Going out to eat at a steakhouse is one of the grandest dining pleasures. Large steaks being brought to the table accompanied with creamed spinach, wedge salads, onions rings, and bottles of red wine is a sight to behold. However, you don’t need to go out to eat to experience the magic that steakhouses provide. With the correct techniques and tools, you can achieve steak perfection at home! In this post, we’re going to cover some tips to make sure your steaks are cooked perfectly and filled with flavor. We will then dive into a few different steak-cooking techniques so you can decide which one is best for you! Let’s begin.
Before we get into the techniques, there are a few things to note when preparing steak. First, you want to choose the right pan. Carbon steel cookware is the best for searing steaks. It can handle extreme heat, is light enough to maneuver, and probably the most critical aspect of carbon steel is that it responds to changes in heat exceptionally well. This will ensure your steak does not burn and you have total control of how it cooks.
Always preheat your pan for 2 minutes before cooking, and then add a high smoke point oil to the pan and let that heat up for 1 minute.
Next, make sure you have the proper steak. Try and choose one with excellent marbling (the streaks of fat interwoven in the meat), which will give you the best flavor. Always season your steak heavily with salt and pepper. Remember, you can only season the outside, so you have to make up for the steak’s inside not getting any salt or pepper. And always pat your steak dry before placing it on your grill or pan. If your steak has any residual moisture that the salt has brought out, it will steam when it hits the pan, rather than achieving a perfect golden-brown crust.
When it comes to cooking the steak, cook it to your desired doneness. Internal temperatures corresponding with their doneness is as follows:
Rare: 120-130 degrees
Medium Rare: 130-135 degrees
Medium: 135-145 degrees
Medium Well: 145-155 degrees
Well Done: 155-165 degrees (please no.)
When you’re cooking your steak, be sure to baste it with butter and herbs. This is key to a flavorful steak. This should be done during the last few minutes of your steak cooking. Simply add a few tablespoons of butter and thyme, rosemary, and garlic. As the butter melts and browns, spoon it over the steak continuously.
Lastly, we highly recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer, as this is the best way to tell the exact temperature of your steak. Take your steak off the heat source when it is 5-10 degrees lower than your preference. Your steak will continue to slowly cook while it is resting. Resting for 5-10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and reach the ideal temperature.
The reverse sear method has gotten more popular in the past few years as it is pretty foolproof. For this method, set your oven to a very low temperature, anywhere between 225-275 degrees. Place your seasoned steaks on a wire rack and place them in the oven until the internal temperature reads around 10 degrees less than what your ideal temperature is. For this method, an instant-read thermometer is essential.
Once the steaks are at your desired temperature, take them out of the oven and preheat your pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add a high smoke point oil and wait until it shimmers. Pat the steak dry and then place it in the pan to get a hard sear. This should only take one minute per side. Once you flip the steak, baste.
Once your steak has a beautiful brown crust, take it out of the pan, and you’re done. Since the oven cooks your steaks very evenly and gently, there is no need for them to rest. Enjoy!
For this method, simply prepare your pan and allow your steaks to come to room temperature. Since the steak is thin, there is no need to use the oven. Simply place your steak in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until a beautiful Maillard reaction has formed. Then flip the steak, allow the other side to achieve the same color, and don’t forget to baste! Rest your steak, and then if you’re using skirt steak, we highly recommend slicing against the grain. This produces extremely tender pieces.
This method is a combination of the above “reserve sear” and “sear” methods. This is best performed when you have steaks that are larger than 1 ½ - 2 inches. With steaks this large, just searing them on the stovetop would produce a very raw middle. That’s why additional cooking time in the oven is necessary. Once the steak reaches your desired temperature, take it out of the oven and then baste. Obviously, be careful since the handle will be hot! Allow the steak to rest and enjoy.
This method is quite new to people, but it is a great way to achieve end to end perfection and avoid gray steak. This method also works perfectly for grilling outside. Simply season your steak and then place it on your grill or pan and flip every 30 seconds or so.
Don’t be alarmed when you flip your steak over and it’s gray. This is 100% expected. As you continue to cook and flip your steak, a crust will form, and the inside will cook evenly and gently. The steak is done once the internal temperature is at your desired doneness!
You now have all the tips and tricks for crafting the perfect steak at home. Whether you're going to sear a wagyu hanger steak or reverse sear a porterhouse, make sure you have the right tools to achieve tender and juicy steak. You can shop our collection of carbon steel and stainless steel cookware right HERE!