We've all been there: You wake up the day after an amazing night out or a well-executed dinner party, thinking longing thoughts about the leftover steak in the fridge.
But how does one go about restoring the tantalizing tenderloin to its former glory without inadvertently turning it into a disappointing and rubbery throw-away? The answer is that there isn't just one way. Depending on what equipment and time you have at your disposal, there are several ways to achieve a satisfying and restorative effect.
Before jumping in to reheating steak, it's important to consider what different cooking methods do to your food.
The oven, for instance, leverages dry, hot, moving air to heat your food from the outside in. This, of course, runs the risk of dehydrating the food in the process.
The microwave, by contrast, uses radiation to heat your food from the inside out by exciting the water molecules that keep your food moist to begin with. This, too, comes with the risk of irreparably altering the texture of your meal.
Finally, contact heating, as in a pan, uses a single, hot surface to heat your food quickly from the outside in. But the single surface often lends itself to uneven heating. This should not discourage but inform your process. It's far simpler than it seems to work with these particularities to achieve a truly optimal and delicious effect.
Again, remember that the oven tends to dehydrate easily. Thus, it's important to use a “low and slow" approach. Reheat the steak at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This will ensure moisture retention and even heating.
Pans are great at heating food one side at a time. But if you're trying to get ready for your lunch break in a hurry, you don't have time to flip and wait.
With the advent of new kitchen tech comes new means by which to cook and re-cook everything under the sun. An air fryer, for instance, uses the same basic premise as a convection oven (hot, moving air) to cook your food in a manner that produces a similarly crispy texture to frying but without all that oil.
We would be remiss if we did not note that cooking steak in the microwave, even the second time around, is truly sacrilege. But if you insist, just know that you'll likely sacrifice a little bit of tenderness in the service of convenience.
Ultimately, there's no such thing as a truly bad steak. No matter how you choose to reheat steak, take into consideration what your cooking method means for the heat and texture of your finished product. Otherwise, you can't go wrong. Warm up some mashed potatoes as a side and dig in!