3 Classic Ways to Cook a Steak
Cooking a tasty steak is just about the easiest thing there is to do. I'm going to demonstrate three classic ways to cook a steak:
- Oven broiled
Each cooking technique is very basic but will deliver an exceptionally good-tasting steak.
What Type of Steak Should I Cook?
When we talk about cooking a steak, we generally want to cook an individual one. It's best to select one of these cuts:
- Filet Mignon: very tender steak, rich marbeling
- Rib Eye: rich and flavorful with heavy fat
- New York Strip: leaner, but still flavorful
All three of these are premium cuts. Other thinner cuts of steak can also be prepared in a similar manner, like a flank steak.
Bring the Meat to Room Temperature Before Cooking
This is a critical step in cooking a great steak. Take the meat out of the refrigerator an hour or two before cooking, and let it sit on the counter. A steak that is at room temperature will cook more evenly and much more quickly.
One of the big mistakes people make is taking a steak directly out of the refrigerator and cooking it right away. This can lead to a burnt outside and a cold inside, much longer cooking times, and in the worst case, a dried-out and very tough steak. To avoid this, just let the meat sit out and warm to room temperature before cooking.
Seasoning the Meat: Course Salt
The best chefs in the world need only a single seasoning to make a great steak: coarse Kosher salt.
If you ever look at spice rubs in the market, you'll find rich blends with garlic, onion, paprika, celery salt, oregano, chili powder, and more. The truth is, seasonings are pretty expensive, they have a relatively short shelf life, and they aren't needed to cook a fantastic cut of meat.
What about black pepper? I know folks are thinking, "Doesn't it at least need pepper?" Nope. A great-tasting hunk of meat just needs the right amount of salt. That's it.
1. Broiling a Steak
Every oven I've seen has a broil function.
- Move the top shelf in the oven to the highest position.
- Turn the oven's broiler to high.
- Let the broiler heat up for at least five minutes.
- Place meat on tray: Most ovens come with a broiler tray that has a slotted cover, but in the event that there isn't one, just use a pan that will catch the drippings, or at the very least, prevents the drippings from spilling down to the bottom of the oven.
- Spray the pan with Pam or a little oil to prevent the steak from sticking: Meat grease can catch fire in an oven, so please be careful and keep all the drippings contained to a pan.
Checking Steak for Doneness
Steak in an oven's broiler will cook quickly. Assuming the meat was at room temperature, use the following cook times for a one-inch thick steak. Depending on the thickness, adjust the cooking time by one minute for each 1/2 inch in additional thickness.
- Medium rare: 7 minutes per side on high broil
- Medium: 9 minutes per side on high broil
- Well done: 10+ minutes on high broil
Once done cooking, let the meat sit for five to ten minutes. Cut a steak open to see if it's properly cooked. If it needs more time, just place it back under the broiler.
The heat from the broiler will create a golden-brown crust that is delicious!
2. Pan-Frying a Steak
It's very easy to fry a steak quickly on a stovetop.
- Turn the burner on to medium heat.
- Lightly oil the pan with Pam or olive oil.
- Place the pan over the heat for two to three minutes to heat the pan.
- Place the steak in the pan.
This is the quickest way to cook a steak, but it can also be a bit messy if the oil splatters. I recommend using a grease screen or a lid to prevent oil from splattering out of the pan.
Frying a steak in a pan is easy, but the cooking time can vary by the stove and type of pan used. I suggest using an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Typically, pan-frying a steak will take at least ten minutes per side.
- Medium rare - 120 degrees
- Medium - 135 - 140 degrees
- Well done - 145+ degrees
3. Grilling a Steak
Grilling a steak is the easiest way to cook a steak and it's also the easiest to clean up after cooking which makes it my favorite way to cook.
- Let the meat sit before cooking.
- Salt the meat.
- Preheat the grill to 500 degrees.
- Spray the grill with Pam or oil.
- Place the steak directly over the heat.
- Turn a one-inch thick steak over every 2.5 minutes for a total of ten minutes for medium rare steak. Add 1 minute per side for medium and 2 minutes per side for very well done.
Follow these instructions for medium rare steak if you want more details.
Grill Marks on the Steak
- For a great presentation, put hatch marks on the steak by flipping the meat and turning it 45 degrees per the turning instructions above.