Here we will discuss why your steak is always dry after you cook it, and what you can do to fix the problem. There are a few solutions available that you may be willing to try, and there is also some that will require changing the way you like your steak when it is finished cooking.
Ultimately, the problem with why your steak always turns out dry after cooking it, usually comes down to the cooking methods being used. However, some steaks, depending on what it is, will have a tendency to dry out easier than other types of steaks.
For instance, one of the main reasons why certain types of steaks may always dry out when they are cooked, is because they are lean pieces of meat. This means that they don’t have enough fat or marbling (intramuscular fat) to keep the steak from drying out whenever it is cooked certain ways.
Lean steaks can be complicated sometimes, especially if the individual cooking them hates to have their steaks served undercooked (less than medium). However, some steaks like this just don’t do so well whenever they are cooked at the safe temperatures that they need to be to be considered the most risk free and safe to eat. This is one of the reasons why people eat certain steaks medium-rare, rare, or even blue (raw).
Some individuals would call certain steaks that have to be cooked like this fully cooked. But, the fact is, that they are undercooked (below 145 degrees internally) according to certain regulations for safe consumption.
Don’t worry. We aren’t going to tell that the only solution is to cook what ever type of steak you are having trouble with raw or rare. The problem may not require the steak to be undercooked to prevent it from drying out. You may just need to make sure that when the steak is finished cooking, that it is immediately taken off of the heat. This is done by using a food thermometer to ensure that the steak is only cooked long enough to the point that it is fully cooked to prevent it from drying out from overcooking.
Overcooking the steak is one of the main reasons why steaks of any type end up drying out.
The steak is too thin.
We would love to tell you that the general reason why steaks dry out is because they are too thin, but this isn’t true for every type of steak. The marbling of the steak and overcooking the steak are usually the general reasons why any steak drys out. Some individuals say that a steak being too thin (less than an inch and a half in thickness) is the reason why they dry out. However, many restaurants cut their steaks at a thickness of a little more than 1 inch.
Also, some steaks just have to be thin in order for them to be classified as the type of steak it is, and because the steak is naturally tougher than other types of steaks. A thicker steak can make a more juicy steak, but this also depends on if the steak is lean or not. Thicker steaks that have good marbling, like the ribeye steaks, can possibly perform better and prevent drying out when cooking, if they are made thicker.
Thin steaks can dry out more, especially if the steak is cooked at higher temperatures than necessary for too long. The thinner the steak, the less the cooking time should beand possibly a lower temperature should be used.
Some parts of the steak might also dry out during the cooking process while other portions remain juicy, because they are thinner than the rest of the steak.
Braising or marinating.
Braising the steak or marinating it might be necessary in order to keep the steak from drying out. Depending on the type of steak that you are cooking, one of these options may be better than just straight grilling it or pan frying it.
Braising the steak will keep it moisturized and possibly make the steak more tender. Braising is done by slow cooking the steak in a small amount of liquids while it is covered, to prevent the liquids from evaporating. This is idea for tough steaks that just have to be braised to make them tender. Marinating a steak before grilling it can also help to keep a steak from drying out too much during the cooking process. Marinating is usually done for a few hours to a day.
However, if a steak is being cooked in liquids and it still ends up drying out, then the problem is overcooking. It is the fats that maintain the steak and keep it from drying out, not just what ever liquid the steak is placed in while it is cooking. It is possible to cook a steak in liquids and still have it dry out. All of the things in the steak that make keep it juicy can get cooked out of it and into the liquids, causing it to “dry out”.
This is why certain leaner parts of a steak might dry out while other posts of the steak are still juicy.
Sous vide is the process of taking a steak in a vacuum seal bag and placing it in a sous vide machine to cook it in water. This will maintain the steak’s moisture while it is cooking. Afterwards, the steak can be seared for a short period of time to finish it off before serving it.
This is an easy solution to preventing a steak from drying out while it is cooking. None of the moisture can evaporate out of the steak and into the atmosphere, because the steak is cooking in a vacuum sealed bag. When the steak is taken out of the bag and seared, it isn’t cooked long enough for the steak to lose a significant amount of moisture.
A steak can also be dry due to undercooking the steak. This is true for steaks that aren’t being cooked at high enough temperatures, or long enough that the collagens break down in the steak, or so that the fats melt down enough to make the steak more juicy and tender.
This is a less common occurrence for most people dealing with dry steaks in general, but it is still possible for individuals cooking the types of steaks mentioned that have a lot of collagen and/or fats.