Question for those who cook a lot of steaks
Out of interest, for those of you cook a lot of steaks, past or present, how do/did you gauge the doneness?
I'm an apprentice so I'm still learning and I don't work in an establishment that cooks steaks at all, so that makes it even harder to learn a skill I believe to be fundamental for all chefs. When I do, be it at home or doing service at the restaurant in school (once a week, if I'm on that section) I use a thermometer. I can take a pretty good guess from feeling the steak, but no where near confident enough to rely purely on touch. And only with specific cuts at that, throw in something like an eye fillet or a cut of wagyu and I'm back to square one.
Anyway, I was cooking steaks the other day (at school) and had 6 on the flat top at one time. Thankfully they were quite fat so there was no risk over cooking, but it seems it doesn't take too long before using a thermometer becomes incredibly impractical.
So how do you lot check your steaks? Thermometer? Touch? Sous vide and seal? or some sort of witchcraft?
Thanks in advance!
Experience.You get to know after a few hundred.However it is still pot luck at times and a thermometer is always going to be the best way of ensuring accuracy,but as you say not practical if you are getting slammed.I think grill chefs have one of the toughest jobs as peoples interpretation of what is MR varies wildly and people ask for stupid **** like " Rare with no blood".
lol on this.
you could not have a lot of blood if you rest it nice and long but since it's rare, the problem there is that you might get a cold steak.
this is the most fool proof way but it's expensive. you'll have to have the steaks in several sous vide machines callibrated to different temps according to doneness and then sear it. or you can sear it beforehand then sous vide it. either way it's fool proof.
i do it by feel. you'll just know when it's there when you take your finger and touch the steak after you do it often enough.
resting it long enough is important so when you cut into it, it won't end up being too dry and the steak has had the chance to reabsorb its own juices.
when using a thermometer, you just have to know the temps of the doneness you want and a really accurate thermometer. thermapens are fast and accurate but more expensive but many people say they are worth the extra money.
Internal temp. I don't always have a thermometer on me, but I'll always have a metal thin cake tester, or an unravelled paper clip that I can probe the meat with and then touch to my lip.
Sous vide is good, but i get frustrated when i meet chefs who can't cook without it.
resting is key, as stated above, its incredibly vital. Granted I don't work in a kitchen, but resting will make everything better. allowing the meat to take up its own juicy goodness is huge. As for sous vide, its not too practical, but if you can pull the set up off, its great.
good thing about sous vide when cooking meats, so long as you set it at whatever temp you wanna get the steak done, the steak will never over cook. even after 1, 2, 3 days.... you can just leave it there and sear it or whatever when you need it.
another is that when you cook it that way, all the proteins have had the chance to cook so you get an even doneness all over (no ugly looking grey meat!) and the collagen has had enough time to melt and gives you an incredible mouth feel.
there's a cool video youtube by heston blumenthal on making the ultimate fool proof steak. edit** turns out there's a few vids on it by heston. lol
you might wanna check it out. don't need no uber high tech gadgets for it too!
I disagree. Meats that are overlooked sous vide end up with a different texture. If you take a piece of striploin and take or to say 52 Celsius, it will be med-rare. But if you hold it at 52 say overnight, the texture will eventually become pasty and mushy nd tacky.
It will still look med-rare, but have the texture of something unpleasant.
i guess it depends on the cut of meat and the kind of meat you're sous vide-ing.
coz the 24 hour steaks and 48 hour steaks at the place where i trained were quite verily awesome.
I can honestly say I have never used a thermometer on a steak. I poke'em with a finger if I have to but usually just know.
It's hard to estimate how many I've cooked in 35 years. A conservative estimate of 1500 a month puts me around 700,000, x an average of 12 oz, thats about a half million pounds. No, I don't need a thermometer.
As Will Sonnet would say, "no brag, just fact."
its all experience to me.