Best Thickness for Steak: The Ultimate Guide 

Making food at home is both a time and a money saver – all you have to do is find the correct steak for your recipe and cook it! Many online sites provide recipes for those new to cooking steak and other more complicated ones for experienced home cooks.

A steak’s thickness can affect both how fast it cooks and its taste. Everyone has a preference of how cooked their steak should be, and its thickness is what largely contributes towards getting the perfect steak. Other factors include a steak’s marbling levels, grading, and best coloring.

What is the best thickness for steak? Read on to find out!

How Thick Should Steak Be?

There are several types of steaks. Aside from thin ones, such as skirt and flank, which should be at least an inch thick, prime cuts, such as ribeye, top sirloin, tenderloin, and t-bone should ideally be about 1.5 inches thick. 

Good butchers even make these cuts 1.75 inches thick for good measure. The best way to get a good-sized steak is to go to a trustworthy butcher since most stores tend to reduce steak sizes to maximize profit.

Why 1.5 Inch Thick Steaks?

This is the optimum size for steaks because too thin a steak will cook too fast, and it can be hard to get a rare or medium-rare thin steak. When a steak cooks, it first sears, and then the heat travels from the edges towards its center. 

A thicker steak will take longer for the heat to reach the middle. Hence, you can control how cooked you want it to be. You can’t cook a thin steak for long or else you’ll be left with a hard, chewy mess.

Steak Cooking Tips

Even though 1.5 inch steaks are the optimum size for a good steak, you can still work best with what you have at hand.

How to Cook Thin Steak

The best way to cook a lean steak is to put it through a blast of heat for a short time. Extreme heat will sear the steak, so taking it out of the pan or grill fast will ensure that it only heats the surface. A quick sear also keeps thin steak cuts from becoming too chewy.

If your steak is less than an inch thick, heat the grill until it’s hot. Quickly sear each side for a minute. Remove the steak from the heat and allow it to rest.

How to Cook Thick Steak

Some butchers cut 2.5 to 3 inch steaks, and while it’s better to have a thick steak than a thin one, thick cut steaks do require a particular expertise to cook. 

A thicker-cut steak can be harder to cook on a pan or grill because it might be seared on the outside, but not fully cooked on the inside. The best way to cook a thick steak is to cook it using two heat temperatures, and the reverse sear and sous vide methods are perfect for these!

Reverse Sear Method

Using thereverse sear technique ensures that heat will reach the inside of a thick steak and achieve the perfect sear despite its size.

The cooking process using this technique includes placing the steak on a grill in low heat and letting it slow-cook to your desired level of doneness. This may take a while, and you’ll need to monitor the cooking progress frequently.

You’ll need a meat thermometer to measure the inside temperature. Ideally, a well-cooked steak should have an internal temperature of around 130°F (54°C).

Once the steak is almost cooked to perfection, crank up the heat for a quick sear. People tend to prefer a sear on their steak as it adds a certain smokiness to it while sealing in the juices elevating its flavor and juiciness. Lastly, make sure to let the meat rest before serving.

Sous Vide Method

If you can wait a few hours for your thick cut of steak to be ready, then sous vide is the perfect cooking mechanism for you. Sous vide uses temperature control to heat food in a water bath. 

This method isn’t similar to boiling or poaching because you first immerse your meat in a vacuum bag before the immersion. Asous vide machine controls the heat by continuously heating the water in the container at a set temperature and then releasing it to heat the meat.

Using a sous vide machine requires patience since it’s more of a slow-cooking method. Place your marinated, thick piece of steak into a vacuum bag and ensure it’s sealed.

Next, place water in a large plastic container and connect the container to your sous vide machine and set the temperature. Let the water reach the set temperature, and then place the vacuum bag inside it. Ensure that there’s no part of the vacuum bag left out of the water container.

The good thing about this method is that you don’t need to keep monitoring it. All you have to do is simply set the right temperature and time and thengo about your business.

Sous vide doesn’t put a sear on the outer layer of your meat, so you’ll have to choose whether to sear your meat before or after it’s cooked through. The internal temperature of your sous vide steak should range between120°F (49°C) and 156°F (63°C) depending on your preferred level of doneness.

Final Thoughts

Steak is a classic dish to have at home, whether you’re alone or with your family. It’s also an easy protein to pair with and it’s quite filling. Knowing the best thickness for steak is beneficial, especially if you’re looking to make healthier meals at home.

Most new home cooks focus only on the cut of meat and forget about the thickness, which plays a big part in getting a flavorful, juicy steak. Knowing how to cook a steak will prevent overcooking and oversearing. So, what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a 1.5 inch steak and get cooking!

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