Otherwise known as the cockney critic or Mr Happy Days, Jerry Mullan’s culinary journey has been as diverse as the countries he’s lived and cooked in, whether it was running Charity events at St Paul’s Cathedral or Hog roasts at Hampton Court, he’s always smiling. Currently, Head Chef of an award-winning West London gastropub, his influences and passion are irresistible whether on a plate or being read.
This is a tradition of traditions and yet everyone has their own way of doing it. It can get more complicated than ironing a shirt, or choosing which softener to use, bottled or tapped. Sleeves or collar first is the one that gets me. Same with a steak, do we like it in a marinade or salt and pepper, bloody or not bloody (although a steak should never be bloody), sous vide or grilled, medium rare or well done, garlic butter or not, there are always so many different ways of having this amazing delicacy. None of them are wrong, unless you’re boiling your steak, then I would stick to chicken if I was you.
Today we’re going to go through some of the amazing different cuts, a few sauces that you can whip up in no time, and a few different techniques on how to cook the perfect steak.
The main steaks you will see in most restaurants are;
ONGLET/FLAT IRON – This is usually used as a sandwich steak, the reason being it is the cheapest cut, and has very little fat on it. This steak is very nice but can toughen up exceptionally quickly. As there’s less fat on it, it takes slightly longer to cook through, and I’m my experience, I would never serve it more than medium-rare, and you must let it rest for a good 6-8 minutes before cutting, otherwise, it will be too tough and not a great steak at all.
RUMP – this is the one everyone has heard of, coming from the ass-end of the cow, it’s got the higher end of fat content which gives it its amazing flavour, and usually the cheaper steak on the menu. This is sometimes a hit or miss in restaurants as if you don’t let it rest it can go tough. Personally, I have mine medium-rare but each to their own.
I serve rump steak at my restaurant, but I sous vide it at 42 degrees for 9 hours before searing it on the grill, but with hair like mine what would you expect.
I would always cook the steak on a hot plate or a pan, with plenty of seasoning and a little oil, and after so many years you can feel when the steaks cooked to the right temperature. But to show you that in an article, has still got me slightly baffled. So the easier way I get the old girl to do, is get a hot pan with some oil, add salt and pepper to the pan, and sear the steak on all sides, holding down about 30 seconds each side or until you have some colour, and whack it into a hot oven gas mark 6 and choose your preference.
Rare (but not walking) – 6 minutes
Medium rare – 8 minutes
Medium – 9 minutes
Medium Well – 10 minutes
Well Done / Cremated – 12 minutes
When you take it out of the oven, remove it from the tray and put it onto a grill if you have one or a warm plate. As it will carry on cooking on the hot tray, but you don’t want it to go cold too quick either. Let it have a little chill-out time for five minutes, we call that resting in the kitchen. I know, they were very creative with terminologies back in the day.
But this is super important people, it will stop it from bleeding for a start, and it will allow it to finish cooking and keep that beautiful tenderness. Cut it before and you’re eating overcooked squid, and to be honest, steaks aren’t even that cheap these days.
For the same price for two rumps, I can pay for amazon prime for a whole month, and still have change for 11 bags of space raiders (don’t judge me it’s been a tough few months for everyone), so cook it with a bit of love, and it will return the love in flavour and texture.
Sirloin steak – This is the most popular seller in my restaurant. Slightly more expensive than the rump and usually comes in the shape of a footprint with a larger rind of fat on the side. This beautiful steak comes from between the fillet and rib section of the cow. This steak is worth the extra few pennies. Sirloin has slightly less fat, which gives it a much meatier taste, but less flavour than the rump. So if you’re cooking in a pan, I would always cook the rind first, for a good minute and a half, to release some of that beautiful flavour into the pan, then sear the steak in the oil. Always remember most flavour is in the meat we eat, it’s about releasing them and utilising them when you can. Because it is usually thicker than then rump and has less fat I would use the same rules for cooking a rump, but add a minute extra on the times, and of course, ALLOW TO REST.
Ribeye – Now this is the best of both worlds. It has a large bit of fat right in the middle of this beautifully marbled steak. It has a meatier taste like the Sirloin and the flavour of the Rump. Cooks very nicely, and same times and temp as the rump, apart from rare. I would always do a minute longer, as you want the fat to melt down properly. A top tip is always to be careful when taking these absolute gems from outside the pack, as they will come apart into two pieces if you’re not careful.
These are what I would call home steaks, as in the sense, what you would pay for a takeaway, is the same if not more than you would by treating yourself to one of these beauties. You can then upgrade and go with some personal favourites of mine.
Porterhouse – Comes from the back end of the short loin, behind the ribs, very tender and much denser, but super tender version of the Ribeye. You also get the T-bone steak from this section, which is an amazing steak, but be careful as you pay for the bone as well on weight and isn’t cheap.
If you really wanted to go for it, my old man’s favourite is a Cote de Boeuf. Don’t ask me why, it’s French, as I said we were amazingly original on terminologies and names back in the day. But this beautiful steak is the fore rib of beef and deboned. This has such a marble effect it could be a hammers fireplace. Bursting with flavour and super succulent. I serve this by the kilo and serves four, and yes you knew it was coming, this would set you back a sky bill at mine, but well worth it, and is a beautiful treat to yourself, and a must-try if you’ve never had one before, and if you’re going to have it well done, just lie to me, please. This beautiful representation of the amazing British farmer should be done medium well or medium tops.
You may be like my dad and prefer a steak to be left alone, but in this day and age, I like something a little more exciting going on, and if you do too, then try these super easy but super nice steak sauces.
Garlic butter – Put two tablespoons of butter in a cup, add 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules, and 1 tsp. of parsley, put in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and then another 15 seconds. Allow to cool and put in the fridge to re-solidify.
Cherry Tomato – Place 8 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion slices, 3 spring onions chopped, and 1 bulb of garlic onto an oven tray. Drizzle a little oil and season well, roast for 8 minutes on gas mark 7. Put it in good old magic bullet once cooled a little and blitz.
Paprika Cream Cheese – Place 2 tbsp. of cream cheese in a cup, and add 1/2 tsp. of paprika, garlic, parsley, oregano, 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard and a squeeze of 1/2 a lemon. Whisk together and leave in a fridge for a few hours to harden.
And if you really wanted some super flavours going on then try some of these marinades.
Oil-based or dry rubs are usually the two for a steak, as buttermilk or anything like that isn’t going to absorb into the meat, it just sounds fancy.
If you are going to use a marinade, always remember that dry rub will burn quickly in a pan and if you’re using oil-based on top of a grill, it will ignite flames, and again will burn quickly, and even give a slight sooty taste to it. So top tip, oil marinade is better cooking in a pan, and the dry rub on a grill.
Salsa Verde – all you need is a magic bullet for this one. Put 4 tbsp. of oil, 1/2 tsp. Sherry Vinegar, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tsp. mint sauce, 1 tsp. basil, and of course the magic ingredient capers, to give it a nice salty taste and bring those flavours together.
Coca Cola – That’s right, it’s sweet and goes well with English mustard, fennel seeds, black peppercorn, white wine vinegar, honey, paprika and parsley.
A lot of people ask me, which butchers I use, so I thought as I’m going to write about steaks then happy days, it’s the perfect time to introduce them.
I use Hawkins Butchers in Rush Green and whenever I’m back at my mums or passing the area I will always stop off and say bonjourno to these guys.
Paul, the head butcher and legend of a gentleman, has it all going on, from their own dry-aged meat, which is just exceptional, homemade burgers, ready for the BBQ, and my personal favourite, his different flavoured sausages. The last ones I had, had chilli and honey running through them, which were exceptional. I had it Spanish style, with a tomato and chickpea sauce on top of spaghetti. I could have even taken the meat out and turned them into meatballs. Just absolutely out of this world!
His steaks are just as amazing. I’ve used then several times for events at St Paul’s cathedral. So if it’s good enough for them, then happy days for me.