Full of protein and vital nutrients such as B vitamins and iron, steak no longer carries the stigma of being an unhealthy entree. Cooked in a healthy way and served with a plate full of vegetables, lean steaks provide a flavorful protein source. Focus on cooking methods that highlight the natural beefy flavor of the steak and don't add too much extra fat or too many extra calories for the most healthful steak entrees.
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Broiling cooks steaks quickly without added fat. Because it's done in the oven, broiling can happen when the weather won't allow grilling. Bring the steaks to room temperature for up to 30 minutes before cooking and season them with salt and pepper. Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Broil for 5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 145 F. For easier cleanup, line the broiling pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Gas grilling remains a healthy way to cook steak despite health concerns from charcoal grilling. Cancer-causing materials in the smoke from burning charcoal may become part of the steak, so using a gas grill helps alleviate these concerns. Preheat the grill before placing the steaks down. Lean cuts like sirloin might stick to the grill, so brush them lightly with olive oil before grilling. Cook for 5 minutes per side, turning once, as in broiling.
Like broiling and grilling, pan-searing cooks steak over high heat with minimal added fat. Adding just a drizzle of healthy extra-virgin olive oil helps keep the steak from sticking to the pan and aids the caramelization and crusting of the surface and edges. For extra flavor after cooking the steaks in the pan, deglaze the pan with beef broth and Worcestershire sauce or red wine. Boil the mixture until reduced and serve it drizzled over the cooked steaks.
Some steaks contain such little fat that they turn out tough when cooked quickly over high heat. Steak cuts such as flank steak or top sirloin steak benefit from a slower process. Cover the steak in liquid and heat in a slow cooker, in the oven or on the stove top at low to medium heat for 30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature registers 145 F for medium-rare. Slice the steak against the grain once it's cooked and serve with the braising liquid.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook; Jack Bishop
- Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publications: Tips for Safer and Healthier Grilling, From the Harvard Health Letter
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Food Safety Information: Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
- BBC Food: Braising Steak Recipes
- University of Illinois Extension: Meat Safety for the Consumer
- The Splendid Table: Grilled Delmonico Steak Adobo