Our executive chef Gavin Wright (from our sister venue C.Y. O’Connor Village Pub) on what makes a perfect steak, and why you’ll find it at Hybla Tavern!
The colour of the beef is one of the most important attributes when assessing a piece of beef. We are looking for bright red meat and fat with a creamy white appearance which is hopefully evenly distributed throughout the meat indicating a good quality of cut. Colour also can be a good indication of the age of the beef. Older bodies of beef tend to be darker in colour and can be an indicator of inferior quality beef.
Marbling is an important factor. In the culinary arts, the word marbling refers to white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of meat. Marbling is so named because the streaks of fat resemble a marble pattern. Also called intramuscular fat, marbling adds flavour and is one of the main criteria for judging the quality of cuts. To visually determine the marbling of a steak we take a good look at the texture of the meat. If the meat is free of all fat then the cut has little or no marbling it is an indication that the meat is leaner and will often be more tender but will not be as flavoursome. Small streaks of fat through the meat will produce a more tasty steak, generally the more marbling the less tender, but the more flavourful the steak will be.
Tasting is something we try to involve all the kitchen staff in when possible, especially the apprentices. Taste is very personal so it’s always good to get varied views before we pass judgement on any particular cut. The sample piece of beef is generally cooked in a hot pan to medium rare with neutral flavoured oil and without seasoning. We stay away from olive oil and clarified butter so as to get a “true” taste of the meat which we feel is really important when assessing taste. Once the steaks are portioned they are labelled according to their body identification number. This number is important and is particularly helpful for making additional notes on specific animals from customer feedback with regard to taste and tenderness.
Aging is the process during which microbes and enzymes act upon the meat to help break down the connective tissue, making the meat more tender. Whether it happens in a vacuum bag or out in the air as a swinging side of beef, the process is very similar.
Cooking the meat perfectly or as close to perfect as you can is a chef’s way of respecting the dead animal. It is important to not kill the animal twice! For optimum results:
Use the right equipment
For juicy cuts, we use a griddle or char grill. For our dryer steaks we use a flat pan or flat grill .If you place a juicy steak on a flat pan, the liquid will boil and ruin the taste and texture. If you put a dry steak on a griddle, you’ll make it even dryer.
Get your temperatures right: Our pans or grills need to be very hot. The steak itself should ideally be at room temperature. If it’s too chilled, the meat fibres will contract together and produce a massive release of juice, potentially drying out your steak.
Cooking: We lightly coat our steaks with oil before placing on the pan or griddle and allow the meat to cook until the desired amount of browning occurs. Two-and-a-half minutes each side for rare; 3-4 minutes each side for medium rare; 4 for medium; 5 for medium well; and 6 for well done. When using a chargrill we, rotate the steak 45 degrees while cooking for a criss-cross effect.
Finally, make a great sauce: We produce all our sauces from scratch. Classic sauces such as mushroom, pepper, Dianne and jus lie are all made from bones and rendered fat from our very own animals.
At Hybla Tavern we serve Melt Beef bred and raised on our own Melaleuka Farms. Learn more about Melt Beef.