Co-authored by the masterminds behind Hawksmoor: Huw Gott and Will Beckett alongside their head chef Richard Turner, bring us Hawksmoor at Home. In their worldwide quest for the perfect steak, this love letter to beef is an essential read for all meat and cocktail lovers.
Hawksmoor is widely acclaimed for serving the best steak in London so it couldn’t be better news that they have decided to share their secrets, one of them being: How to Cook a Perfect Steak. The rules as they say, are as follows:
1. BUY GOOD MEAT. This is the key. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done but fear not as the book shows you a few of the most important questions to ask your butcher.
2. BUY BIG. The aim is to get a good char on the outside whilst keeping the meat juicy and tender inside; this is very difficult to achieve with a thin piece of meat. Ideally each steak should be at least 300g (10.5 oz) and 4cm thick. Or buy a bigger cut and share a steak such as the Porterhouse, between two people.
3. TAKE THE MEAT OUT OF THE FRIDGE. It needs at least an hour (and if it’s really big, 2 hours) to be brought up to room temperature.
4. FIRE UP THE BARBEQUE. Or, if it’s raining, dig out a heavy cast iron griddle pan.
5. GET THE BARBEQUE OR THE PAN HOT. It needs to be really, really hot. You’re looking for white-hot coals on the barbeque or a grill pan which has been exposed to a high heat for at least 5 minutes. A quick tip to show it is ready, is to hold your hand near the heat source. It should be painful to do so.
6. IF YOU’RE INSIDE, OPEN THE WINDOW. There will be lots of smoke.
7. DRY YOUR STEAK. If your steak is wet pat it dry with a paper towel, otherwise it will struggle to form a decent crust and can pick up some unpleasant boiled-meat flavours. At the last minute, season the meat well and more than you probably think is sensible.
It will help build up a delicious salty crust. Some say that you shouldn’t season the steak until after you’ve cooked it.
We think they’re wrong. We season with a mix of forty-five percent Maldon sea salt, forty-five percent smoked Maldon sea salt and ten percent coarsely ground black pepper.
8. DON’T USE ANY OIL ON THE MEAT OR IN THE PAN. If the grill is hot enough, the meat won’t stick. As well as being unnecessary, oil tends to add a hint of flavour that doesn’t sit well with good beef. If you’re really worried, you can cut a small piece of fat off your steak (or ask your butcher for a piece) and rub it over the grill with a pair of tongs.
9. STICK THE STEAK ON. Leave it for a couple of minutes and then flip. Carry on turning every couple of minutes until it’s the way you like it. If the heat is as fierce as our charcoal grill at Hawksmoor, you may need to turn more regularly to avoid burning. Most say that you should only turn your steak once, but we agree with food scientist Harold McGee who advocates frequent flips – the key is for the heat source to be hot enough to still produce that delicious crust.
Don’t overcrowd the grill or the pan – make sure there’s plenty of space between each steak.
10. BROWN THE FAT. If there is a thick layer of fat on your steak, hold it up vertically to make sure it gets browned also.
11. REST IT. When you’re happy with how the steak is cooked, put it on to a warm plate and leave to rest for at least 5 minutes (a really thick steak will be better after 10).
12. Crack open a bottle of good red wine. EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY.
Photography by: Dan Lepard