The Worst Mistake We're Making With Steak According To Anthony Bourdain

From the best cuts of steak to how to make sure it's meltingly tender, professional chefs have all sorts of opinions and suggestions when it comes to cooking steak. Celebrity chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain had a lot of opinions about steak, too, but one of his best tips was about what to do with your steak once it's done cooking. In a video posted to the "No Reservations" Facebook page, Bourdain stated that the worst mistake everybody makes when cooking steak is touching it. He even called it "maybe the most overlooked feature or factor in the success or failure of a steak."


Bourdain explained that it's particularly important to let your steak rest, especially if it's a thick cut, but that it's true of all meat. How long should you let your steak sit? Five to seven minutes. And if you're tempted to do anything at all to the steak during that time, resist. "Just let it sit. Don't wrap it in foil, don't cover it, don't poke it, don't prod it. Don't even look at it. Just let it sit there. Leave it alone. And you will be rewarded," Bourdain said. Do this, and you'll be well on your way to perfect steak.

Why you should let your steak rest

Anthony Bourdain did much more than just command you to let your steak rest; He also provided some insight into why as well as what happens to steak as it sits on the cutting board. "What's going on inside is, it is continuing to cook, but even more importantly, the juices are distributing themselves in a truly wonderful alignment," Bourdain explained. If you take your steak off of the grill and cut into it too quickly, you might notice a bullseye pattern. What you should see instead is a gradual change from red to pink to the outer crust.


"All the difference in the world between a good steak and a totally messed up steak is going on in that period of time that you're just doing nothing," said Bourdain. If you're able to resist the temptation to cut into that steak in those first five to seven minutes, you're much more likely to see that gradual color change in the meat instead of the bullseye.

How residual cooking works

Part of what Anthony Bourdain described is called residual cooking, in which the meat continues to cook after you remove it from the grill or the pan. The heat already within the food continues to rise for a bit before everything starts to cool down. This can balance the temperature throughout your steak, helping you avoid a hot outside and a cool inside.


Understanding residual heat can ensure that your steak is cooked to your desired doneness. As your steak rests, the temperature will rise about 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If you take your steak off the grill exactly when it's finished to your liking, you might find that it's cooked a bit more than you prefer once you cut into it after five to seven minutes. If you're using temperature as a tool to tell when your steak is done, you should remove it from the grill when it's about 5 degrees shy of your desired temperature. Then, follow Bourdain's advice and "do not f***ing touch it!"