How to Cook Rare Steak to Perfection
In cooking steaks, the common graduation of readiness is based on the color, juiciness, and internal temperatures of the final steak. One of the most popular types of steaks is the rare steak. This article teaches you how to cook rare steak to perfection.
What Is a Rare Steak?
This is a type of steak that is only cooked for a brief period and at a core temperature of about 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s done, its outer layer should be seared and dark while the inner layer should be tender and bright red. Compared to a well-done steak, a rare steak is completely juicy with a meaty flavor.
A rare steak is just shy of serving the cut of beef raw. Therefore, when you are cooking a rare steak, make sure it doesn’t stay on the grill or in the pan for too long. Also, ensure that the internal temperature higher than 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is It Safe to Eat a Rare Steak?
Considering that a rare steak doesn’t cook for long, some people have expressed their concerns over its safety. But according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), it is okay to enjoy a piece of rare steak if you dislike meat that is well-done.
However, the association warns that you have to understand how to, safely, eat meat that is lightly cooked. Here are some of the rules that you should follow when preparing and eating a rare steak.
1. Set the Right Temperature
As earlier indicated, the ideal internal temperature for cooking a rare steak is 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, if your grill doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, you need to have a handheld one in your toolbox. A thermometer ensures that your steak is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature.
This internal temperature should destroy all harmful food microbes such as Salmonella and E. coli. If these bacteria are not destroyed, they can expose you to the risk of serious illnesses or possibly death. Fortunately, an instant-read food thermometer is not expensive and only requires a few seconds to read the actual internal temperature.
While your senses are important for allowing you to taste the steak, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively to know if the steak is ready for consumption. You shouldn’t also rely only on the color and texture of the steak to know if it’s ready. All these are not reliable indicators of a safe rare steak.
Likewise, a red or pink inner layer doesn’t necessarily mean the steak is undercooked. Only a food thermometer will give you the correct answer on the proper doneness of your rare steak. You should measure the temperature of your steak while it is still cooking to get the right assessment.
2. Don’t Grind Rare Steak
A rare steak should not be ground because the process of grinding can leave a variety of harmful bacteria on the surface of the meat. Some of these microbes are resistant to low heat and therefore they won’t be destroyed at 125 degrees Fahrenheit. According to AND, the ground steak should be cooked with temperatures above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The association further advises that if the steak is roast or cop, its doneness should be medium-rare, which is can only be achieved with an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, you should let the steak stand for about three minutes before cutting or eating it.
Therefore, there is no simple way to guarantee the safety of rare steak. This also means raw steak delights like steak tartare and beef carpaccio are not considered 100 percent safe, especially for individuals at higher risk of food poisoning, including kids, older people, and pregnant women, because their immune systems are weak.
So, if you fall into any of these categories, you should avoid raw and undercooked meat.
What’s the Difference Between Medium, Well-Done, Rare, and Blue Steaks?
1. Rare Steak
A rare steak is a type of beef cut that has been cooked for a brief period. This steak is normally cooked at a low temperature of not more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready, its inner layer should be cool and red.
It is almost raw but grilled on the outside. Since beef steak doesn’t contain the kind of parasites found in chicken and pork steaks, eating it rare doesn’t expose you to any serious health risks.
2. Medium Steak
A medium steak is usually warm with a grey-brown inner layer, which is soft and juicy. Its juice is not very clear. It also has a more pronounced band of pink in the middle. This steak has a firm outer layer.
3. Well-Done Steak
A well-done steak is usually charred on the outer layer, with a greyish-brown color all through. It shouldn’t have any sign of pink color. This steak is cooked on medium heat to prevent it from toughening.
4. Blue Steak
Also referred to as blue rare steak, a blue steak is the mark of French culinary tradition. It is achieved by cooking a cold steak under high temperatures for a very short period of time.
In fact, the main purpose of exposing this steak to heat is to sear its outer layer. This stage of steak doneness is hard to achieve, especially if you are used to steaks that are well-done.
A blue steak needs a maximum of three minutes to cook–one minute for each side and 30 seconds for each edge. The inner layer looks completely raw, but don’t worry because that’s how a blue steak should look like.
5 Tips for Cooking Rare Steak
Although rare steak is not everybody’s favorite, you should at least know how to cook it perfectly. Whether you are a professional chef or you just love cooking, these tips will help you to prepare the best rare steak when the time comes.
1. Let the Steak Rest
A cold steak doesn’t cook evenly. So, do not place a chilled piece of steak in the frying pan or on the grill straight from the freezer or fridge. Doing so makes it difficult for the heat to reach the center of the steak. This is particularly important for a rare steak because it doesn’t cook for a long period.
So, if you cook it when cold, you will end up removing it from the fire before the required amount of heat reaches the center. Therefore, you should let the steak rest for about 30 minutes before cooking it. This allows the meat to warm up a little so that the heat can reach the center quickly.
After cooking, it’s equally important to give the steak a few minutes to rest. This allows the juice to be redistributed and the muscle fibers to relax. Cutting the hot steak immediately will result in a tough, dry steak. A rare steak should be completely tender and juicy.
2. Season It Well
Never shy away from seasoning your rare steak thoroughly before cooking it. At least, make sure that it gets a substantial rub down with salt and black pepper. Every professional chef will tell you that salt is the most significant component you can add to a steak.
Seasoning should be done before you let the steak rest so that the salt and pepper have enough time to work their way deep into the meat. And if you love spices, sprinkle the steak with some bold spices like cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, sumac, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, among others.
3. Sear Hot
Whether you want to grill your rare steak or sear it in a cast-iron skillet, always make sure there is enough heat before you place it on the fire. This is very important because it helps to caramelize the outer layer of the steak, locking in the juice and flavor.
High temperatures also create the textural diversity of the rare steak: a crispy outer layer and a juicy and tender inner layer.
4. Use a Food Thermometer
The amount of temperature you expose your steak to determines its last stage of doneness. Therefore, you have to be sure that the internal temperature in your skillet or grill is the right one for your desired level of doneness. A simple food thermometer will help you to test the internal temperature and doneness of your rare steak.
Test the temperatures of your steak while still in the pan to get accurate results. Just press the thermometer into the steak and read the results. Remember that the internal temperature of your steak will continue to rise even after you have removed it from the heat.
So, you should remove the steak from the heat 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit before you get to the desired temperature.
This helps you to avoid overcooking or undercooking your steak. The longer you cook a rare steak, the faster the juice and flavor dissipate. But it is also important to understand that the time it takes to cook your rare steak also depends on the thickness of the steak and the source of heat.
5. Add Toppings
Although your rare stick will still taste perfect on its own, you can make it more delicious by adding toppings to it. For instance, you can add a layer of butter, allowing it to melt over the steak. The butter will mix with the meat juice to form its own mouthwatering sauce.
Apart from butter, you can add sautéed mushrooms, fresh pesto, tabbouleh, vegetables, gremolata, and other toppings to create a beautiful complement to the meaty essence.
With this information, you should be able to cook a delicious piece of rare steak. It should also help you to add flavor to your steaks and improve their tenderness. Just follow these easy steps and you will be surprised at how perfect your rare steak turns out to be.