
If you’re looking to spoil yourself even more, opt in for the full-blood wagyu rump cap where flavours burst similar to caramel popcorn. These cows have been solely grain fed their whole lives.
Where to find great steaks in Emerald
If you’re looking to be impressed with high quality steaks, you need to head to the Maraboon Tavern. A local favourite that is run by skilled chefs, this local tavern will astound even the pickiest eaters. Juicy steaks that will have your mouth watering and bellies rumbling. Take advantage of the new $15 Mondays to Fridays steak special, which includes a 250 gram rump steak with chips and salad.