HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Resting a steak

This is a somewhat basic question, but I've always wondered and this seemed a good place to ask.

I know to rest a steak for 5-10 minutes once it's pulled off the grill to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. However, that of course causes the meat to cool. I tent the platter with foil to try and retain some heat, but we usually wind up eating our steaks warm, not hot.

Are steaks SUPPOSED to be eaten warm instead of hot? Is it ok that I'm using the foil or does that continue the cooking process? Should I be heating the steaks in an oven or under a broiler for a few minutes after resting to bring the temperature back up?

Please let me know what you do.

Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I use a very, very fast grill and cook my steaks from room temperature. The moment they come off the grill, onto heated plates, I add a bit of seasoned butter (or plain, salted butter if I'm in "purist" mode). Then you wait.

    You'll figure out if the ambient temperature is cool enough to rest them 5 minutes or if you need to take 10. I'd hazard a guess you're cooking to rare or med-rare... that's another part of the resting conundrum. It's just a matter of practice making perfect.

    You might prefer to rest your steaks in a warm place without the tent of tinfoil; that'll add moisture and "steam" the outside of your beef.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shaogo

      like an oven at 200 degrees? or is that more cooking that will stop the "resting" - I always cook to medium rare and always from room temp meat

    2. steaks should be eaten after having rested and should not be sizzling hot - warm is better.

      1. YosemiteSam,

        I think that is one of those art skills. Isn't it? Yes, resting is a technique for steaks, but even more critical for whole turkey. The logic is almost what you said, but it is less about redistribution and more about capacity. The juice is already there and I don't think you can distribute it much. What you are trying to do is to prevent juice loss.

        At high temperatures, a meat has less capacity to hold its liquid, which is why when you cut a very hot steak, juice runs out instinctly (you don't see that for a cold steak, do you?). So, if you cut the meat very hot and serve it warm, then you will realize it is dry. This is very obvious for carved turkey. At lower tempertaures, a meat can hold more of its juice, so you won't get massive liquid running out when cutting the meat. Partially, it is because certain juices start to solidfy. Either way, if you cut your meat warm and eat it warm, then you will notice the meat to be more juicy.

        Do you have to do this? No, but I think you should at least try it a few times and see if you prefer the "resting" method.

        1. it depends on how I serve the steak. If everyone gets a whole steak. I don't bother to let it rest as by the time everything is set out and start eating, there is usually enough time to rest. If I am serving it sliced, then definitely let it rest. I never tent as the meat will continue to cook and steam. Just make sure plates are hot. And if one is serving beef rare or medium-rare, there is no way to get the middle of the steak hot, therefore, warm is fine for me.

          1. I've lately decided that not-piping-hot works best (for my palate) for most foods, steak included. I rest my grilled steaks on a rack (no foil) for about 5 minutes, having gilded the proverbial lily w/ a dab of butter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spot

              Agreed. What food /is/ better when it's very hot as opposed to warm?

            2. Steaks are best eaten warm. The subtle flavors of the beef are masked if the meat is smoking hot.

              1. Back in the day when we had steak at least a couple of times a week (Hello, arteries!), I had one of those infrared lamps that retaurants use to keep food warm while waiting for pick-up. Mine was designed for the home and came with a stand or could be mounted under a cabinet. It kept the steaks from getting cold while they rested. Seems reasonable to think they still make them, or at least something similar. It was also handy for parties if I served buffet style.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1

                  Unfortunately those lamps also inevitably "cook" the steak (even more than resting it does).

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    hmmmm.... Mine didn't. What was I doing wrong? '-) I think the secret is in how close the food sits to the infra red. Oh, and how long you rest the steaks. I would rest my steaks for three or four minutes with the infra red hood about sixteen inches above the steaks. Wonder where it is? Haven't seen it since I moved. But I haven't unpacked everything yet either.... :-|

                2. A hot steak, whether it had rested and reheated or been tented, is going to leak out juices. It's not a perfect analogy, but think of a hot air baloon. The heat causes the air to expand, and it pushes outward, filling out the baloon. If you burst the baloon, the hot air shoots out.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I'm told it does in Los Angeles. Besides, air isn't red or contain proteins and hemoglobin, either. See also, "it's not a perfect analogy."

                      1. re: sbp

                        I know it is not a perfect analogy, but I am not even sure what parts are good and what parts are bad. Considerd that liquid does very little volume expansion compared to gas, I am not sure if an analogy between hot air in a balloon and steak juice is correct.

                        "Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly constant density"

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid

                  1. Thanks everyone! Looks like it's a warm steak for me - I like the idea of warming the plates though