Red wine is a must when pan frying your steak

As a qualified chef I have cooked red meat for many years.

I do a lot of red meat pan frying and the reason being is that I find it an ‘exciting’ cookery method. What I mean is that there is so much that you can do with the one fry pan!

You pan fry the steak and once the steak is removed there are options available to you as to what you can do with what is left in the fry pan.

After I remove a cooked steak from the pan, I like to use the same pan to pan fry mushrooms with garlic. When the mushrooms are cooked I remove from the pan.  Think of what is now left in the pan! Amazing blend of juices and sediments from the steaks combined with what is left after cooking the mushrooms. This is the time to scrape the pan (with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon) add in your favourite fresh herbs such as finely chopped parsley or rosemary and others such as fresh garlic, stir to combine before adding in the red wine. Let simmer to reduce.

This is when pan frying gets exciting!


Because the process of reducing the red wine burns off the alcohol while the flavour of the wine concentrates. Not only that but the flavour of any of the other ingredients now in the wine are also extracted into the wine as well. The result is an incredibly delicious and exciting sauce that makes for a truly memorable steak meal!

The process of using wine to “lift” the leftover sediments and combine with the meat juices to mix with a liquid such as red wine is known as deglazing.

So, why do we use red wine as opposed to white wine when cooking red meat?

Red wine has what is known as tannins. This is the reason that when we drink red wine we taste a unique ‘firmness’ combined with that acidic and bitter touch. This characteristic is what makes it suitable to the fattiness of the tender cuts of red meat. White wines also have tannins but not as much as red wines.

Go ahead! Next time you pan fry steak and remove it from the pan make sure that you use red wine to create an exciting sauce from what is left in the pan.