There is no one on earth who could formulate a universal rule for the length of time it takes to cook a steak because of the many variables involved. The principal factors to consider are the thickness of the steak, the temperature of the meat when it is ready to cook, how close the meat is to the source of heat, and how hot the source of heat is. If the steak is cooked out-of-doors over charcoal, there is also the breeze to consider.
It is preferable that the meat be at room temperature before cooking. Therefore, an average-sized steak should be removed from the refrigerator about 1 hour before it is to be cooked.
The following rules of thumb, therefore, are only an approximation, but they will act as a guide:
For a steak one inch thick, cook it for 3 to 4 minutes on each side if you want the steak rare. Cook it for 10 to 12 minutes to a side if you want it well done. The steak should be cooked four or five inches from the heat.
For a steak nearly three inches thick, cook it from 10 to 15 minutes on each side for rare steak; 20 to 25 minutes to a side for well done.
And Remember: nothing improves the flavor of steak like butter. After the steak is cooked, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put a generous amount of butter on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Other additions for flavor are freshly squeezed lemon juice, a touch of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. A combination of butter plus the other flavors is not amiss.
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