Instructables

The World's Most Delicious Steak

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In this Instructable I will show you how to make the world's most delicious steak.

You can see the entire process in this short video.

This is the traditional method used by the Gauchos in Southern Brazil. If you have ever eaten at a churrascaria like Fogo de Chao or Rodizio Grill, you know how absolutely amazing this tastes. After eating a steak prepared like this, you will never want your steak made any other way.



 
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Step 1: Ingredients - Salting

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All you need is a steak and some rock salt.

Start by dumping a pile of salt onto the steak.

This may sound a little crazy - I thought it was crazy the first time I saw it - but trust me.

By the way, this Instructable is multi-media enabled. You can see the whole thing in this short little video..

Step 2: Rub

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Rub the salt around so that all surfaces of the steak are in contact with the salt. Pat the salt a little to make it stick.

Now just let the steak sit and get salty for 10-15 minutes.

At this point, there is some sort of magical reaction that is happening between the salt and the steak. Sure, the steak gets salty, but its more than that. Maybe the salt breaks down the cellular structure of the meat releasing the delicious flavor and juiciness. I am sure there is some scientific explanation. I am not sure what that is, but it is delicious.

Step 3: Rub Off

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After the salting period, rub the salt off the steak.

Try to get most of it off. Its not a big deal if some salt remains on the steak, because most of that will fall off as the steak tightens and shrinks while cooking.

Step 4: Grill It

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Take the steak out and grill it on high heat. Depending on the thickness of your steak, it takes about 5 minutes on each side.

My Brazilian friends would be horrified to see that I am using a gas grill. It would be better to use a wood or charcoal fired grill.

I made this short video for those of us who prefer a more audio-visual learning environment.
I tried this once, and it was great, i did it again and it was awful. Why?
yeah me too i would like to know why i did it exactly the same
aeray3 years ago
The whole "searing the meat to lock in the juices" first proposed by Justus von Liebig in 1850 has been known to be false since the early 1900's. It does however create better flavor through carmelization and Maillard reactions.
astortuga5 years ago
Hola a todos... The Gauchos are from Argentina, not from Brazil. to accompany the steak, a typical sauce from the GAUCHOS. "Salsa Criolla" A medium onion. - Medium red pimento. - Medium green pimento. - 2 green onions. - A tomato, seeded. - Olive oil, one cup. - Vinegar, half cup - Salt, two tablespoons - Pepper grind, pepper and cumin to taste to accompany the steak, I left a typical - Chop the onions, peppers cut into cubes, chop the green parts of green onions. Remove seeds and chop tomatoes into small cubes. - In a bowl, dissolve salt in vinegar. Put the onion and let it soak ten minutes. - Add the remaining vegetables and olive oil. Mix well with dressing and seasonings. - Leave at least two hours before using my english is not the best, i hope you understand the recipe Cheers from argentina
shoemaker (author)  astortuga5 years ago
Thanks for the recipe. The Gauchos, pronounced gow chos are from Argentina. The Gauchos, pronounced Ga oo shoes are from Brazil. In fact, people who come from the state of Rio Grande du Sul are all called Gauchos, even if they aren't in the cowboy/ranching industry.
i've been using johnnys, peppercorn steak sauce stuff, i Should try this.
blacjack15 years ago
hey cool recipe, is it alright if an electric grill is used? thanks your answer is appreciated
fred5316 years ago
An open letter to all people arguing on how to cook steak: The best method for your tastes depends on your tastes. If you're like me, you like a steak with an almost crunchy outside layer, then a uniform, moist, medium-rare center. To achieve this, you must sear, then cook through at a medium heat, then let rest. If you like more tender meat that's drier, you shouldn't sear, and cook at a lower heat. It all depends on what kind of steak you like, and from there, your method can be perfected. tl;dr: Know what you want first, then learn how to do it.
fred531 fred5316 years ago
Also, for a faster initial sear, to really lock in the juices, I melt some butter, throw in a pinch of rosemary or ginger, depending on if I'm going for eastern or western flavor, and brush it on the steak and the grill.
hello, i kinda read something about aging the meat before cooking. what does this do? how do you age the meat? i thought that the fresher the meat the better tasting and juicier the meat would be. I could be wrong. im interested in the aging of the meat. something i havent tried.
Well-aged beef is indeed much tastier than fresh, but I wouldn't try that myself. You need a pretty good, industrial strength refrigerator for that. Just ask your butcher for well-aged meat, he'll know. Oh, and in case anyone wondered, I like my beef "bleu seignant", which basically means that it just stopped saying "mooh". If I can't see rear meat, it's not a steak for me.
adlabens6 years ago
How to tell how well done is your steak, without cutting it ??? Well, take your middle finger & press it into the fat of your thumb, below where it attaches to your hand. In the middle, the firmness is Medium. At the top, the firmness is Rare. Between the middle & the top, the firmness is Medium Rare. At the bottom, the firmness is Well Done, and between the middle & the bottom, the firmness is Medium Well. The firmer the flesh is then the more done the meat will be. Once you master this technique, you can cook a steak on a grill at midnight without any lights outside, and get the meat cooked perfectly. Oh, & to have a juicier steak, simply cook it over low heat first because this drives the juices to the other side, then flip it. Doing this perfectly, you will flip the steak just when you see juices start to come out the top. Don't wait too long or you'll loose most of the moistness. But, do it sooner, & you prevent any juice loss, resulting in a much more flavorful steak. Cooking a piece of meat over a high heat is only done in restaurants where they just want to get the meal to the table & get the customer out the door so they can seat the next guests. Searing the surface shocks it & toughens up the surface. Cooking it low & slow leaves it tender & moist. And, if done perfectly, you can flip the steak so that it cooks twice on each side, giving it good cross marks from the grill. Just cook it indirectly & not directly over the heat source. I like to take a good bourbon or scotch whiskey and use a Food Saver to marinate the meat in it. The smoky taste of the whiskey helps the meat taste better & the alcohol helps the meat stay even more moist. The salt is a very good way to cook a number of different things, including salmon. But, the best thing is to start with the best piece of meat you can afford.
I totally disagree with the slow low heat comments and the anti-searing comments. I do not believe this results in a more moist steak. "Drive the juices to the other side"? What physics causes juices to defy gravity and run uphill to get away from the fire? Hahah. No, the juices do come to the surface as it boils out, but this is exactly what you should try to avoid by searing first and using medium/high heat and shorter cooktime (3-4 minutes per side usually). If you have to dump whisky on your steak to make it taste better, you are DEFINITELY DOING SOMETHING WRONG! :)
I've thought long & hard about how I'd reply to your post. I knew going in that I'd ruffle a few feathers with the technique, and you have every right to disagree. However, I'll ignore your comment about physics and defer to someone a little more educated in food science. Alton Brown (see foodtv.com) explains quite explicitly how to grill the ultimate steak. He says that the fast grill is a tool for a mass production facility and not a tool for producing an extraordinary steak (tho mass production is is better with a better quality of steak than higher quality cooking with a lesser quality steak). He explains that it's best to cook the steak low & slow until just before time to get it off the grill, and ONLY THEN to turn up the heat & sear the outside. He explains that the fast sear at first does boil the juices out of the steak, versus at the end, and he shows how the meat gets relatively tough and dry on the outside on the fast grill first, but how the slow grill first produces a better textured and flavored steak than you can get in any restaurant. Of course, he starts with a piece of aged beef, and he explains how to age it yourself in the fridge. And, he ends with letting the steak rest for a few minutes before plating it up. And, you should never cut a steak to see how well done it is. And, using tongs is much better to turn a steak than a fork. You certainly have a right to disagree, but I'll go with his culinary education and experience, as well as his science background and teaching credentials. We've been watching Alton Brown's "Good Eats" since it first aired, several years ago. It's one of the very best shows on all of TV, and by far is the most educational cooking show in the history of TV. And, I've take adjacent cuts of sirloin and cooked them on the grill, cooking one fast at first & then slow, and cooking the other slow at first and then fast. Timing was critical and both cooked for the same amount of time over the high heat and for the same amount of time over the low heat. But, the difference in the texture and ultimate taste, along with the amount of juick that showed up on the plate, was beyond anything I'd have believed. I've cooked at a high-quality restaurant under a classically trained chef, where we cooked steaks as fast as we could get them on & off the grill. We cooked a lot of beef back in those days. But, none of those steaks compared to what I've learned in a 30 minute show from Alton Brown. But, feel free to continue cooking steaks with a fast sear to start. It's definitely your prerogative.
Sorry your comment just sounded "suspect" to me. But I'm definitely open to ideas. I will search for the directions you saw on foodtv (do you have any specific links?) and I will definitely do some comparison tests myself. I'm still skeptical though. Would like to know approximate cooking temperatures and times. In my experience long cook times just produce drier steaks (water boils at just 212 degrees F) but maybe you are talking about super low temps? Not sure what keeps the juices in if you don't sear it.

There are lots of different opinions and ideas out there about cooking the best steaks. In googling I found this discussion.

All kinds of interesting ideas including doing the full cook in a cast iron pan, using sugar, resting the meat, searing the edges, USDA choice vs. prime etc. One quote from there is "Cooking over a medium-high flame for a shorter period of time will yield a more tender juicier steak. Cooking over a low flame for a longer time will lend a smokier flavored but less tender steak."

First, let me apologize to the original poster of this Instructable for hijacking the thread. That was not my intent in any form or fashion. TraderGordo, Admittedly, I was a little taken aback by the tone of your comments. Unfortunately, as for Alton's lessons, they are not available on the web, only by watching the TV show or purchasing the DVDs. You can, however, get the schedule online so that you can see when an episode may be playing. Go to foodnetwork.com & click on the TV tab at the top, then there's a "Find A Show" drop down on the left hand side & slide it down to Good Eats. That'll get you to the page for that show. You can also find his recipes. One good example will be to search for "Alton Brown Steaks" where he explains to cook the steak for 5 min on each side & then raise the steak closer to the broiler heat and cook for 3 min on each side, noting that he doesn't really sear it until the 2nd half of the cooking process. There are as many ways to cook a good piece of meat as one can find pieces of meat. Many people LOVE the salt crusted steak, but I wouldn't let a grain of salt touch my steak until I'm ready to cut it open and start consuming it. And, when you buy a rib eye in the grocery store, it's not the same quality of rib eye that are in the restaurants. They pay a higher price for them, and will buy them all at any price, so they never make it to the grocery shelves. I have an uncle who used to have a meat packing plant, so we got a 10# box of fillets a couple of times each year. He would cook them over a pit filled with a combination of oak and mescuite. He'd soak the meat in melted butter and then let it drip dry before putting it over the fire (which, by the way, was a pit dug into the ground and he'd put a steel grate on the ground & just roll the steaks around with a stick until they were cooked to the desired degree of doneness - those were amazing steaks. And, many folks will marinate a steak with wines of varying degrees of drinkability (don't ever use an alcohol in a marinade that you wouldn't drink straight-up) - I just happen to find that a little bit of whiskey gives it a flavor and juicyness that I like more - because I'll drink the bottled whiskey more and more often than I'll drink any wine.
I agree that the quality of the meat makes an enormous difference. The thickness matters too (thin steak gets to "medium" in a heartbeat, and by then its ruined). I like your uncle's technique of soaking the meat in butter then letting it dry - I do this myself, note that this is very similar to the salt technique though, the butter has salt and fat in it - both perfect for preparing a steak.
Hmmm, butter. That's a whole 'nutter' discussion... There are some differences in butters. You can either get regular butter (with salt) or "unsalted" butter. Generally, the unsalted butter has to be fresher because it won't last as long in the fridge. Salted butter, however, is better preserved, because of the salt, and will last longer in the fridge. We don't buy any salted butter - not because we're watching our salt, but because when we bake with unsalted butter, we get what the recipe is supposed to produce. Baking with salted butter means you should adjust the salt in the recipe to make up for the salt in the butter - BUT, there's no telling how much salt is in the butter! So, we buy only unsalted butter. And, when April finds it on sale or gets a really good coupon, she stocks up. Last time we bought about 20 pounds of it. That was almost 3 years ago. And the butter has kept just fine. But, we took quarters and vacuum sealed them (some singles, some doubles, some triples) and put them into the deep freeze. We only open the deep freeze about 3 times per week, and we keep it at zero degrees (F), so stuff that won't keep very long will last almost forever like that. Unsalted butter. And, I've used the vacuum sealer to speed-marinate steaks & chicken breasts (boneless skinless), tho I won't do that with shrimp or fish. You can fully marinate about any piece of meat in the vacuum sealer containers in about 15 minutes and achieve the same results as if the meat had been marinating for hours or even overnight. Uncle Arnold said that any piece of meat less than 1 1/2" thick was just a piece of meat. When he cut us a box of fillets, they were all 2" thick. I usually go to the meat counters & ask the butcher what he'd take home tonight, and then to cut me however many steaks I need. But, I've found that you can't do that at the meat counters of the grocery stores because either the butchers have a lower standard of quality than I want, or they're picking whatever they want to get rid of - even on a good piece of meat, the ones in the refrigerated cases tend to look better & have less tough fat. I've found one good true meat market, and even their worst cut of meat is better than the best at the grocery store.
shmacky266 years ago
I'm going to try this on Filet Mignon that I have in my freezer. If this doesn't work and it ruins my steak, I'm going to declare Shananagins, and trust me....you don't want that.
erict6 years ago
Having lived in Brazil I have to say I've never seen a gaucho cook a piece of beef that small. The technique is right but with a bigger piece of meat they will often let it sit in the salt overnight.
Mmmmmm...that looks delicious. I'm going to have to try this myself next time we have steaks.
Ellinika6 years ago
I only eat mine Medium or Medium Well too. but I'm not losing my comment-virginity just to tell you that. another thing I've done in cooking steak is, instead of putting other spices on the steak to give it flavor, throw it into the fire(if you use a charcoal grill). it will give it a nice flavor throughout the whole steak.
MikeEC2166 years ago
The thing that gives the steak its best flavor are the juices. By searing the steak in a pan first you seal in the juices. As tradergordo said rubbing the salt draws the juices to the outside of the steak, if you want to get all scientific it's essentially osmosis, allowing for a better sear only on the grill. If you over cook your steak you steam out the juices. The sear can only do so much to hold in the juices in all that grill heat. For those of you afraid of bacteria, medium rare, when done correctly, is hot enough to kill harmful bacteria. I have to agree with tradergordo that medium rare is the way to cook a steak.
tradergordo6 years ago
I'm sort of a steak junkie myself although I don't eat it very often because of the cost, but preparing them yourself is a lot less expensive than getting one from a restaurant and you can do it right. I think you could have included a little more detail. For example, it all starts with selecting the best cut of meat - a few simple tips there alone can make all the difference in the world. Obviously you want fresh, you also want a nice marbled texture (visible fat spread evenly across the meat) - the pieces in your picture actually look great so see the pics for an example of what to look for at the grocery store. And then of course there is the choice of cut - in general I think ribeye is the most flavorful, and ironically, its often less expensive than other cuts. I go for the freshes, marbled ribeye every time. Regarding the science of what is going on with the salt (by the way you can use "Course Sea Salt" which might just be labeled as "sea salt" or "kosher salt" as well which is the same stuff shown in your pictures) ... I don't know if its true, but I have heard that what happens is the sale draws the juices of the steak to the surface, so that when you cook it you get a better sear - the sear locks the flavor (you can go ahead and call it blood when the wife and kids are not around) in. Medium rare is the only way to go in my opinion. For folks that like over-cooked - perhaps you have never had a properly prepared steak before. A master chef in a fine restaurant will often only guarantee your happiness if you order medium rare. You can also pan sear the steak - in fact I think there might be another instructible right here for pan cooking a steak. At any rate, just heat an iron skillet, I like to brush melted butter over the steak after the salting stage, and sear it in a hot pan - this gives you a nice flat surface more conducive than a grill to searing. The searing only takes a minute on each side, then you can go grill it. If you want to take it to the next level, you can also inject the steak with melted butter using a cooking syringe. After or during cooking I like to lightly sprinkle some Borsari (best seasoning I have ever found) over top, but no seasoning is really required when you have a good piece of meat.
i must try this, i will rate when i eat, thanks!
rerat6 years ago
you mean..medium RARE...right....RIGHT?! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.
Mr. Rig It6 years ago
I like garlic salt on mine, medium well please, Thank you. I will be waiting here until it's finished cooking. If the rock salt is not iodized it may still have all of the minerals in it, which may add some to your flavor.