How to cook red meat properly

Step by step recipe:

  1. How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #1
    Above all, you need a good quality red meat.

    Trust your butcher and ask him if possible for thick pieces (about 2 cm or 1" is fine) cut small, rather than thin wide pieces.

    It's better to eat meat less often and spend more when you do.

    Trust in your butcher is important; just remember the old French saying: for a woman to be completely happy she should have a good butcher and a good lover!
  2. 1 hourHow to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #2
    Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).

    Take the meat out of the fridge at least one hour before using.

    Dry the pieces of meat on a cloth or absorbant paper, then season both sides with salt and pepper.

    Choose a pan that can go both on the hob and in the oven, and put 2 tablespoons oil on high heat. When really hot, add the meat.
  3. 2 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #3
    This usually sizzles and spits quite a lot, so partially cover with a piece of aluminium foil to protect your cooker, but not completely otherwise the meat will not brown because of the steam trapped in the pan.
  4. 3 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #4
    Leave the meat to cook like this for 1 or 2 minutes until nicely coloured. This is not to cook it, just to give it a crisp brown exterior.

    Then turn it, preferably using tongs, or other utensil of your choice, but do not pierce the meat with a fork, as this will allow precious cooking juices to escape and your meat will dry out.
  5. 3 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #5
    Leave the meat 1 or 2 minutes on the other side.

    Transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking the meat gently.

    This two-stage method (frying-roasting) is a key point for successful cooking.
  6. 10 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #6
    How well cooked the meat is will depend now on how long you leave it in the oven (and on the characteristics of your oven). Broadly speaking 10 minutes is enough for "rare", 15 minutes for "medium" and 18 minutes or more for "well done". These times are very approximate and you can adapt them to your taste.

    If you'd like something more precise and sure, stick an electronic thermometer into the middle of the meat. When the temperature reaches:
    • 65°C (149°F) : your meat will be "rare"
    • 70°C (158°F) : your meat will be "medium"
    • 75°C (167°F) : you meat will be "well done"
  7. 1 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #7
    To finish, remove the pan from the oven and put the meat onto a hot plate. Cover with aluminium foil and keep hot like this for 5 minutes.

    This waiting time is very important to keep the meat tender, as during cooking the juices tend to flow from the centre towards the outside. By allowing the meat to rest, the juices flow back inwards, ensuring that the meat stays moist and tender.
  8. 5 min.How to cook red meat properly : Photo of step #8
    Serve with your chosen accompaniment, for example potato gratin or Sarladaise potatoes.


Contrary to an idea put about by unscrupulous restauranteurs, the tenderness of meat has nothing to do with how cooked it is. So if you enjoy well-cooked meat (like me), you can still have something on your plate that is both well done and tender.
In other words, if meat needs to be nearly raw to be tender, it's quite simply not very good meat.

You will see that once the meat has been removed from the pan, the remaining juices can quickly be transformed into an excellent sauce. I'll be coming back to that in a future recipe.

And to drink?

A good red wine from Gascony like "Java" (Merlot + Cabernet Sauvignon), as produced by the Fezas family at Larroque-sur-l'Osse.


Home made.

Grade this recipe

Grade this recipe

More recipes?

This recipe use (among others)