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How to cook the perfect steak

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

How to cook the perfect steak

TAFE NSW commercial cookery apprentice Jacob Daenell, Sara Morley and ABC Riverina presenter Simon Wallace

November 7, 2019

Homer Simpson said it best: “If God didn’t want us to eat cows, why are they made out of steak?”

That deep, caramelised crust. That tender centre. That smooth, buttery finish. Mmmm (insert Homer drool sound here).

And you probably think you can cook the perfect steak?

Time to think again.

In this week’s TAFE Buds segment on ABC Riverina, presenter Simon Wallace came into the TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga commercial kitchens and was given some searing advice by our very own culinary virtuoso Sara Morley.

With talented apprentice chef and TAFE NSW student Jacob Daenell acting as sous chef, Sara offered some succulent tips on turning your steak from mediocre to mouthwatering.

If you'd like to take your cooking game to the next level, TAFE NSW offers a range of courses – visit or call 131 601.

Cooking the perfect steak, with Sara Morley

Before you start:

Choose a prime cut of meat with even thickness. E.g. Sirloin, Fillet, T-bone, Rib eye. Don’t use cuts of meat used for slow cooking.

The thicker the steak, the easier it will be to cook the way you want it.

Remove steak from the fridge approximately an hour before cooking so that it is at room temperature. If it’s cold it won’t cook evenly to the centre. Season the steak well as soon as you remove it from the fridge so the salt is absorbed into the meat.

Ensure the pan, BBQ or grill is very hot before you begin – this will help the maillard reaction ( If cooking in a frypan – the heavier the base the better.

Pat the steak till tis very dry with paper towel, then rub the steak all over with good quality olive oil. (Oil the steak, not the pan)


Steak is best cooked medium rare – however people generally have their own tastes and preferences. If it’s cooked more than medium rare it will start to toughen and loose moisture. To test for doneness press the steak a little to feel resistance or test the internal temperature (see below guide).

Add the steak to a hot pan, then cook for approximately 4 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on the other. It will depend on how thick the steak is.

Different cuts will take different times to cook. Don’t overcrowd the cooking surface.

Only turn the meat once. Don’t touch it too often. Don’t prod, push, or weigh it down.  

For extra flavour as the steak is cooking rub a garlic clove over the steak.

After cooking:

Always leave the steak to rest well in a warm place, for at least 2 minutes. Place it on a wire grill over a tray and loosely cover with foil.

Carve with a sharp carving knife, then serve with the resting juices.

Drizzle with olive oil or spread with a flavoured butter to serve.

Steak doneness guide

  • Blue: 54C. Should be a dark colour, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance.
  • Rare: 57C. Dark red in colour with red juices. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance.
  • Medium-rare: 63C. Pink in colour with some juice. It will be a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy.
  • Medium: 71C. Pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice. It will feel firm and springy.
  • Well-done: 75C. No pink. It will feel quite firm.