How Long To Let Steak Rest ~ The Science of Juiciness!
INTRO TO RESTING STEAK
By far, the three most common questions we receive on letting steak rest are:
- Why let steak rest?
- How long to rest steak?
- Is it important to let steak rest before you cook it or rest after you cook?
You cooked up your favorite steak just how you like it, you're starving, you take your nice Picanha or Ribeye Steak straight from the skillet to your plate and cut in for that first mouthful.
Do you notice the small lake of reddish liquid getting bigger by the second on your plate?
If your answer is yes, you now know just how important it is to rest meat as that flavorsome juice lost to the plate can be easily preserved inside the steak with a little resting.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO LET STEAK REST
Irrespective of wether you fried your steak, used the reverese sear method, sous vide or just reheating steak, resting steak / resting meat is extremely important and highly underestimated.
In our experience, the secret to a juicy steak is letting it rest and not over cooking and we all agree the perfect steak is a juicy steak.
Letting your meat rest is one of the biggest and most important steps to success that is sadly overlooked by most but can reap great rewards.
With just a few minutes of patience before and after cooking, you can achieve consistent juicy results with a cheap or expensive cut such as Ribeye or Tenderloin.
When you see the price of Filet Mignon these days as an example, it is more important than ever not to waste your steak and your money by skipping the essential step of resting steak.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T REST STEAK AFTER COOKING?
When you cook steak to a perfect internal temperature on the cast iron skillet and even used your digital thermometer, the cells in the meat muscle fibers are going to heat up and contract which forces a lot of moisture which is a mix of water, fats and proteins called myoglobin to the center of the steak where it is cooler.
If you then cut into this steak right after cooking, a lot of this precious moisture will pour out and be lost from your steak onto the cutting board or plate.
With just a few minutes of letting steak rest, time will allow the cells to cool and reabsorb the fatty, protein infused moist juices back in like a sponge, capturing the moisture where you want it most, right in your steak.
RESTING STEAK JUICY FACTS:
Beef is made up of approximately 70% water. In the cooking process, you want to preserve as much of this moisture as possible. Overcooking meat creates dry chewy meat. Why? The moisture has been lost.
Resting meat will reabsorb this. This rule never changes be it a large New York Strip or Sirloin 6oz baseball cut steak - maintining moisture is vital!
Grass-Fed steak is naturally leaner and therefore cooks/loses mositure 30% quicker than conventional grocery store steak therefore it is extremely important to learn how to cook grass-fed steak the right way to preserve that moisture.
HOW DO I REST STEAK?
It comes in two easy steps:
- Resting Meat Before Cooking
- Resting Meat After Cooking
Resting steak before and after cooking are both super important. This two-step method is used by top steakhouses and top-class chefs across the globe for a reason ~ Resting Steak before and after cooking works!
RESTING STEAK BEFORE YOU COOK IT
We do not recommend taking a steak or any raw meat from the refrigerator and cooking directly.
Allow your steak to come to room temperature on a covered cutting board or plate first. Letting your meat sit out on the countertop will also allow the steak temperature surface and internal temperature to even out.
This ensures when cooking, that the surface and internal temp will be even also. This is especially important for cuts with an inch of thickness of more like Ribeye, T-Bone and Porterhouse or a bigger Rib Roast.
How long can I keep a fresh steak on the countertop before cooking? As a rule of thumb, we recommend you let your meat sit out for 60 minutes before cooking. Once the resting steak is safely covered, all is good.
This room temperature resting is also the perfect opportunity to season the steak , pat the surface dry with a paper towel and season your steak with Kosher Salt.
How long can I let steak rest after seasoning and before cooking... it totally depends on your taste for seasoning. We like to let the Kosher Salt infiltrate and brine the meat which takes at least another 30 minutes, but you can go straight to the skillet.
RESTING STEAK JUICY FACT:
A great time saving trick used in professional kitchens is to let raw steak rest on top of an aluminum skillet or pot. Aluminum is highly conductive and will transfer the room temp to your steak in less than half the time.
RESTING STEAK AFTER COOKING, EXACTLY HOW LONG?
Using a digital thermometer, (a valuable tool and great buy), you have hit the target internal temperature, we aim for 129 °F / 53.5 °C. Gently place your cooked steak on a cutting board without pushing or prodding.
Take some aluminum foil, cover, and tent the meat loosely with the foil. Give some space on all sides of the steak to allow the warm air, moist steam, and aromas to move freely between the steak cut and aluminum foil. Don’t cover tightly as this will lead to over cooking and dryness.
The TruBeef Rule of Thumb for resting cooked steak is 8 minutes per pound (lb.) / .45kg under a foil tent so our 10 oz. Ribeye for example will get 5 to 5 minutes tops.
Let larger cuts like Brisket, Rib Roast / Prime Rib, and Tri Tip also rest for 8 minutes per pound. When you are hungry, 8 minutes per pound sounds like a long time to wait to dive into a steak so we always use this time to whip up a sauce, blanch veggies, or chop up some salad.
IF YOU REST STEAK FOR TOO LONG?
If you rest steak after cooking for too long under an aluminum foil tent you will get two bad outcomes:
1. Carryover Cooking: where the steak will continue to cook well past medium and into well done territory or worse.
2. An over dry and chewy steak eating experience which won’t do your hard-earned money or your steak justice at all.
RESTING STEAK JUICY FACT:
The red "blood" you see on a plate from steak... It’s not actually blood at all. Steak is nothing more than lean muscle fibers without any blood vessels. The red colored liquid is a red watery substance called myoglobin.
HESTON BLUMENTHAL’S EXPERIMENTS ON RESTING STEAK
The respected and acclaimed British Michelin Star chef Heston Blumenthal did a great job demonstrating just how important it is to let steak rest to retain moisture.
He cooked two same sized steaks, immediately placed one on a plate, covered it with Plexiglas, and had his side kick Otto stand on the Plexiglas.
He poured the liquid off the plate into a glass. He got about two tablespoons. The second steak was rested for 5 minutes and then gave it the Otto to stand on and go juice hunting. Only a few drops emerged. Resting steak does work!
There is a minority school of thought who argue that letting steak rest before cooking or resting after cooking and the entire process of resting is just a nonsense urban myth that serves no benefit or has no effect of moisture retention or flavor.
We politely disagree and side with the experts that cook (rested) steak for a living. Based on our years cooking (rested) steak, there is no other way to prep for the very best juicy steak results.
RESTING STEAK JUICY FACT:
Pushing, squeezing, and prodding a steak with a kitchen utensil while its cooking on the skillet… celebrity TV chefs seem to do this all the time. Our advice is to avoid at all costs as you are effectively squeezing out the beefy juicy moisture within the meat. Remember, a “Perfect Steak is a juicy Steak”.
We love the advice from the late great Anthony Bourdain on what to do with a steak after you cooked it 😊
Resting Other Meats
Other meats than need to be rested before and after cooking include all the main Lamb cuts, Pork and Bison.
Making air fryer lamb chops for example, we will cook for 5 to 7 minutes then let the lamb rest for at least 5 minutes so almost as long resting as cooking!
RESTING STEAK SUMMARY
- Resting steak (raw meat) before cooking will ensure an even cooking throughout the meat.
- Resting steak after cooking will keep moisture, fats, and proteins inside the steak.
- Resting is an important part of steak cooking. Do not let it get overlooked.
- Ideal steak rest time is 8 minutes per pound (per .425kg) under aluminum foil.