Every two weeks or so I get a craving for red meat. Usually it’s steak. I love the taste of beef and the sweetness of the seared fat. I also really enjoy wiping the grease off my mouth with the back of my hand. There’s something primal about it – like you’ve eaten a great satisfying meal – and there’s nothing anyone else can do about it except envy you.
Hence the search for the perfect piece of steak…Seared/ torched/charred to carmelised perfection on the outside, tender and pink on the inside, with just enough fat to flavour every mouthful.
One day, after reading about Jeffrey Steingarten’s amazing steak experience at Devon Steak in Osaka, Japan, I became completely hung up about having really good beef Japanese style. The closest thing I could think of was tepanyaki.
Dragging a friend to Keyaki at The Pan Pacific, we had some US ribeye from the teppan (Wagyu at $60 for 100g seemed to rich for my blood)
The comparison: his meal atover $200 USD sounded a lot better than mine at $60 SGD. BIG difference in price, BIG difference in quality (but I strongly believe it was mainly in part how the tepan was prepared – by a souless, unsmiling man). Needless to say I was not very satisfied with lunch that day.
On a separate occasion, I had a meal of beef medallion at Table 66. It may not have been the most flavourful, but the chef there knows how to treat a piece of meat.
After spending freely on a few restaurant steak meals and reading Heston Blumenthal’s search-for-perfection-in-a-steak recipe, I thought maybe way to eat some good wagyu while keeping my wallet intact was to make it myself.
So we got some Wagyu from a wholesale meat supplier and fried up some steaks. To make things more interesting, we tested the grade 9 against a grade 3 Wagyu and here were the general results from the table:
The meat was good but attaining the perfect home-cooked steak isn’t easy – as witnessed in Blumenthal’s five page, twenty-two hour preparation method.
Everything plays a part, the thickness of the cut, cooking method, heat source and temperature amongst other things, to ensure a well-seared, crispy exterior but a moist, slightly under-cooked interior. Given my amateur kitchen skills how many cows would have to be sacrificed to reach steak nirvana?
So the search continues…
In the meantime, I’m off to dinner a friend’s place. She does the best barbequed steaks out of anyone I know…