How to Cook an Ideal Steak: Tips and Tricks
Best tips and tricks how to prepare and cook steak in the skillet, oven or over barbecue

Delicious juicy melting-in-your mouth steak - the ultimate meat pleasure and a truly heavenly experience. Restaurant prices for steak experience bite, so why not learn how to cook perfect steak at home. Although premium cuts of beef used for steaks are not cheap, you will not have to spend an extra dollar for a restaurant wine and side dishes. Also, cooking steaks is very satisfying, and you will feel yourself a super-chef when you deliver the restaurant-quality dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

In our article, we will tell you how to prepare the steak for cooking, and how to cook these prime cuts of meat in a cast-iron skillet, in the oven or over barbecue.

Know the temperature for doneness

To make the perfect steak, you will need a meat thermometer.  The temperatures for the doneness of meat are the following:

  • Blue (rare): from 130°F to 140°F
  • Medium rare: 145°F
  • Medium: 160°F
  • Well Done: 170°F

Note that these are the final cooked temperatures. You need to take the steak from the pan/oven/grill when the temperature is 5°F lower than the temperature for the desired doneness. This is because the steak continues to cook as it sits, and, covered with aluminum foil, it will rise in temperature to the required mark in about 5 minutes. 

How to prepare steaks

The steaks should reach the room temperature before cooking, approximately 70°F

  • The steaks should reach the room temperature before cooking, approximately 70°F. Take them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. If the steak is thick, take it out 1 hour prior to cooking.
  • Pat the steak dry with the kitchen towel. If your steak is wet, it will be steaming!
  • Rub the olive oil onto the steak. Sprinkle a plate with salt (use coarse, kosher, or sea salt only) and press the steak over the salt, top, bottom, and sides. With this technique, the salt will stick to the meat and not fall off during the cooking process.

On a side note, some chefs recommend salting the steaks about 1 hour in advance, for the steak to go through moisturizing process due to chemical reaction started with salt. However, in this case, timing is crucial, and not enough time will only spoil the texture of the meat. That’s why we opted for a no-time consuming and no-failing method of salting your steaks right before cooking.

  • Season the steak, but go easy with spices: you do not want to overpower the rich taste of meat. Freshly ground black pepper will do. You can add a small amount of parsley, rosemary or other herbs.

Pan-Searing Steak

Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the steaks in it.

Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the prepared steaks in it.

Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little in the cast-iron skillet so they don't stick to the bottom, approximately 2 minutes per side. Using this Pan-Searing technique, proceed to cook your steak for it to reach the temperature 5 degrees lower than final internal temperature for your desired doneness.

Remove the steaks from the pan, loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for half the frying time. 

Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.

Sear-Roasting Steaks In Oven

Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and degree of doneness you like.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Heat an oven proof-skillet or cast-iron pan over high heat. Place the steaks in the middle, and cook 1-2 minutes on one side. Flip with tongs and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, place a knob of unsalted butter on each steak and place the pan with the steaks into the oven. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and degree of doneness you like. Using the meat thermometer, check for the temperature of the steaks and remove them when the final internal temperature for your desired doneness.

Remove the steaks from the pan and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve whole or slice thin.

Grilling steaks

Place steaks onto hot grill. Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side

Preheat barbecue grill and spray it with non-stick kitchen spray. Place steaks onto hot grill. Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Using the meat thermometer, check for the temperature of the steaks and remove them when the final internal temperature for your desired doneness.

Remove from the grill and allow the steaks to rest for about 5 minutes, and ideally half the cooking time. Serve and enjoy!  

NOTE: If you do not have a meat thermometer on hand, do not worry – there is another method to tell the doneness of a steak. By pressing your finger on the meat’s surface, you can tell if your steak is rare, medium-rare, medium or well-done. Some chefs even prefer this “by touch” technique to thermometer, as puncturing the steak with its needle loses some of the delicious juices. Of course, this a subjective way to cook, but over time you will master it. So, the logic here is that meat gets firmer as it cooks, and to the touch different steps of cooking would feel different:

  • Rare feels soft and spongy with slight resistance. 
  • Medium-rare is a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy. 
  • Medium feels firm and springy. 
  • Well-done is spongy and soft and slightly springy. 

Hope our tips will help you cook the most delicious steak ever and you will want to repeat your success over and over!

Need a sauce to marry your steak? Get inspired by our article Steak Sauce Recipes!

 

 

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