Cooking the perfect steak

Paul Tyas, head chef of St Kilda's Grosvenor Hotel, shares his advice for sizzling the perfect steak.

Paul Tyas is a man who knows about steak – at the popular Melbourne pub Grosvenor Hotel where he mans the kitchens as head chef, steaks are something of a signature.

The team work through 200kg of beef – around 100 steaks an hour – on Thursday steak nights, priding themselves with a high quality product served to perfection.

As the approaching summer heralds the return of barbecue season, Tyas has some advice for serving up the ideal steak this season.

Always start with a clean barbecue
“For me, there’s nothing worse than coming home after a few pints at Grosvenor Hotel, swinging past our Grocery and Bottle Shop to pick up some Gippsland grass-fed beef and Mountain Goat summer ales, only to have my buzz killed by a grubby barbecue.
You don’t want to start off your summer evening scraping off the remains of a fossilised Coles snag. While it can sometimes feel like the last thing you want to do after hosting a barbecue, my tip is grab your favourite novelty barbecue apron (mine’s got a six pack printed on the front), use a bit of elbow grease to create a clean surface and blast away the grime with a high pressure hose.

Buy from the right people
In my opinion, the best places to buy beef in Melbourne are those that sell meat produced by the Australian Meat Group: O’Connors Beef in Pakenham or Vic Meats in Laverton North. These leading quality meats have stores attached where you can purchase beef you’ll feel good about.

Choose the right cut
My favourite cut of beef is bavette. While it’s not the most tender cut, it is by far the most flavoursome. Bavette can need a bit more chewing, but I believe we are born with teeth to use them!

Cook just enough
It’s really important to ensure the barbecue has a decent amount of time to warm up; I like to crack a stubbie or open the ladies a bottle of rose in the meantime. My advice for cooking the perfect medium-rare steak is to buy a thermometer. People often ask me how long to cook the beef on each side, but really, how long is a piece of string? All cuts are different in thickness and length, so it’s best to cook your meat on the barbie to 36 degrees and then rest in a warm spot until it rises to 45 degrees.

Rest it up
It’s vital to always rest beef. Taking time to let meat rest after cooking ensures it is moist, tender and juicy. When I rest meat at home, I leave it in a warm place or under foil for 3-5 minutes before giving it a quick flash in a pan or oven so the exterior is still piping hot and ready to serve.

Supporting acts
I’m not a big fan of adding lots of flavour to my meat. I don’t like to marinate beef and think it should really speak for itself. Don’t judge, but I do love a side of barbecue sauce once the meat is cooked. Melbourne Hot Sauce make the most amazing one, which we sell at Grosvenor Grocery and Bottle Shop.
As far as sides go, all my barbecues are accompanied by Mama Tyas’ potato salad. Waxy potatoes are the best for any summer salads as they keep their shape and don’t turn to mush – pink eye or Kipfler spuds are ideal.