There’s no debating, cooking the perfect steak is much more of an art than a science. It takes a certain level of culinary finesse to take raw meat and turn it into a fall-off-the-bone, mouth-orgasm meal.
But no matter how often you wear your chef’s hat and the cooking background you come from, there are certain do’s and don’ts that you must adhere to. Following these guidelines, you'll get the absolute best steak - every time. It’s not to say you can’t add your own flavor or flare, but knowing some quick cooking rules for steak - aka recipes - will ensure the end result creates Facebook-photo worthy in looks, and tender in taste.
There are three basic options to cook a steak: pan fry, oven broil, and grill. Weather permitting, meat-lovers usually opt for grilling (we found The Most Amazing Grilling Gadgets You Won't Believe Exist). But when the outdoors don’t permit you to grill up a storm, or you're in the mood to try a new route, pan frying and oven broiling are two equally impressive cooking methods.
If you’re not sure where to start, the actual piece of meat you select can help guide you on the best cooking route. Pan frying works best for steaks that are around 1.5" thick. The oven route works for similar sized steaks, or those that are a little larger - up to about 2" thick. It’s pretty much free game when it comes to grilling any steak. Still, this method works best when you use a cooking thermometer to gauge the meat temperature and ensure your steak is fully cooked to your liking.
Beyond actually cooking, there’s also marination to keep in mind. You can buy packaged marinades, or you can create your own. Many simple, delicious marinades will often contain red wine, such as this red-wine rosemary marinade recipe below, suitable for a 1.5" steak:
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl and pour over steak. Let marinated steaks sit covered in your refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours before cooking.
Once you’re ready to become the master chef of steaks, select from 1 of the 3 best options below to cook up your next mouthwatering steak.
Going the pan fry route gives you a restaurant-quality steak, quickly and easily.
This method works best for rib-eye or strip steaks that are at least 1.5" thick. This recipe feeds 2 people, but you can increase it as you see fit.
Remove excess moisture from the steaks by patting steaks with paper towels, if necessary. Season steaks with salt and let sit at room temperature for at least 40 minutes - but no more than 2 hours.
Turn stove on to high heat and begin cooking by heating oil in a large stainless steal or cast iron skillet until you see heavy smoking. Next, season steaks with pepper and add to pan. Cook by flipping steaks often with tongs or a large cooking fork until the steak hits your desired internal temperature. For a rare steak, you want an internal temperature of 100ºF, and for a medium steak aim for an internal temperature of 130ºF. Allow steaks to continue to cook at this temperature for 6-12 minutes, depending on steak thickness.
Once the steak is almost fully cooked, add butter and optional aromatics (thyme sprigs and sliced shallots) and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove steak from pan and cover loosely with foil wrap. Allow steak to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
We tend to not think of the oven when it comes to cooking a great steak. But, oven cooking a steak - using the broil setting - is a favored option among chefs and food enthusiasts alike. To give it a shot, refer to this recipe below that serves two:
Bring both steaks to room temperature and use a clean cloth or paper towel to remove excess moisture. Move oven rack 6" from heating element (bottom or top) and set oven to broil. Rub steaks with olive oil, salt, and brown pepper - and at this point add any other seasonings to taste. Place skillet or greased broiler pan in oven for 15-20 minutes.
Once the skillet is preheated, pull out oven rack and carefully place steaks on skillet or greased broiler pan. Close oven and sear steaks for 3 minutes on one side, then use tongs to turn steaks and sear for another 3 minutes on the opposite side. (NOTE: Do not use a fork to turn steaks while in the oven at any time!)
After 6 minutes, set the oven to 500ºF and cook to desired taste, turning steaks once halfway through cooking time with tongs:
Medium Well (150-160ºF)
Once cooking is complete, remove steaks from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Steaks are best served on a warm plate to maintain ideal meat temperature.
When the weather allows, grilling a steak not only gives you a juicy meat-lovers dream, but also allows you to show off your grilling skills. To get the best steaks every time follow this recipe that serves four:
Remove steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Heat grill to high. Brush steaks on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. After steaks have sat at room temperature for about 20 minutes, place steaks on grill and cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. (Steaks will look slightly charred at this point.) Turn steaks over with tongs and cook for an addition 3-10 minutes depending on preferred taste.
Once steaks are done cooking, remove steaks from grill with spatula and transfer to a cutting board or platter. Cover loosely, tent-style, with foil wrap and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.