Tip one: BUY GOOD STEAK. If you want a good end product, you have to start with good quality ingredients. Ok, this is a pic of Wagu steak, and not everybody can afford that, but go and talk to your Butcher. Develop a relationship with him/her. You can't buy 2.99kg oyster blade and expect to come out with a good end product.
My fave steak is a T-Bone. They've got a good ratio of fat to meat, the bone makes for a nice handle and I am just partial to them as they were a huge feature of the BBQ's of my childhood. The Pier Street butchers in Dromana has locally fed , raised and slaughtered meat and smells like a Butcher should. In town, we use Kerrie Road Butchers and the boys down there are always happy to help with advice and cooking time and special cuts.
As you can see from the pic, a good steak has a good ratio of fat marbling, and I must confess that I do like the nice crust of fat, seared to perfection that you get with a T-bone.
Now... the first trick is to let the steak come to room temp. If we're having a grilled steak, I like to buy it from the Butchers that day... defrosting steak, IMHO changes the structure of the muscle.
So get your steak and allow it to come to room temp. Do not rush it, just leave it on a plate, on the bench. Cooking a steak at room temp minimizes shrinkage, so you won't end up with a dry, tough tiny bit of leather. If you've paid good money for your meat, you want to do the best by it.
Marinade it, by all means, a bit of garlic and red wine, a splash of Worcestershire sauce.. whatever you like, but personally... for a good quality steak, I am all for letting the meat speak for itself. The key here is, even if you marinate it, let it come to room temp first.
Wipe the steak dry if you've marinated it before cooking.
Now.. if you're cooking inside, be prepared to have someone on hand with a long handled wooden spoon to turn off the smoke alarms. It's going to get smoky.
The option is, of course, cooking outside. It's pretty much up to you.
I use a cast iron skillet that is about 20 years old and very well seasoned. The key is to getting the pan SMOKING hot. I really mean it.
I don't usually add any oil or butter because my pan is so well seasoned, but you might like to give it a light wipe with olive oil.
Heat the skillet over the gas ring until it's smoking. Add the meat, one piece at a time and stand back.
Do not overcrowd the pan by trying to add more than one piece, especially if you're using a larger cut like a T-bone.
Now, if you're anything like Furry here's the important part....
RESIST THE IMPULSE TO POKE THE STEAK!!!
Seriously.. just leave the damn thing alone.! At about a minute into the cooking, grab your mitt and give the pan a shake to loosen it from the skillet..and then leave the bugger be!!
I am a bit of a purist when it comes to steaks, and I like mine blue. That means nice and caramelized on the outside and bloody (but warmed thru) in the middle. (actually, I like it still moo-ing, but that's me)
Furry and I have negotiated and he no longer asks for his steak well done, and I don't threaten to put a pillow over his head while he's asleep. He does like it done a little more than mine.. probably med rare. So his steak gets 6 mins a side and mine gets 3.
The key to this is the heat.. I can't stress it enough. What you are after is a Maillard reaction which is a fancy name for the caramelization of the starches in the meat, which gives it that lovely brown caramelized crust. The same chemical reaction is what turns ordinary onions into sweet, delectable caramelized morsels of heavenly splendor.
So back to the meat.
AS I have said, 3 mins for blue, 6 for med rare... turn the steak and give the pan a wiggle to stop it sticking. At this point, I like to position the fatty edge of the steak against the side of the skillet, with the skillet itself off centre over the gas ring. This ensures that the lovely fatty edges comes in contact with a point of high heat and gets a heft dose of the ol' Maillard reaction. Apart from that, BACK AWAY FROM THE PAN. Do not go poking it.... ignore everything you've seen you hubbie/boyfriend/father do at a BBQ, poking every bloody bit of dead animal with his tongs.... just leave it alone for the required time.
Once it has cooked to your liking, remove the steak from the pan and here's the next important bit.
Let the meat rest. Use this time to top up your cab sav, whack a few salad greens on a plate, dollop some spuds with sour creme and chives... whatever, but leave the bloody steaks alone for at least 10 minutes. This allows the muscle to relax and to re-absorb any juices that may have leaked out.
I am not a huge one for sauces, like a marinade, I believe a good, well cooked piece of meat can stand up on it's own (that's figuratively, guys.. not literally).
Serve with mashed spuds, or boiled new potatoes with butter and parsley, a bit of salad greens and any pan juices poured back over the steak.