The Perfect Steak: Rest Your Steak Before Serving

By on January 19, 2016

This post is part of our Fired Up Food series, Flame-Cooking The Perfect Steak, giving you a total guide to one of the best meals imaginable.

Brows the list below to skip to a specific step:

  1. Selecting a Steak
  2. Preparing Steak
  3. Seasoning
  4. Fire, Fuel and Cooking Surface
  5. Cooking Process
  6. Cooking to Temp
  7. Resting
  8. Cutting and Slicing
  9. Saucing and Sides
  10. Alternative Cooking Methods

Resting Your Steak

Critical Step

Never, never, never pull a steak off the fire, plop it on a plate, and immediately serve it. Doing so will waste your monetary and time investment in creating the perfect steak. If you do not rest your steak, it will invariably be tougher and dryer than the same steak given at least a few minutes to rest.

The-Perfect-Steak-rest your steak_why

#1 – Why Should You Rest Your Steak?

Cooking forces the juices in the steak to the center, cooler area of the piece of meat. Allowing the temperature of the surface and the center to equalize allows the juice to redistribute evenly through the cut. If you cut the steak when the juices are concentrated in the center, they “spill out” more readily. The research is kind of amazing. A steak that’s cut immediately after its removed from the heat can experience as much as a 25 percent weight loss from lost juices. A steak that’s rested 10 minutes before it’s cut may only experience half that weight loss or less.

Testing the Heat Retention of a Cooler (1) The-Perfect-Steak-rest your steak_Tent

#2 – To Tent or Not

Since part of the reason for resting is to allow for carryover, or the continued internal temperature rise, the theory is that loosely placing a tent of aluminum foil over the steak will reduce external heat loss. This may be true, however the tent also retains steam and causes condensation to fall back onto the meat. Particularly if you’ve worked hard to get a nice seared crust on the steak, with or without a rub, that reflected moisture will soften the crust and make it soggy. So, the choice to tent or not is based on your definition of “perfect.”

Time needed for winter grilling

#3 – How Long Should Your Steak Rest?

Typically a safe guideline to follow is to rest a steak for approximately as long as you cooked it. Another is to let it rest for at least five minutes for every inch of thickness. Basically, rest your steak for a minimum of five minutes and as long as 12 minutes before slicing it.

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