Cooking dry-aged steak
I tried the Alain Ducasse method from the NYTimes. I personnally would skip it. It's a long slow process that I am not sure is worthwhile. It's a bit of overengineering.
I could not get a nice even caramelization. The garlic doesn't really brown in the butter bath at that low temperature the way I like it. Good steaks also don't really need to be basted in butter. I prefer EVOO. The best method might just be to sear it nice and brown over high heat. I can get a nice crust with my cast-iron pan.
Grilled over raging HOT above wood coals on a steel grate outside is how I cook steak. Most often grilled over mesquite lump charcoal or natural cherry burned down to coals. Sometimes kosher salt, sometimes not. Here is also a thread on browning steaks: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/275134 Have even tried directly on the coals after getting them hot and blowing ash away with a heat gun: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863019 For me see the best crust and results on a grate over enough wood coals to burn entire time. Maximum heat with minimum ash from a well-prepared fire.
Garlic butter is dipped into mostly here. Dip in a little cup like a steak sauce or horseradish sauce. I eat melted garlic butter on baked potato and garlic bread. Often dip steak or seafood bites. Garlic butter adds flavor to most any starch; even rice or noodles. Great on baked potato with sour cream and a few drops of liquid smoke stirred in... with fresh chives (add bacon bits if have but not necessary).
Wow, everyone's got their own system for cooking a steak. When to put the salt and pepper on. Use some combination of or only cast-iron pan, oven and/or grill. I think you can make a good steak as long as it seasoned with salt and not overcooked. Anyone taking the time to read this thread will give a dry-aged steak the care it requires.
I personally would not prepare any sauces for dry-aged steak. Dry-aged has an intense flavor and is expensive. I do not want anything to distract from the taste of the meat.
For all the butter lovers, I thought some steakhouses add melted or sizzling butter towards the end of the cooking process.
OK the 411 on salting. when to salt maters to how you cook it. if you are grilling or pansearing your steak you would salt it after cooking during its rest. this will give the salt time to dissolve into the outer meat juice and fats. how ever if you plan to Broil your steak, you will want to salt it lightly,and rub it in 10 min. before cooking. this WILL draw out,or rather displace a small amount of moisture laden protein from the steak. this moisture will crust over into a light mahogany colored outside,that will taste better than any steak sauce. also rest your steak on a cooling rack covered with foil so it can finish cooking
Fascinating comments...this is how I go about it.
A cast iron pan should be hot, hot, hot way too hot for butter, better to use a griddle, if you want the lines, but anyway, toss the steaks in oil, pepper and salt, (don't oil or butter the pan as it should be too hot), and cook to medium rare 2 to 3 minutes each side to colour then take off the heat and place in a hot oven to cook through, say
4 to 6 minutes for a thick cut...to check the tenderness, simply touch the steak with your finger, this part takes some practice to get too know what is medium rare, rare, etc...then rest, as mentioned by our friends here this is key to allow the juices to stop racing around inside the meat so that when you cut the meat the juices don't come seep out all over the plate. As far as those comments regarding the Bernaise Sauce, listen, butter and tarragon in a hot pan would spoil the steak if you ask me, you'd be better to learn how to make a good bernaise...it's worth the effort.
Yes, I was worried about that, too. If you want a butter flavour, I'd use 1 part butter to 1 part oil (to prevent the butter from burning). I'd also add in the garlic for the last minute of cooking.
A safer method would be to lightly oil the steak itself (not the pan), sear the meat till it's done - either on top of the stove or, if a very thick piece of meat, finished (after turning) in the oven at about 400. After the steak has rested, top with a slice of flavoured compound butter (take softened butter, stir in your favourite fresh herbs or other seasonings, place into plastic wrap, and twist the ends of the plastic to form a log; then refrigerate till hardened).
1. Several posters suggest using butter and/or garlic in the pan for cooking the steak. Isn't the heat so high that the butter will burn? I understand putting butter and garlic after the steak is cooked and the heat is turned down.
2. Heating a cast iron skillet on my stove til it gets hat as can be usually results in a burned area on the steak, so I usually heat it to the "pretty hot" stage. I also use the salt sprinkling method.
I have also used a digital thermometor with good success - the one that stays in the meat on the grill.
The best way to do steak is to get a heavy cast iron pan, sprinkle on the sea salt and get it as hot as is possible. Throw in the meat leave it alone for about 3 minutes for an average thickness and turn it once. remove when still bloody rare and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. More done than medium rare and you've ruined a fine piece of meat.
Dry-aged meat should be at room temperature. Cold meat on a hot pan makes pot roast.
Don't cook to more than medium rare, or you cook out the fat that creates the "prime" flavor.
Here's my paraphrase of a long article by Alain Ducasse:
Heat a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. High heat carbonizes the surface and cooks too fast to caramelize the surface properly.
Brown a thick cut on the edges to render fat for the rest of the cooking. It also improves the finished appearance.
Salt the steak and cook about 10 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or two spoons rather than piercing with a fork.
It's important to let the steak rest for at least half as long as it's been cooked -- here 10 to 15 minutes.
Chef's secret: Crush a few big, unpeeled garlic cloves and put them in the pan with the steak and a chunk of butter. Baste with the garlic butter during the last few minutes.
How thick is it? I bought a beautiful two-inch-thick dry-aged ribeye from the Café Rouge meat counter, let it sit on the kitchen counter for a few hours, brushed it with olive oil and s&p, put it on the grill for a few minutes each side, then into a preheated 400° oven for about 8 minutes, then let it rest for about 15 while I made a Sauce Béarnaise. Perfect. But methods and timing would be different for a different cut and/or different thickness.
I find the best time to salt is about 2-3 minutes (up to 5) before cooking to begin to draw moisture and proteins to the surface and, thereby, get a good sear. Also, I don't like to add pepper before cooking as I find pepper can get bitter when exposed to high heat. I'll add pepper after the sear but before I remove it from the grill (for that cooked pepper flavour) or after removal at the table.
i agree you shouldn't salt ahead of time. its a waste. but you should use a salt crust.
i've had success with this preparation:
pre-heat your grill, and get your woodchips on it if its gas.
coat your steaks in kosher salt and pepper.
in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan (but ideally a cast iron) melt butter until it stops foaming and add chopped shallots.
sear the steaks quickly. QUICKLY. add more shallots as you turn if you need to.
immediately put them on the grill over med-high heat for a few minutes each side. watch for flame-ups from the butter.
move them to low heat for 1-2 minutes a side or until desired internal temp.
you could use a broiler if a grill isn't available, but it makes it harder to move to low heat quickly.
i usually then use a demi-glace reduction with wine and mushrooms.
I agree with CapeCodGuy - do not salt the meat a day ahead! You'll be bringing essential moisture to the surface, which will not only dry the steak out (it HAS already been dry aged, after all), but inhibit the browning and caramelization that comes with placing a perfectly dry piece of meat over high heat.
If you can't grill it, go ahead and pan sear it over high heat on top of the stove. Oil the steak lightly first (do not oil the pan) with extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, season with salt and pepper just before cooking, and place it in the preheated pan. Let it sear for 4 minutes on the first side, turn over, and finish it on top of the stove (or place the pan in a 425F oven) for 3 or 4 more minutes for medium rare.
Pan searing on top of the stove gives you the option of creating a pan sauce once the steak comes off the stove. While the steak is resting, deglaze the pan with red wine/Cognac/brandy, add some stock or heavy cream, et voila! Or, coat the steak with crushed black peppercorns before searing, and you've got steak au poivre after deglazing and adding cream.
re: Robert Lauriston
No pre-salt! It'll draw out more moisture and ruin a beautiful cut of meat. You don't mention if its filet, ribeye, strip, etc. so it's hard to say which is the best method. To me, I'd gut it out and grill outside. Sear on very high heat for a few minutes and then cook indiect for the remainder. The length of cooking is determined by the cut (bone-in or not?) and the thickness...1 inch, 2 inch, etc. And yes, do get it to room temp before cooking.