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Chances are you’ve been braaiing a lot lately, often wondering if you’re doing that lovely steak justice. Enter The Hussar Grill, a grill room that knows its sirloins from its rib eyes and how to cook them well.
But, first things first. When it comes to choosing your meat, try to purchase the best quality available. The Hussar Grill wet ages its meat whole for a minimum of 28 days – to ensure superbly matured, tender and flavourful steaks – before portioning it for grilling. Ageing the meat improves its flavour and tenderises it.
If you’ve bought steak that’s fresh, not aged, but it’s vacuum sealed, rest assured that you can still wet age it at home by keeping it sealed and leaving it in your refrigerator. Don’t be alarmed if the meat matures in colour from the bright reddish pink blush of fresh meat, to a deeper tone – this is a good sign.
To the grill
When you’re ready to start cooking, use a griddle pan for a beautiful char-grilled mark effect and tongs to turn your steak, making sure that you do not press down on the meat. Preheat the pan before cooking.
“Don’t cook your steak directly from the fridge. Let it sit outside on the counter for at least 30 minutes to get it to room temperature if you want your steak to cook evenly from edge to centre,” says Jason Allen, owner of The Hussar Grill in Steenberg, Cape Town.
The only thing you should do before grilling your steak, is to lightly brush it with olive oil and a basting sauce if you are using one.
To cook the perfect medium-rare steak, grill it for one minute per one centimetre of thickness on each side. Adjust this time slightly if you want a rare or well-done steak. And if your cut has fat or a bone, cook it on that side first.
The softest, most delicate cut of meat is fillet as it comes from a part of the cow where muscles are hardly used. Fillet is best served rare or medium rare as it’s lean and will dry out if cooked too long. Rump steak is from the hind quarters, where the muscles are not too developed and can be served medium rare.
Sirloin is a fattier cut that should be cooked to the medium stage. Rib eye, which is marbled with fat, needs to be cooked to medium or longer, to help break down the fat content and caramelise it into flavour.
Once the steak is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes to allow all its tasty juices time to redistribute and reabsorb, boosting flavour and tenderness.
There… now you know.