Why Leftover Steak Will Probably Disappoint You

Boy, wouldn't it be great to have a delicious steak dinner right now? Maybe a nice, juicy sirloin served with gravy? Or perhaps you're in the mood for a tender, flavorful filet mignon served in a rich pan sauce? No matter what cut of steak you choose or how you like it cooked, there's no denying that a steak dinner is something special. It's one of those dinners that are so good, you'll want to save some for tomorrow. You wrap up your leftover hunk of steak in foil, chuck it in the fridge, and reheat it over the stove the next day. When you take that first bite, however, the end result can only be described as dry, flavorless, chewy shoe leather. What exactly happened to your delicious steak?

As chef Brad Stevens of Georgia restaurant Dovetail explains to Southern Living, steak is a type of food best enjoyed in one sitting. Stevens notes that when steak sits in the fridge, the muscle fiber "seizes up" from the cold. This leads to that dry, tough piece of pre-cooked meat you'll find yourself chewing on the next day. Of course, you can't expect it to taste as fresh as it did the day before. But is there any way to at least try and reheat that leftover steak without wasting it, or should you just give the meat to your pets?

Some simple tips to reheating your steak

While it is possible to reheat steak, one must be very careful in doing so. It's a bit more finicky than reheating pizza, mind you, but there are a few tricks to help ensure your meat will still be tender and as flavorful as possible.

Allrecipes suggests that, when reheating your steak in a microwave, it's best to cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent loss of moisture. The steak should be cooked in 30 seconds intervals for up to 90 seconds or 2 minutes, flipping it each time. This will keep the reheating process even, so you won't end up biting into a particularly cold area of your leftover steak.

In case microwaving steak don't sound too appealing to you, Cook's Illustrated suggests reheating it inside the oven using a 4-step process. The first step is to preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the meat on a wire rack within a "rimmed baking sheet." The second step involves allowing the steaks to warm inside the oven until an internal temperature of 110 degrees is reached. For the third step, remove the steaks from the oven and sear them in a pan of hot vegetable oil for 60 to 90 seconds on each side. The final step simply requires letting the meat rest for five minutes until the internal temperature reads between 125-130 degrees. It may not be as good as fresh steak, but it's certainly better than dried-out leftovers.