Cloudland Garden Restaurant Fortitude Valley Brisbane

A Cut Above: Let’s Talk Steak

It’s fair to say steak has been popular for decades across many cultures and countries, and while trends come and go, like the beloved family restaurants of yesteryear, steak remains the stalwart of good menu. Maybe it’s because steak is the one thing you can rely on for a tasty, satisfying feed. But a trip to your local butcher can be a little overwhelming these days, with grass fed versus grain fed, marble scores and leaflets on display about its welfare and origin.

Where your steak comes from — What information is available about the supplier? Andrew researches and builds a relationship, looking for consistency, how the supplier operates, their background and what processes they’re involved in. How much do they do for themselves? Are they a family business? Do they set limits on the number of animals farmed? Our premium ribeye is by S.Kidman Beef, who are local to QLD and have been around since 1899. The two pillars of their business are: animal happiness and ecology and their mantra is: “Happy, healthy cattle, are the best cattle.” S.Kidman are also trialling red seaweed in their intensive feeding rations and converting remote homestead stations to hybrid systems with solar panels.

What to look for — opt for a beef cut that’s bright, pinkish-red in colour with good marbling. Trust your senses — avoid beef that’s dull, discoloured etc.

Cloudland Garden Restaurant Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Cuts to consider — People tend to opt for Rib Eye, but Andrew loves the flavour and fattiness from a quality Rump Cap. “It’s harder to cook as the shape is inconsistent, but you can’t beat the flavour.”

Grain fed versus grass fed — According to Andrew, grain fed is best “It’s more consistent in flavour and fattiness. There’s definitely room for grass fed beef on a menu, but it will generally be leaner. The issue with grass fed beef is inconsistency with marbling, and therefore, flavour.”

Preparing your steak — The first tip is a no brainer. “You need to let the steak come to room temperature first, so it cooks evenly. Time varies, depending on how hot your cooking environment is. Near the chargrill it only takes 5-10 minutes. If you leave it for too long, you won’t get the right caramelisation and cooking time”, says Andrew.

Trim off excess sinew, then season well just before you cook. Salt flakes are good, as they give a good coverage without being overpowering. If you’re chargrilling, a spray bottle filled with oil is great for imparting charcoal flavours from the grill to the steak. Andrew and Alec both enjoy the mental image of flames “kissing the steak” as it sizzles.

Cloudland Garden Restaurant Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Add a bit of oil to your cooking surface and to the steak. Just not olive oil. Alec says the optimum temperature for cooking steak is 340-380 degrees, using his past experience with a Josper charcoal oven for reference. Your steak shouldn’t stick to the grill if it’s hot enough. It’s worth noting that a pan won’t ever reach this temperature, so it’s definitely better to chargrill over a flame. Use a thermometer to determine doneness, it’s much easier and more reliable than touching the steak.

Any tips for seasoning or marinating? Andrew says: “Try not to overcomplicate it. When you’ve got a quality piece of meat, you shouldn’t need to. Season with salt flakes just before cooking. Rosemary is too hard with beef and takes on a lot of fragrance, but a simple bit of butter and thyme works well. Alec adds “Butter is love. It’s the best thing. Secondary cuts are also great for marinating, but from a pure grill point, your steak shouldn’t need much.”

And finally, both chefs agree you should click your tongs twice for good luck before grilling, although after reading their sage advice, you shouldn’t need it!