Cooking steaks..

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magus841
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Cooking steaks..

Postby magus841 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:53 am UTC

So I happen to live with 3 other gentlemen on a college campus. We have an apartment on campus with a full kitchen and one of my roommates thought that it would be a good idea to cook the two pieces of filet mignon that I had in the freezer in a vacuum sealed bag. I was quite unhappy as my girlfriend was visiting me this weekend and I wanted to save them and cook them to eat with her this weekend when she came to visit me.

My roommate didn't get very far with cooking them but he ended up defrosting them and slapping them on a frying pan for a few minutes. My question is what can I do to preserve flavor and all that kind of thing? I just put them back into a ziplock bag and into the freezer when I found my roommate had done this. Are my steaks ruined. They got slightly browned on one side. But nothing else, really as far as I could tell. They are currently sitting in my freezer.

Any help would be appreciated. I would like to have a good meal to cook for my girlfriend when she visits from her college.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Zohar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:02 am UTC

I'm vegetarian but to my knowledge, refreezing meat is a REALLY bad idea and you're better off throwing it away and getting some new ones. Or possibly make something cheaper - pasta with some sort of sauce with chicken in it or whatever (if you must have meat. ;))
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:05 am UTC

If they're just browned, you might get away with it...

Contrary to the above poster, refreezing substantially uncooked meat will not be an issue, especially if you defrost properly, cook it through*, and serve piping hot.

You could always have got the fellow to pay up for new steaks, might be too late for that now.


*I don't mean do the steaks well done and ruin the flavour, but the heat must penetrate all the way through.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Zohar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:10 am UTC

Yeah, I'd like to clarify that I'm not expert at all in this area (to say the least), so you're better off listening to other people...
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby magus841 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:14 am UTC

I'm generally of the opinion that you shouldn't refreeze meat as well... Not like the stuff grows on tress. Meh...

I'll ask him in the morning when he's less.. intoxicated... if he'll give me money for new steaks. <sigh>

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:16 am UTC

Zohar wrote:Yeah, I'd like to clarify that I'm not expert at all in this area (to say the least), so you're better off listening to other people...

You're kinda right though; Freezing (fully) cooked meat with no plans to re-cook it (ie heat to an internal temperature of minimum 60celcius for 5mins or 70celcius for ten seconds) would be a very poor plan.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Moo » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:35 am UTC

If they're only slightly browned on one side and otherwise fully uncooked otherwise, you might be able to get away with just cooking them dry (grilling/griddling/whatever they call it where you are/broiling) but maybe in terms of preserving the texture braising or stewing would be better? I know in South Africa we get meat tenderizer in the spices isle that contains an enzyme that makes poor cuts very tender, if you have something similar I'd use that, or make a tenderising marinade (something with acid in like lemon or lime juice or vinegar). I know you probably balk at the idea of a marinade with such a nice cut of meat but if you don't use something overly strongly flavoured I think it'd still be nice.

I don't think they'll be dangerous if you make sure you fully defrost them in the fridge and then cook them through (another reason why braising would be better, because if you grill them and prefer them anything less done than medium, I'd have safety concerns).
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby dubsola » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:12 pm UTC

magus841 wrote:one of my roommates thought that it would be a good idea to cook the two pieces of filet mignon that I had in the freezer in a vacuum sealed bag.

What the cocking christ? I say take a meat cleaver to him, and make some fillets out of his thieving buttocks. I don't care how drunk he was!

Moo wrote:In South Africa we get meat tenderizer from the spice isles

Nice, jerk steak ahoy!

I'd throw them out, but if you must cook them do what Moo says. The texture won't be great if you simply refry them. I'm sorry dude, I know the feeling of looking forward to cooking something. I guess you don't have a lot of money, but here's my 2p anyway: the best steaks are bought from a reliable butcher within a couple of days of your intended cooking, never frozen, and left to sit out for an hour or two before cooking (so they reach room temperature on the inside). Serve with potatoes and broccoli.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Telchar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:38 pm UTC

I generally wouldn't freeze a cut like filet mignon at all, but refreezing it seems bad. It definitely will affect the taste and texture.

One of the best ways to soften up tough cuts of food, as was previously mentioned, is an acidic marinade. Coke (or almost any soft drink) works really well, and can mix well with assorted ingredients (I used to do Coke, Onion Soup Mix, and A1 Steak Sauce on rump roasts in college). Slow cooking will probably also be better, as your roommate has already shocked the meat on both sides (I assume).
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:52 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Zohar wrote:Yeah, I'd like to clarify that I'm not expert at all in this area (to say the least), so you're better off listening to other people...

You're kinda right though; Freezing (fully) cooked meat with no plans to re-cook it (ie heat to an internal temperature of minimum 60celcius for 5mins or 70celcius for ten seconds) would be a very poor plan.

Actually, he's absolutely right, and you are mostly wrong. Refreezing the meat is a problem whether it's cooked or raw. The water in the meat expands when frozen, rupturing cells and changing the texture of the meat. The more the meat is repeatedly frozen and unfrozen, the fewer intact cells you have left. Plus, the material between the cells apparently freezes faster and then draws water out of the cells by osmosis, which also results in a change of texture. Finally, unless you have a very high-quality freezer and very meticulously packaged beef, OR the ability to flash-freeze your meat, it's going to suffer some freezer burn. The environment of the freezer is very dry, and it actually takes water right off the outside of the meat, leaving it drier and tougher. In really bad cases you actually get ice crystals forming on your meat.

It's a good rule of thumb to just never refreeze meat at all; and definitely never do it to an expensive cut like that. I'm with Telchar in that I probably wouldn't freeze filet to begin with; if I'm going to shell out the cash, I'm going to buy it on the same day that I cook it to make sure I have the best results. He's also right about the acidic marinade; you can also use pineapple or kiwi juice which have enzymes which tenderizes meat by partially digesting the proteins. Basically, you want to cook the meat in such a way that it will keep as much moisture as possible. That probably means you're no longer making steaks, but I'm sure filet still tastes good in a soup or casserole...
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby magus841 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:12 pm UTC

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I appreciate it.

I'm just going to give the steaks to my roommate since they're already refrozen and such and ask him for money for them.

dubsola wrote:I'd throw them out, but if you must cook them do what Moo says. The texture won't be great if you simply refry them. I'm sorry dude, I know the feeling of looking forward to cooking something. I guess you don't have a lot of money, but here's my 2p anyway: the best steaks are bought from a reliable butcher within a couple of days of your intended cooking, never frozen, and left to sit out for an hour or two before cooking (so they reach room temperature on the inside). Serve with potatoes and broccoli.


I think I will take your advice and buy new ones on the day I'm planning to cook them.
Does anyone know any good ways to season steaks? I'm planning to use my George Foreman grill.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Telchar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

Disturbing marinade thought: Using acidic marinades is really similar to "momma birding" food. Never really wanted to make that connection.

Doing filet on a GF will be tough. Filet doesn't need a whole lot though, in terms of seasoning. Y

our best option would probably something like sauteed mushrooms with garlic/shalots or maybe a balsamic sauce? Could sear it on each side and then cook it on the stove in red wine and balsamic vinegar for a few minutes on each side. Maybe just rub in olive oil and sprinkle onion powder? Most of these aren't going to be super on the GF.

My 2 cents.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

magus841 wrote:Does anyone know any good ways to season steaks? I'm planning to use my George Foreman grill.

When you're using such a high quality cut as filet mignon, the more subtle the seasoning the better. Salt and black pepper at the most; just a sprinkle. Once it's cooked, top it with a bit of butter; you can make it garlic butter, lemon butter, hot sauce butter, pretty much whatever you can whip/mix into the butter to flavor it would be okay. And if you can use a heavy-bottomed (or cast iron) skillet instead of your GFLMFRGM, you're likely to get better results. There are a few problems with the George, but mainly it doesn't get hot enough for a good sear.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby cypherspace » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:04 pm UTC

MOAR BUTTER

although admittedly you don't really need much with a good cut. If you're doing it with mushrooms though, I'm almost certain mushrooms taste infinitely better cooked in butter than oil. Spinach cooked in butter with a bit of seasoning can also be a fantastic accompaniment to steak.

I can't go much better than Bake's suggestion on the seasoning really. My favourite marinade is lemon, rosemary and garlic, but it's better used on weaker cuts of meat where the flavour isn't so much of an issue. With filet mignon you're paying a relatively high amount of money for the flavour and you don't want to mask it with too many other seasonings.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Moo » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:15 am UTC

In a strange turn of events I wholey agree with Bakemaster :)

When I make steaks I heat up my very heavy cast iron griddle pan (I have a George Foreman and believe me the difference between the two methods are the difference between a nice dinner and having wasted those steaks). I brush them with olive oil, season with ground seasalt and a healthy amount of ground black pepper. Then I open the windows and doors so the smoke alarm doesn't go off and sear the hell out of them for four minutes on each side (depending on the thickness and cut).

My uncle brushes them with dijon mustard and then salts them, which is nice too but I prefer just salt and pepper.
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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby dubsola » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:09 am UTC

I do hope you have a stove in your student accomodation, I'd feel bad about everyone telling you to use it instead of the GF grill, and that being your only option.

Good luck! Whatever you do, remember this *won't* be the last steak you ever cook, you've got the whole rest of your life to try out various combinations, so don't worry too much about it. Just enjoy it.

(and remember to leave the steaks out a while before you go to cook them)

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Azrael » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:29 pm UTC

I'm going to go in a slightly different direction: Re-think everything.

If you were going to put good meat in a George Foreman, you had no hope of getting a decent result out -- they aren't hot enough, they have direct heat ridges, but no indirect heat and they squeeze all the goodness out of everything (although you can leave the top open, you compound problems 1 & 2). If that's all you have, try chicken or burgers. That is, unless paninis are your idea of a romantic dinner.

If you have a cook top and a good pan (unlikely, given the college part -- whatever you do, don't try this with cheap aluminum pans) go buy unfrozen (yeah yeah, Omaha Steaks flash frozen aren't bad, but normal freezers will thaw them just enough to waste your money) fillet cut sirloins. Fillet cut sirloin is just about my favorite cut. You'd need a decent meat counter at the grocery store, although it gets easier if (since you're a college student) you can go when the butcher is actually in the building.

Don't waste your money on fillet minon, mostly because if you were thinking of using that GF, you aren't going to notice the difference anyhow. Then make steak au poivre (recommend Alton Brown's recipe, easily googleable). It's actually pretty easy and requires no fancy hardware besides something with a thick, quality bottom. If you're not of age, the congnac will be problematic -- and if you are of age, don't feel you need super fancy cognac either -- but the cream sauce isn't the key here anyhow.

The overall message is: Don't try to out fancy your facilities (or pans) or actual tastes (not idealized tastes) because a) it won't work and b) it wouldn't matter if you did.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Telchar » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:10 pm UTC

Although I generally cook by the rule of "Overseason/undercook" there are certain minimums in the "undercook" department that most people would want to adhere to. Although I did used to have a roomate that would cook his steak 30 seconds on either side. It was still cold in the center, and he had to eat it in his room. No one else could even watch him eat it.
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Azrael » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:31 am UTC

... you haven't read anything but the title, have you? I wonder if you'll read this?

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby voidPtr » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:49 am UTC

Azrael wrote:... you haven't read anything but the title, have you? I wonder if you'll read this?


I read it, and I don't know what to say really...it's not too helpful to suggest the filet mignons *might* be ok -- if he braises them in a crockpot for several hours and serves them in a stew or as sandwich meat. :(

Moo wrote:
When I make steaks I heat up my very heavy cast iron griddle pan (I have a George Foreman and believe me the difference between the two methods are the difference between a nice dinner and having wasted those steaks). I brush them with olive oil, season with ground seasalt and a healthy amount of ground black pepper. Then I open the windows and doors so the smoke alarm doesn't go off and sear the hell out of them for four minutes on each side (depending on the thickness and cut).


Yep..rare to medium-rare. I don't know why people order nice steaks anything beyond medium. To me, if you eat you steak well-done, you may as well save your money on that t-bone or prime rib and buy the cheapest offcuts available. And let's presume you go to a nice restaurant and order an expensive steak medium rare. Meanwhile your buddy orders their steak well-done. Guess who's getting the frostbitten steak that' got lost at the back of the freezer, or who's steak is getting thrown in the microwave to speed it up a little?
Last edited by voidPtr on Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:00 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby Telchar » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:57 am UTC

....didn't realize i offended you that hard Az....
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: Cooking steaks..

Postby dubsola » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:03 am UTC

voidPtr wrote:I read it, and I don't know what to say really...it's not too helpful to suggest the filet mignons *might* be ok -- if he braises them in a crockpot for several hours and serves them in a stew or as sandwich meat. :(

It is what it is. He's come in here for advice, and gotten it from a few people. And pretty good advice, I think. Even if it's hard.

Azrael wrote:The overall message is: Don't try to out fancy your facilities (or pans) or actual tastes (not idealized tastes) because a) it won't work and b) it wouldn't matter if you did.


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