How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet - The Rising Spoon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

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Want to know how to cook the perfect steak indoors? Here's the best technique for achieving a perfectly cooked (crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside) and flavorful steak every time without a charcoal grill.

How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Tired of overcooking steaks on the stovetop? If you're using a regular ol' pan the whole time, you'll likely end up with a tasteless black crust by the time the middle reaches the right temperature. Oftentimes, the interior will end up overcooked. Not anymore! 

Using this sear and bake technique with high heat and a cast-iron skillet, you'll end up with a flavorful crust and juicy interior every time. (Don't own a cast-iron skillet yet? Get one hereCast-iron is affordable and lasts a lifetime or two if you care for it properly.) 

I've been cooking my steaks this way for the past 8 months several years and LOVE it. As long as you follow the easy steps and set a timer (so as not to overcook the steak in the oven), it's pretty much foolproof! The only thing that beats it is a charcoal grill. Since I live in a second-floor apartment, I don't have access to one. 


This is the second best option for people like me and the best for winter time! Well, unless you're a total badass and grill in sleet, snow, and super low temps. If that's the case--props to you.

Do you need some recommendations for side dishes to serve with your perfectly cooked steak? These are some of my favorites:


Also...leafy side salads with easy homemade salad dressings like blue cheese dressing, buttermilk garlic ranch dressing, apple cider vinaigrette, and maple balsamic vinaigrette. 



Psssst...If you happen to make one of my recipes or DIY crafts and share it on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter make sure to use the hashtag #therisingspoon and tag my account @therisingspoon so I see it! It helps me so much to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)

How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Adapted from Alton Brown's Season 14, Episode 1 "Porterhouse Rules"
Want to know how to cook the perfect steak indoors? Here's the best technique for achieving a perfectly cooked (crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside) and flavorful steak every time without a charcoal grill.
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 steaks (I generally use grass-fed New York strips or a similar cut)
Coarse sea salt (or kosher salt) & coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
--I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt--
1 tablespoon of cooking oil (I recommend avocado oil as a good high-heat oil)
2 tablespoons of butter (this pastured butter is amazing)
Fleur de sel, for finishing (optional)

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet
stainless steel tongs
large lid (big enough to cover the skillet)*

*The lid is for safety purposes in case you unintentionally get your skillet/oil so blazing hot that it causes a grease fire and you need to quickly extinguish the flames (do not use water). This has never happened to me, but it doesn't hurt to share safety tips in case this is your first time cooking or you're in the habit of walking away while something is on the stove (eek). 

Directions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove steaks from the fridge and season both sides with coarse sea salt (or kosher salt) and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste. Just eyeball the spices, but make sure you use enough to form a nice crust. If you have a favorite meat seasoning blend, you can also use that. Let the steaks rest 45-60 minutes on the counter prior to cooking so the meat comes closer to room temperature. 
  3. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil to a seasoned cast-iron skillet and turn the burner to medium-high heat. Warm the oil until the surface just begins to shimmer (that's how we know it's hot enough to sear). Note: We want the pan/oil to be plenty hot in order to create a proper sear on both sides of the steak; however, the oil should not be smoking before you place the steak in the pan. If it is, remove the skillet from the burner and let it cool down for several minutes before continuing the process. You may want to remove the batteries from your smoke alarm temporarily, turn on a ceiling fan or vent fan and/or open a few windows, as once the steak goes in the pan it will likely create a bit of smoke (using an oil with a lower smoke point like butter or olive oil will definitely contribute to this). 
  4. Place steaks into the hot pan (it should sizzle). Make sure not to crowd the pan. If you're cooking more than 2 or 3 steaks you may need to use two pans. Let the steaks cook for 2 minutes. Flip the steaks over, then let them cook another two minutes. I recommend using a timer here. If you want to sear the sides, cook them for about 30 seconds on each side using your tongs to hold up each steak. 
  5. Using an oven mitt, transfer the pan to the oven and let it cook for 4-5 more minutes. This will create a medium, pink center. If you want it medium rare or rare, try 2-4 minutes. IMPORTANT: For smaller, leaner steaks you'll want to keep it in the oven no longer than 2 minutes, even less if you want to achieve medium rare. For a larger, fattier cuts, 4-6 minutes will achieve a pink center. And if you're uncertain, you can always do the finger test to check for doneness. 
  6. Remove pan from the oven. Using tongs, place the steaks on a cutting board or plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil or a dish towel and let rest for 7-10 minutes without cutting into it.
  7. A few minutes before serving, when you plate the meat, top each steak with a tablespoon of the organic, grass-fed butter. Give it a minute to melt over the steak, then serve.
  8. Optionally, before serving, you can sprinkle fleur de sel (it's a top-quality French finishing salt) over the buttery steak. 
Notes & Tips
  • If you have extra time or plan ahead, I HIGHLY recommend Alton Brown's method for dry aging a steak in the fridge. It really takes the flavor to a whole new level.   
  • For an even better steak experience, top them with homemade herb butter or a blue cheese crust.




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How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet





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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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