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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Cook Your Steak The Way Steakhouse Chefs Do It

Those who like their meat rare to medium
rare should choose filet mignon. Photo


Yesterday we discussed the best cuts of steak to choose at a steakhouse. What if you want to grill at home?

Whether at home or at a restaurant, how rare or well done you like your meat can impact your choice of cut. As meat cooks, the fibers break down: That’s why medium-well-done meat is easier to chew than rare meat of the same cut. However, the more done the meat, the less juicy it is.

Some of the tougher cuts, like hanger steak, can’t be cooked rare: You need to go with medium to avoid the chewiness.

  • If you like rare meat should consider filet mignon, the tenderest cut, or rib eye, the second most tender cut.
  • If you prefer a medium doneness, go for a porterhouse or sirloin.

    Want to know how steakhouse chefs cook steak? Chef Arturo McLeod of Benjamin Steak House suggests grilling times and techniques for the perfect steak:


    In general, medium rare is considered to deliver the best flavor. However, your preference also depends on the size and thickness of the steak.
    Filet Mignon

    Filet mignon is best served rare or medium rare.

  • Rare: Grill 3 minutes on each side.
  • Medium Rare: Grill 4 minutes on each side.
  • Medium: Grill 7 minutes on each side.

    Porterhouse is best served medium rare to medium.

  • Medium Rare: Grill 8 minutes on each side.
  • Medium: Grill 10 minutes on each side.
    Rib Eye

    Rib eye is best served medium rare.

  • Medium Rare: Grill 8 minutes on each side.
  • Medium: Grill 10 minutes on each side.

    Sirloin is best served medium rare to medium.

  • Medium Rare: Grill 8 minutes on each side.
  • Medium: Grill 10 minutes on each side.


    For USDA prime beef, opt for the best local butchers rather than chain grocery stores, says Chef McLeod. Some grocery stores don’t even carry choice, the second best grade of beef (see the different USDA grades of beef). You won’t know unless you ask.

    Request aged beef; however, not all butchers and stores sell aged beef. Call around to see who has it in your area; or order it online from companies like Allen Brothers.

    Most butchers don’t carry the same quality of meat as a top steakhouse. Even thought they might like to, only 3% of the typical steer is USDA prime, and top restaurants compete that small amount of meat.

    Chef McLeod advises to buy porterhouse or New York strip steaks: They’re the better offering at your local butcher.

    Before you buy, he advises:


    Porterhouse: filet mignon and sirloin, separated by a T-shaped bone (hence, its other name, T-bone steak). Photo courtesy


  • Check the color. Make sure the beef is red throughout entire cut (grass fed beef will be darker in color.
  • Check for consistent marbling throughout. This indicates a steak that will be tender and juicy.

  • ROOM TEMPERATURE. Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking so the meat will cook evenly. Otherwise, the outside will cook faster than the inside. If you want to trim the fat before cooking, do so while the meat is cold.
  • BROILER. Use your broiler instead of the stove top to simulate restaurant grills. To finish in the oven as steak houses do, preheat the oven to 450°F for thinner steaks, 500°F for thicker steaks. Use a grill pan that can go into the oven.
  • SALT. Lightly season the meat with kosher salt.
  • COOK. Cook under the broiler according to the times above, but save the final two minutes per side for oven finishing.
  • TURN. Turn the steak with tongs instead of a fork. A fork pierces the meat and juices will run out.
  • BUTTER. Add a pat of unsalted butter to the bottom of pan and insert the pan into the oven.
  • OVEN. Place the grill pan in the oven for two minutes; turn with tongs and cook for the final two minutes.
  • JUICES. Save the natural pan juices and drizzle them over meat. Serve.
    If you have questions for Chef McLeod, use the Contact Us link on this page.

    Check out the many cuts of beef in our Beef Glossary.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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