Steak is an American favorite, and for good reason. Steak is hearty and flavorful, and it goes well with a number of different side dishes. A steak dinner is the ultimate treat, and with a little know-how and proper preparation, your steak dinner can turn out just as well as you'd hoped.
There are a number of different types of steaks, and they range widely in tenderness and flavor. The most tender varieties of well-known steaks include the filet, the flat iron steak and the ribeye. The toughest varieties include flank steak, London broil and top sirloin. Because fat dictates flavor, the leanest steaks, such as the filet, have the least flavor, and those with the most fat, such as top sirloin, have the most flavor. In fact, the affordability and flavor of top sirloin make it one of the most popular steaks. Because it's moderately tender and has decent fat content, the New York strip arguably strikes the best balance between flavor and tenderness. Protect your family from foodborne illness by following the guidelines set out by the USDA. Cook your steaks to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F to kill any harmful bacteria.
Grilled or Broiled Steak
Grilling and broiling are very similar processes. Grilling provides direct high heat from underneath a steak, while broiling provides it from above. Unlike grilling, broiling can be done in any season. Before grilling or broiling, marinate your steak for at least 20 minutes. For thick steaks, coat the steak with a seasoning rub in lieu of a marinade. For best flavor, use salt and a small amount of sugar in your rub, wrap the steaks in plastic and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before cooking. For a kid-pleasing steak, rub the steak with some ranch-flavored seasoning mix. These rubs tenderize and flavor the meat and form a nice crust during the cooking process. Serve grilled or broiled steak with a hearty salad topped with a creamy peppercorn dressing; barbecue favorites, such as corn on the cob and potato salad; or grilled or broiled seasoned vegetables. Make these veggies more pleasing to your kids by drizzling creamy salad dressing over them.
Keep pan-seared steaks simple, and season them with coarse salt and pepper. Cook a 1/2-inch steak in a hot pan for 7 to 8 minutes on each side for a medium steak and 8 to 10 minutes on each side for well-done. Sear thicker steaks on the stove and finish them off in the oven. To make pan gravy, add a pat of butter and some flour to the pan while it's still hot, then stir in water, beef stock or wine. Top pan-seared steaks with sauteed onions and mushrooms, and serve them with baked or roasted potatoes and a classic veggie side, such as broccoli, asparagus, glazed carrots or a mixed green salad with creamy blue cheese or onion dressing.
Cubed Steak with Gravy
Cubed steak is an economical cut of meat that has been tenderized using an electrical machine. Dredge cubed steak in seasoned flour and pan fry it in in a healthy amount of hot oil. Cook it just enough to form a crispy crust on the outside, then set it aside. Use the oil in the pan, butter, salt, pepper, flour and milk or cream to make a "white" pan gravy. Once the gravy is finished, set the steaks in it and simmer them until they have cooked through. Serve cubed steak with mashed potatoes and corn, peas or tossed salad with ranch dressing.
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