It is often assumed that you must go out to an expensive restaurant when you want a perfectly cooked steak. Don’t be fooled. There is nothing the chef is doing that you cannot do except for charging over 3 times as much. For a much cheaper but equally delicious, follow this simple formula to create the perfect steak.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least a half an hour before you plan on cooking them. Remove them hours earlier if they are in the freezer. The best steaks are the ones that started out as room temperature.
Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. This may sound strange right now, but it will be cleared up shortly.
Heat a non-Teflon pan on the stovetop. It is extremely important that non-Teflon is used; Teflon will destroy the steak. If it is possible, use a pan that does not have a plastic handle so it can be placed in the oven. A large cast iron skillet generally works the best.
The final preparation step is to season the steak. Brush a little olive oil on both sides and sprinkle a little pepper. Do not use too much as the flavor will intensify with cooking. Also, never put salt on a steak before cooking it. The salt brings the water inside to the surface and makes it easier to lose, resulting in a drier steak. Salt can safely be added after it has been cooked.
PROTECTING THE FLAVOR
When the pan or skillet is extremely hot, it is time to drop the steak into it. It is going to instantly sizzle, to the point where it sounds disastrous. Resist the urge to touch or move the steak. This is how the crust forms around it to seal in the flavor. If it is punctured, the flavor will leak out.
Allow the first side to sizzle for 2 minutes. When it is time to flip it, use tongs to lift up each end. Do not use a spatula that would scrape it or a single tong that would cause dragging it. The steak is sizzled for a total of 4 minutes.
This is when the preheated oven comes back into play and the stove can be shut off. The steak is placed into the oven, either in the original pan or a fresh one.
The steak must be continuously checked to ensure that it does not get overcooked and dry. The ideal internal temperature is 145 degrees. This would be a medium rare steak, but the temperature can be adjusted to preference.
Keep in mind that the steak continues to cook for several minutes after it has been removed from the oven. It is a good idea to take the steak out of the oven 5 degrees before the target temperature.
When the steak is at the right temperature, set it on a warm plate and cover it with foil. It is not ready to eat yet. It must sit for a minimum of five minutes to allow the juices to settle.
At this point, the steak can be seasoned to the individual’s liking. A buttery sauce is commonly used. Melt half a stick of butter and stir in some chopped garlic and shallots. Spread it across the steak with a spatula and mix it into the liquid that has leaked from the steak. This is better than any steak sauce that comes in a bottle.
The final sauce and seasoning is really a matter of preference. However, the cooking process is a tried and true method. Searing the steak in the pan before throwing a steak on a grill also ensures a moist and delicious meal.
Neil Wardlow has been writing professionally since 1989. Neil discovered he enjoyed writing when he suffered an injury during his 15-year building construction career. Neil now writes full-time, whenever he’s not occupied with entertaining family and friends, growing things, or making repairs in and around his beautiful ranch house.