XXI Chophouse – Calling All Meat Lovers

XXI Chophouse executive chef Sam Khalil shares his tips on how to grill the perfect steak in five easy steps.

There’s nothing better than slicing into a perfectly cooked steak (OK, there are a few things, but great steaks are definitely in our top 10). So how do you make sure your steak is resto-worthy? Bookmark the tips below and they’ll be sure to serve you — and everyone around your table — well.


Step 1: Choose the right piece of meat.
The first step to perfection is to look for a steak with a fine texture and firm touch. You want your steak to be a light, cherry-red colour with lots of marbling. Marbling refers to the white streaks of fat that can be seen within the lean part of the meat. Not only does marbling add a ton of flavour, it’s also one of the main criteria for judging the quality of a steak.

Step 2: Mind your temperature.
Before cooking or grilling, always let your steak come to room temperature. This is to ensure that it won’t toughen when it hits the heat and that’s bound to happen if the meat is too cold.

Step 3: Get the right heat.
Using dry heat is the best way to cook a great steak. That’s because dry heat cooking causes caramelization, which gives steak that mouth-watering rich flavour and brown colour. In this process, the sugars inherent in the meat go through a series of complex reactions called the Maillard reaction.

Sear your steak in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. This should take approximately five to six minutes per side depending on your tastes. Until you learn to judge the doneness of your steak by touching it, using a meat thermometer is a foolproof way to achieve cooking perfection.

Simply follow these temperature guides:

Rare – 120 F
Medium rare – 125 F
Medium well – 135 F
Well – 140 F

Step 4: Nap time!
Once it’s cooked to your liking, remove the steak from the pan, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for five minutes before serving.

Step 5: Season.
Don’t forget to add salt and pepper to your steak after it’s cooked and has rested — never before cooking. Salt brings moisture to the surface of the steak, which prevents delicious caramelization!

Chef Sam Khalil is the executive chef at the Doctor’s House and XX1 Chophouse in Kleinburg, Ont.

Photo By Carlos Arturo pintro

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