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Chef Samuel Burke’s top tips for cooking the perfect steak

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Corporate Executive Chef, Samuel Burke, recently led a masterclass with commercial cookery students and local chefs at TAFE Queensland Toowoomba’s commercial kitchen, as part of its training restaurant, Futures.

With a high percentage of Australia’s top grain-fed beef hailing from the Darling Downs, Chef Burke was in town for the 2022 Darling Downs Beef Battle, and shared his insights to ensure local chefs get perfect results time and time again when cooking the prized product.

Taking his pupils on an educational journey, Chef Burke provided inspiration for getting the best out of the local produce on offer, with the ultimate goal: cooking an irresistibly tender and juicy steak.

“We want to make sure that chefs in the local area are at the top of their game when they’re preparing red meat in food service,” said Chef Burke.

He shared his simple tips for cooking steak, the first of which was ensuring the product was at room temperature.

“First, take the meat out of the cool room and let it come to room temperature,” he advised.

“Oil the meat not the pan, because if you oil the pan you get flare ups. When you’re oiling your steak, we like to use canola oil. Because we’re using wonderful Queensland beef, why would you mask it with a heavy oil, like an olive oil?”

“Season with salt prior to cooking, and then pepper at the end.”

“Cook with a high heat to start with and then reduce to medium. When you see those little puddles of juice forming it’s a tell-tale sign to flip the piece of meat.”

“Invest in a meat thermometer. You can get one from your local retailer for about $20. Stick it in the piece of meat, and take it up to about 58 degrees Celsius, and when the meat is resting it comes up to 62 to 65 degrees Celsius and that is the ideal temperature for a medium-rare steak.”

Chef Burke’s final piece of advice to budding master chefs was to use pepper to season at the end.

"If you season with pepper prior to cooking, it actually burns and gives an acidic, burnt taste.”

TAFE Queensland Leading Vocational Teacher, Chef Neville Siebenhausen, also attended the masterclass with his Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816) students, which not only focused on preparing red meat, but serving balanced meals featuring fresh, live ingredients.

“It was a great opportunity to gather with local chefs and witness a renowned Australian chef in action.”

“We're already implementing some of his tips for achieving delicious, sustainable and healthy meals featuring the best of Australian produce in our kitchen.”

Held annually, the stakes are high in the popular Darling Downs Beef Battle, with local producers competing to claim the title as the ultimate beef brand. Steaks are rated by consumers and an expert judging panel on flavour, tenderness, juiciness, and overall enjoyment.

This year eight beef companies battled it out to be the best, with Stanbroke Pastoral Company winning with its Diamantina Wagyu steak for the third year in a row.