The Best Way to Prepare a Steak

Cooking the perfect steak involves more than just taking the meat out of your refrigerator and tossing it on the grill. It involves choosing the right cut of meat, properly preparing the meat and selecting the right cooking method. Here is the best way to prepare a steak to get the results you and your guests will love.

Start With the Right Cut of Meat

When it comes to cooking any good meal, the ingredients you start with are vital. You’ll want to find the highest-quality cut of meat, which means heading over to the butcher section of your favorite local grocer. Our meat department offers not only the best cuts of meat, but we also provide the best service of any meat counter in Southern Maryland. Our experienced butchers with work with you to make sure you go home with the right cut of meat for your meal.

You can choose from different cuts of beef for steak, depending on your preferences. A leaner cut will produce a blander, drier steak. At the same time, a cut with some extra marbling and fat will tend to taste a bit better. If you’re unsure where to start, you cannot go wrong with a ribeye as an easy-to-prepare steak.

Prepare and Season Your Steak

Sometimes, simple is better. You can create a light crust on your steak with a mixture of fresh pepper and sea salt. Use just a bit more than you think might be necessary. You can also coat your steak with olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and crushed garlic. Or, you can use our seasonings to bring out the flavor in your steak – Nick’s All Purpose Seasoning or Nick’s Blackened Seasoning.

To Marinade Your Steak or Not?

Marinading steak isn’t necessary to bring out the meat’s natural flavors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it and produce some delicious results. If you want to create a steak meal that is a bit different than your typical steak on the grill, you can opt for a marinade. Marinading steak is also an excellent way to tenderize the meat and ensure it remains juicy if you don’t plan to consume it all in one sitting.

You can marinate a steak anywhere from five minutes to 24 hours, but it’s not a good idea to go longer than 24 hours. Here are a few options:

  • Simple Ribeye Marinade – Mix olive oil, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Marinade your steak for up to eight hours.
  • Strip Steak Marinade– Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour over the strip steak on a pan and cover. Let sit for up to 30 minutes.

Cooking Your Steak to Perfection

Where and how you cook your steak is a matter of personal preference and the availability of different options. Most people choose the cook their steak on the grill, which tends to produce the best results.

It’s a common practice to brush some oil or butter onto steaks just before cooking them. Doing this prevents the meat from sticking to the grill and adds another layer of moisture to the meat.

No matter where you cook your steak, monitoring its internal temperature will ensure you get the perfect cut of meat that satisfies your tastes. It’s a good idea to pick up a digital meta thermometer so that you can get the job done right. Simply insert the thermometer into the edge of the steak to the center.

These are your target meat temperatures:

  • Rare125 °F
  • Medium rare130°F
  • Medium140°F
  • Medium well150°F
  • Well done165°F

Note: The internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise after you remove it from the cooking source. So, you should remove it from the grill or pan when it is about 5 °F below your target temperature.

Condiments and Sauces to Compliment Your Meal

If you marinaded your steak or seasoned it, you may not want anything additional when you serve it. But many of us love a decadent sauce with our cooked or grilled meat. And there are tons of options.

We provide two sauces for your steak: Nick’s Barbecue and Nick’s Steak Sauce. Of course, you can pick up the tried and true A1, Lea & Perrins Bold, or Heinz 57 steak sauce at the store. You can also create your own steak sauce at home. Some popular choices include Bearnaise, Garlic Herb Butter, Red Wine, and Blue Cheese sauce.

Get the Best Cuts of Meat at Nick’s of Clinton

No matter what type of steak you decide to cook or how you choose to prepare it, you’ll want to start with the right cut of meat. If you’d like help choosing the perfect cut, feel free to ask our butchers for assistance. We are always happy to help customers find the ideal choice for their next barbeque, family meal, or event. Visit our store today or call us at (301) 843-4825.

How to Pick the Right Cut of Meat

Whether you are shopping for the right cut of meat for a meal with family and friends, looking for the perfect centerpiece for a new recipe, or purchasing a cut of meat for a special meal that you are preparing for yourself, knowing what to look for in a cut of meat will have a big impact on the final product. At Nick’s of Clinton, our full-service meat counter offers the highest quality cuts of meat at affordable prices, and our butchers are available to help you select the perfect cut of meat for whatever dish you are planning. As you browse our meat counter, here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for the right cut of meat. If you have questions or need assistance, our butchers are happy to help!

Picking the Right Piece of Meat: What’s Your Objective?

The first thing to think about when choosing the perfect cut of meat is your end goal. For example, are you shopping for a meat that is being used to show off a marinade? Are you on a budget and searching for something that is delicious but won’t break the bank? Or, is flavor your number one priority, and is cost no object? Perhaps you are experimenting with a rub, or are looking for meat that you can feature as part of another dish–such as a salad or a pasta–rather than serve on its own.

You won’t be able to pick the best piece of meat for whatever it is you’re preparing until you have identified your objective. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Thin cuts of meat are great for rubs, so try a flank steak.
  • If you are looking for something that you can throw in the crockpot and not have to worry about all day, you’ll want a roast.
  • Pork and beef ribs (and other on-the-bone meats) are known for their ability to soak up flavor.
  • For cooking using a dry method, such as smoking, go for a larger cut of meat, like brisket or pork shoulder.
  • If you are on a budget but still want to find cuts that can hold flavor, try chicken wings.
  • If you are going for really flavorful, really juicy, and really tender, and if price isn’t an issue, then you may want to treat yourself to a porterhouse steak.

 Features to Notice When Selecting the Right Cut of Meat

Once you understand what type of meat you are looking for–i.e. steak or ribs or chicken, etc.–the next thing to focus on is the different features of different cuts of meat. While our butchers can certainly assist you, the three most important features of a cut of meat are marbling, grade, and color.

  • Marbling refers to the amount and pattern of fat in a cut of meat. In most cases, having fat on a cut of meat is a good thing, as it adds flavor and keeps the meat from drying out when cooking. If you are unsure about how much fat is ideal for the recipe you are preparing, just ask our butcher!
  • At Nick’s of Clinton, we always sell meat that is fresh and high-quality. Whether you are shopping at our store or somewhere else, though, it’s important to know what the color of a cut of meat says about its quality. Color is an indication of how long it has been since the meat was processed – in other words, how fresh it is. Beef should always be a deep red in color; browning indicates that it has been sitting on the shelf for one too many days. Poultry and pork should both be pink in color. Avoid poultry that’s turning white or brown and avoid pork that is turning brown.
  • The grade that a cut of meat receives is based on factors that impact the quality of the meat, such as the age of the carcass, texture, and amount of marbling. Grades are assigned during the butchering process. The highest grade is Prime, followed by Choice and Select. Poultry also is graded, but only A-grade poultry is sold in grocery stores. Pork is not graded. If you are looking for a tastier, more expensive, finer cut of beef, go for Prime or Choice.

Get Help from Our Butchers

If you have more questions about picking the right cut of meat, please feel free to ask our butchers directly. We are more than happy to assist you in selecting the perfect cut for whatever dish you are preparing. We look forward to chatting next time you are in our store! Visit us today or call us at (301) 843-4825.