The science of steak

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is my go to guy for food stuff on the internet. He’s amazing. He likes busting food myths with the power of science for the betterment of us all.

Last week he turned his powers to a subject dear to my heart.

Steak.

Delicious steak.

Busting seven myths including the “you should only turn a steak once” myth…

The reality is that multiple flipping will not only get your steak to cook faster—up to 30% faster!—but will actually cause it to cookmore evenly, as well. This is because—as food scientist and writer Harold McGee has explained—by flipping frequently, the meat on any given side will neither heat up nor cool down significantly with each turn. If you imagine that you can flip your steak infinitely fast, then you can see that what ends up happening is that you approximate cooking the steak simultaneously from both sides, but at a gentler pace. Gentler cooking = more even cooking.

While it’s true that it takes a bit longer over the hot side of the grill to build up the same level of crust in a multi-flipper steak, the fact that it cooks more evenly means that you can cook over the hot side a bit longer, without the risk of burning the outside before the center cooks. You can also avoid creating a harsh temperature gradient inside the meat, as you would if you were to cook it entirely over the hot side without flipping.

How to eat cheap steak, cheap skate.

If you’re not already familiar with this secret it’ll blow your mind/tastebuds.

I think I learned it from a segment on the today show – but this cooking site has diagrams so it’s much more scientific and believable. The key to making an expensive steak taste good is salt. The other secret is to buy the fattest cheap steak you can find.

Steak Recipe: Massively salt your steaks 15 min – 1 hour before grilling.

Notice that I didn’t say, “sprinkle liberally” or even “season generously.” I’m talking about literally coating your meat until you can’t see red. It should resemble a salt lick.

Let that meat be totally overwhelmed with the salt for 1 hour or less. Rinse, pat dry dry dry and then you’re ready to grill.

All of you who season JUST before grilling – this is what you are really doing to the meat. Did you know that? All the water comes to the surface and if you don’t pat super-dry, you’re basically STEAMING the meat. Plus, your salt just sits on the surface of the steak, leaving the interior tasteless.

You can thank me – and the orignal writer – later when you taste just how good salty steak can be. Salt really is the world’s most magical substance.