Steaks and Chops
Usually cooked by frying or grilling. The methods of Frying and Grilling are really variants of the same cooking technique - which involves the rapid transfer of the heat to the meat. In both cases the heat is delivered to a flat surface - as opposed to the enveloping heat of the oven
This means meat that is fried or grilled is - by definition - cooked or seared one side at a time
Grilling can be from heat delivered from underneath - or from above - although traditionally grilling was always from underneath - and is making a comeback - as seen in the rising popularity of Chargrills
The very best way to cook Steaks is in a frying pan - says Delia Smith.
Season the Steaks on both sides with freshly milled Black Pepper but no Salt yet, as this encourages the juices to come out.
Use a thick, solid base pan to conduct the heat properly and heat to almost smoking hot. then add just the smallest amount of oil or fat - about 1 teaspoon. Let this become shimmering hot.
Hold the Steak in both hands and drop it directly down so that the whole of the surface hits the heat at the same moment. What this does is sear the meat, sealing the edges and encouraging the juices to stay inside.
Turn once or twice. Season and rest
What grilling should achieve is a lovely seared, faintly charred outside edge with the rest of the meat very tender and juicy within.
This is the closest thing to cooking on an open fire because, when the meat is placed on a rack, the air circulates and this gives the grilled meat its unique flavour.
If you're cutting down on fat, then grill without fat or oil. However, if that is not your priority, it is better to brush very lean meat, such as Pork Steaks, with a little melted Butter, and Fillet Steaks with a little oil before grilling.
The Choice between grilling and frying
Both are the most popular methods of cooking by far
Grilling is often seen as the healthier option - as it releases fat from the meat into the fire or grill tray.
Frying on the other hand seals in the juices and fats of the meat - which means more of the minerals and flavours are locked in
Frying usually utilizes fat or oil to rapidly transfer heat to food. Although oil and fat are liquid at frying temperatures, it is still considered a dry heat cooking method because it does not involve water.
Gorgeous “browning flavours”
Both frying and grilling are used to achieve the ever gorgeous “browning flavours” - and a crispy end product
Temperature and timing
However, temperature and timing are everything if you want to achieve that luscious, umami, brown crust - which opens into a tender, succulent and yielding interior
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his excellent book The River Cottage Meat Book - sets out three simple rules to always remember before committing the meat to the heat
1. Flat pieces of meat are easier to fry and grill than odd-shaped ones
2. Thin pieces of meat will cook through much quicker than thick ones
3. A high heat will sear the outside of the meat more quickly than a low heat
Make sure your meat is at the same room temperature throughout - otherwise you may get a nicely browned and crusty exterior - and an insufficiently cooked interior
Smoking Hot Frying
For smoking hot cooking, use fats and oils that do not burn or taint at high temperature - Groundnut Oil, rendered Lard or Beef Suet are best
Very rare Steaks should require no oil at all
Best for Fillet Steak, Sirloin Steak, Rump Steak, Calves and Lambs Liver, Venison Fillets or Medallions, Pigeon Breasts
Very Hot - but not Smoking Hot Frying
This has a thin film of oil heated to just below its smoking point
As per the Smoking Hot list - but now including Diced Beef, Lamb Chops, French trimmed Lamb Cutlets, Lamb Leg Steaks, Lamb Henrys, Bacon, Duck Breasts
Steaks for cooking rare to medium
Medium : Hear the pan sizzling to itself
This is where you can hear the pan is clearly sizzling to itself
Almost all Beef Steaks, Beef Burgers Medium and Well done, Lamb Chops, Lamb Steaks, Pork Chops, Diced Pork, Veal Chops, Veal Escalopes, Bacon. most portions of Boneless Chicken or Game, Kidneys - and thicker Liver
For Steaks Medium and beyond
Turn the heat up at the end for extra crispy caramelisation
Low : The muted sizzle
Best heat level for Bone-in Chicken Portions, Sausages, Pork Steaks, Gammon Steaks, Chicken Kievs - if you do not want to deep fry
The Sausages may take 20 minutes to cook - but the wait is worthwhile
Don’t overcrowd a pan - as that will make the temperature drop too much - and can result in uneven cooking
Although pan frying may come to mind first, sautéing, stir-frying, and deep pan frying are all alternative methods for frying food
Finally - Rest
Finally - as with roasts - always cover and rest on a warm plate after the cooking has finished - but only for around five minutes - the meat will be more yielding - and have a much better taste
The most popular Steaks and Chops
Below are listed the most popular Steaks and Chops - each complete with its own general How to Cook instructions - and then a selection of Related Recipes to set you thinking - with finally a Leftovers Tab - to stretch even more pleasure from your Premium Quality Meats at little or no cost