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5 Questions With Eric Tulay On Searing A Perfect Steak

So much is at stake when you sear a piece of meat in the frying pan. Get some pro tips to create a winning dinner for your loved ones.
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Steak often makes the home cooks’ menu when they prepare a dinner to impress the guests. It looks simple enough on the outset, but with a quick-fire dish like this, any tiny mistake will be amplified. Enter Eric Tulay, executive chef of Hong Kong's Feather & Bone. Working at the gourmet grocery shop-cum-restaurant famous for a rich selection of meat products, homemade sausage and dry-aged beef, he offers chunks of wisdom to all carnivores. 

RELATED: Technique Thursdays: Why Dry-Aged Beef Always Tastes Better

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1. How do you choose a steak of outstanding quality?

Freshness is paramount. In my opinion, grain-fed beef tastes better. If you’re choosing a rib eye, go for a piece with a little fat attached to it, so the fat would release a strong aroma to elevate the rich meat flavour.

As you touch the meat with your finger, it should feel smooth and bouncy. Sirloin is leaner in comparison, and there are other underrated cuts of beef worth steak lovers giving them a try.
2. What’s the secret to searing steak?

The most important factor is the resting time, which should equal the duration of cooking. If you spend five minutes frying the steak, you should spend another five minutes resting it before serving. With a premium piece of meat, not much seasoning than salt and pepper is needed. Make a sauce with the meat juice released from cooking. My favourite sides to go with a good steak are mashed potato, French fries, asparagus and baked potato.

RECOMMENDED READING: Ask the Experts: The best off-cuts for steak

3. How can you tell a steak is cooked properly?

The golden standard for a well-cooked steak is a beautifully charred surface and tender interior. You need to attend to the conditions of meat all the time while it’s cooking. For those who don’t have a large grill at home, a grill pan with a ribbed bottom would suffice to create a satisfactory result. It’s not necessary to brush the pan with butter before cooking. Rather, adding a bit of butter on the steak right before you finish cooking would help it caramelise, yielding a golden crust and deep fragrance.
Tulay believes grain-fed beef has more flavour than its grass-fed counterpart.
Tulay believes grain-fed beef has more flavour than its grass-fed counterpart.
4. Could you tell us the right cooking process?

1) Take the steak out from the fridge and let it warm up in room temperature for a while.
2) Rub salt and pepper on the steak to season.
3) Decide the cooking time based on the steak’s thickness and your preferred doneness.
4) If you are using a pan with a ribbed bottom, turn the steak 90 degrees to create the latticed pattern.
5) Flip the steak and repeat steps 3 and 4.
6) Put the steak on a plate and let it rest for however long it is cooked.
7) Add a little salt and pepper, as well as the meat jus to finish.
Gourmet grocery shop Feather & Bone provides a large variety of meat products for choosing. It also helps customers dry-age the beef they purchase.
Gourmet grocery shop Feather & Bone provides a large variety of meat products for choosing. It also helps customers dry-age the beef they purchase.

5. Cooking steak with stone and salt blocks has become a popular trend. What’s the reason behind?

It comes down to how heat is distributed. I’m more used to using traditional equipment. There are many variables behind new cooking methods like stone block, salt block and sous vide. Cooking has a lot to do with respect: respecting the diner, respecting the ingredient. If you treat the steak like your girlfriend, it would naturally come out delicious.

RECOMMENDED READING: Recipe: Beef Butter From London Hawksmoor's Richard Turner

This article was written by Clarence Chan and translated by Vincent Leung. Click here to read the original version of this story.

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