Many people who enjoy an excellent steak go out to eat as they are reluctant to prepare it at home. Cooking a steak at home will be less expensive, and you are sure to get exactly what you want. With a little preparation and practice, cooking a steak to perfection at home can become second nature. This article discusses pan frying the steak, but you can easily adapt the technique to the grill.
Buy a Perfect Steak
It doesn’t matter how you cook it if you don’t start with a great steak. Find a good butcher and let them help you pick out your steak. A lot of people will atomically go for the filet mignon, but you are going to get the best flavor in a strip or rib-eye. A bone-in steak will have more flavor, but until you get the hang of cooking it, a boneless steak will be easier. Make sure you get a steak well marbled with fat and preferably prime grade or better.
Prepare the Steak and Pan
You don’t want to cook the steak cold, so leave it out when you get home or take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior to cooking. The steak will cook more evenly if it is room temperature. Sprinkle both sides liberally with ground pepper and a little silt.
When you are ready to cook, place a good cast iron skillet over a high flame. Pour enough good olive oil in the pan to coat the bottom. As soon as the oil starts smoking, it’s time for the next step.
Sear All Sides of the Steak
Put the steak in the hot oil and sear it well on one side. This shouldn’t take more than about a minute. Be careful as the hot oil will tend to spatter. (This is another reason not to cook a cold steak.)As soon as it is well seared, flip it over and do the same to the other side. Next comes the step that many people skip. Using tongs, hold the steak up on end and let it sear well on all sides. You want to sear the entire steak all the way around, not just on the flat sides.
Finish Cooking the Steak
Reduce the heat to medium and place the steak flat in the pan. If desired, add some butter and fresh garlic to the pan at this point for a sinful pan gravy. Cook to desired doneness, flipping the steak only once about halfway. Knowing how long to cook the steak is something you will have to learn wit practice. Once you gain some experience, you will be able to touch the steak with the tongs and gauge doneness. For now, try about four minutes per side after the searing process. Whatever you do, don’t cut into it to see how done it is.
Let it Rest
Resting is another important step that people often skip. Once the steak has finished cooking, flip it onto the plate with some of the pan drippings and walk away. This is hard to do, but the results are worth the wait. Let the steak sit for about five minutes before you cut into it. The steak will be juicier and more flavorful.
Consistency is the key to getting the right results every time. Once you learn to gauge exactly how long to cook your preferred cut of meat, you will be able to cook the perfect steak every time.