What’s the best way to cook a steak? Ask this question of 10 people and you’ll get 10 wildly different answers.

At Snake River Farms, we believe in doing things the right way. Our pros have put together a simple guide for making the most of your American Wagyu steaks, from choosing the best cuts to cooking with confidence to serving up a beautiful plate.

Read on for our tips on achieving a perfectly cooked steak every time, then try our recipes when you’re ready to expand your steak skills.

Part 1: Choosing the Right Steak Cut

Choosing the cut of steak impacts everything, from cooking method to flavor profile. Here’s what to look for in your choice of steak:

  • Marbling – White flecks and striations throughout the muscle, which are called intramuscular fat, indicate meat that will deliver superior tenderness and excellent flavor. The presence of intramuscular fat is referred to as marbling for its resemblance to patterns in marble. Look for a Beef Marbling Score (BMS) of 4 or higher.

  • Grade – USDA grades of Choice or Prime generally indicate very good steaks. All Snake River Farms steaks are graded above Prime for higher BMS and more reliably juicy flavor. Go for SRF Black or Gold Grade steaks when you want to be sure you’re serving the best.

  • Location – As in where the cut originated on the animal. Cuts from the loin, sirloin and rib offer the best tenderness.

Part 2: Cooking Like a Pro

Grilling may be your go-to weekend routine. But keep in mind that gas or low-quality lighter fluid and charcoal may affect the flavor of your steaks. High-quality lump charcoal burns hot and clean to create an awesome steak. For a year-round indoor option, invest in a good cast-iron skillet to control temps, contain juices and consistently cook a fabulous steak right on your stovetop.

Here’s the step-by-step guide to cooking steak:

  1. Take meat out of fridge and let it acclimate to room temp for 30 minutes.

  2. Season before cooking with salt and pepper. Heat skillet to medium-high.

  3. Add about a tablespoon of a neutral oil with a high smoke point — grapeseed oil is considered the gold standard — and press steaks lightly into the pan.

  4. Cook about four minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer to achieve your preferred doneness:

Watch Hugh Acheson cook the perfect steak for a visual guide.

Part 3: Resting

Set your cooked steaks on a clean plate or cutting board and let them rest for five to 10 minutes before serving. Longer resting is better. Do not skip this step! Your steak needs a little beauty rest to:

  • Redistribute juices from the surface to avoid them flowing away and losing that flavor

  • Improve internal temp and texture for better slicing and mouthfeel

Bonus: Presenting the Perfect Steak

You could just toss your perfectly cooked steaks onto a plate and dig in. But giving a bit of consideration to how your American Wagyu steak is presented can level up your dining experience.

To slice or not to slice? That really is the question. Is it nobler to leave your steak in a big hunk so your guests can discover the perfectly pinkish red center? Or should you slice and artfully arrange it to showcase your efforts?

The definitive answer is as confusing as a Shakespeare quote. Smaller steaks like filet mignon or ribeye filet can be left whole without causing any undue burden. Top these beauties with a few fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil for a pro presentation.

However, if you’re serving a skirt steak on salad greens, slicing ahead of time will avoid wilting the vegetables while masking some of their fibrous qualities. If you choose to slice, do so thinly, across the grain.