FROM THE ARCHIVES | RICHARD TURNER’S PERFECT STEAK

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The Meatopian, Meatopia’s on-site newsletter available exclusively on-site during the festival each year, is packed with delicious content from the years gone by. In this series, we’re diving into our digital time-machine to serve up some of the best reads from the Meatopian archives.

In 2015, one of the festival’s founders, Richard Turner, dished up the details on his perfect steak. A subject he should know a thing or two about, being that he owns one of London’s favourite butcheries, Turner & George, and is also the brain and brawn behind Hawksmoor, the country’s most famous steak restaurant.
Richard’s piece reads less like a recipe or method and more like an ode to steak… specifically, a medium-rare rib eye, cooked over (no surprises) charcoal. “Only a fool eats steak blue”, he tells us… read on to find out why.

My Perfect Steak, by Richard Turner

From The Meatopian, 2015

The Meatopia London founder attempts the impossible: to describe the perfect steak.

There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect steak; nature doesn’t work that way — steak flavour is subjective. 

My own perfect steak comes from 18-month-old native breeds, mostly grass fed – as nature intended – free to range, hormone and growth-promoter free and, above all, HAPPY. Happy animals taste better and a short journey to slaughter and a humane death are very important for minimising stress. 

My perfect steak has a sweet meaty smell and taste and a long flavour that is moreish and beeft. It has been hung for around five weeks (excessively hung meat carries an unpleasant sour smell and an overly sweet flavour that often hides inferior meat). My perfect steak is neither wet nor sticky and neither soft nor mushy. It is a brighter red colour than the well-marbled, extensively grain-fed steak of the US, where steak is graded by the amount of white and creamy marbling. The marbling in my perfect steak, however, is a barely-visible, pale yellow intramuscular fat. Fat that’s been laid down slowly. 

My perfect steak is, of course, a rib eye. It is seasoned simply with Maldon sea salt and cooked at a medium-high heat over smouldering charcoal. It is placed on a clean grill and turned every couple of minutes until some enticing Maillard caramelisation is achieved. It is given plenty of space on the grill and not cooked too fast, keeping it over medium-hot charcoal. 

My perfect steak is taken from the grill when cooked rare and allowed to rest for 20 minutes at around 60C, when it reaches an internal temperature of 57C: medium rare, my preferred temperature for rib eye. 

Leaner cuts show better as rare and only a fool eats steak blue, depriving themselves of one of the oldest and greatest eating experiences known to man: a well-cooked steak.