How to cook red meat properly

How to cook red meat properly
Cooking red meat well is not as simple as it might seem. Even if you start with high quality meat, with poor cooking it can become dry and tough. Here's a way that will guarantee you a perfect result.
389,9853.0/5 for 153 ratings
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Last modified on: October 13th 2010

For 4 people, you will need:

Change to the quantities for: 2 people 4 people 8 people 12 people

How long does it take?

Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingCookingStart to finish
3 min.1 hour 5 min.16 min.1 hour 24 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 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!

Stage 2 - 1 hour
How 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.

Stage 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.

Stage 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.

Stage 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.

Stage 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"

Stage 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.

Stage 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.

Nutritional information

Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
1,758 Kcal or 7,360 Kj102 gr0 gr150 gr
88 %39 %0 %23 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
279 Kcal or 1,168 Kj16 gr0 gr24 gr
14 %6 %0 %4 %
Per person
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
440 Kcal or 1,842 Kj26 gr0 gr38 gr
22 %10 %0 %6 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).

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Home made.

More recipes?

This recipe uses (among others)
Beef Beef : You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Roast beef "like they do it in Santa Fe", Fillet of beef in a rosemary crust, Melt-in-the mouth meat and vegetables in a sealed casserole, Taos hotpot, How to slow cook meat, ... All
OilOil: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Winegrowers' sausage casserole, Roast beef "like they do it in Santa Fe", Julia salad, Two-stage beef chuck , Taos hotpot, ... All
SaltSalt: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Fish terrine with spinach and tomatoes, Dipping bread with cheese, Tahitian style fish, Pesto, Cornmeal baps for Anne, ... All
PepperPepper: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Parcels of fish fillet in spinach, Sarladaise potatoes, Breton galettes (pancakes), Salmon rillettes, Beans with tomatoes, ... All

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