In My Kitchen: Chef Allen Routt kicks off the holiday season with the perfect steak

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(KPTV) - If anyone knows how to celebrate a special occasion, it’s The Painted Lady’s Chef-Owner Allen Routt. After all, every evening in his Newberg restaurant is considered a special occasion. The James Beard-recognized chef is in Molly Riehl’s kitchen, showing us how to cook the perfect steak.

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Chef Allen Routt’s Tips for Cooking Steak:

-First, there’s no real substitute for quality. The best possible product you can find will always give you the best chance at great results. Things to look for are the kind of steak, the thickness (I look for an inch or an inch and a half thick when possible), the color, and the marbling (or the amount of white streaks running through the cross section surface of the steak). A filet mignon will always have less marbling, a rib eye will have good to moderate, typically with an eye of fat near the center, and a New York Strip should have pronounced marbling. A T-bone is a New York strip attached to a filet, bone in. 

-Seasoning is probably the second most important factor. I usually prefer kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, applied liberally, but there are many packaged products you may prefer. 

-Give yourself thirty minutes to an hour to have your steak at room temperature before cooking, so that the center isn’t cold when you begin cooking. 

-High heat on a grill is my favorite way to cook a steak. Generally about three minutes once it’s on the grill, then a half turn (without flipping to make the cross hatch mark) for another three minutes, then flip and repeat for a total of about twelve minutes, depending on thickness. Many people like to push and prod the steak to determine doneness, which I’m fine with, it’ll give you a good idea. But, 125 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer will give you a consistent very nicely cooked steak. 

-Alternatively, on the heat a nice heavy pan on the stove with a little oil, add the steak once hot, and cook in a similar fashion, without concerning about the marks. About 5-6 minutes on each side. Just after starting the steaks, I add a couple tablespoons of butter and some fresh thyme and baste rapidly while cooking. This enhances the crust, and helps with even cooking, though not necessary and takes some practice. Most importantly, don’t move the steaks around too much in the pan. 

-Steaks, and really any protein, should rest about half of the cooking time. 

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