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“The Perfect Steak” From Dustin Falcon of Niku Steakhouse – Tricks and Tips

Chef Dustin Falcon of Niku Steakhouse in San Francisco slices through wagyu steak

If you want to make a really excellent steak, it’s best to go straight to the source — and there may be no source better than Executive Chef Dustin Falcon of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Niku Steakhouse. Known for cooking top-of-the-line Japanese beef over Japanese binchotan charcoal, Falcon is the perfect person to offer home cooks a guide to a perfect steak at home.

This recipe begins not in the kitchen, but at the butcher shop (or, more likely, online). For his beef needs, Falcon swears by Bushu-Gyu, a single-source wagyu hailing from the Hasegawa family’s cattle farm in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture. The cattle are reared on a diet of beer lees, fermented grass, rice straw and a protein blend intended to provide the steak with flavor notes reminiscent of olive oil. The farm’s New York strip is known for gorgeous marbling and a tender texture. (And yes, a price tag to match, at $170 for a 16-ounce steak.)

Once Falcon has his steak, he doesn’t cook it — at least not right away.

“I’ve been preseasoning or curing my steaks at home lately with great results,” he tells InsideHook. To do this, he seasons the steak with a light layer of Diamond Crystal kosher salt on all sides before setting it on a rack and letting it rest uncovered in the fridge overnight.

“The salt does several things,” he explains. “It helps season the steak throughout and pulls out moisture enabling the steak to firm up. Additionally, this moisture loss and consequent tightening of the muscle helps the meat to sear better and taste more tender.”

Should you opt for a smaller steak, he says to be sure not to let it cure too long, as this could make it overly salty — no longer than about 16 hours, he says. 

Once the steak has cured, this recipe couldn’t be simpler. Prep a ripping hot grill or pan, and cook the steak for just a minute per side. Let it rest for five to 10 minutes, and your patience will be more than rewarded from the moment your knife slides through the perfectly charred crust.

The almighty Bushu-Gyu wagyu.

Joseph Weaver

The Perfect Steak, From Chef Dustin Falcon

Ingredients

  • 1 Bushu-Gyu New York strip steak
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt, as needed

Directions

  1. The night before, season the steak with a light seasoning of salt. Place on a rack to dry in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, bring the steak to room temperature, and heat a grill or oiled pan over high heat. Cook the steak to your desired doneness — for the Bushu-Gyu, about a minute per side is all you need. Let it rest before slicing and serving.

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