Making a great steak is a bit of a science but once you have it down,
it’s a super simple process and you’ll be able to make great steaks
for yourself and others for the rest of your life!
Inactive time: 1 hour
Active time: 10 minutes
What You’ll Need
Quality Salt (Celtic Grey, Himalayan Pink, Mediterranean Sea Salt, or “Real Salt” from Utah)
A heavy-bottom steel or cast iron skillet
A pair of tongs, spatula, or (last choice) a fork
High-temperature oil such as avocado oil, animal fat (ie. bacon grease or beef tallow)
Overview of the Process
Choosing your steak.
Steak needs to be room temperature.
Steak needs to be seasoned with salt.
The pan needs to be preheated. (types of pans) when you start with a hot pan, there is less/no sticking.
The steak needs to be cooked. (don’t touch/flip)
The steak needs to be checked for doneness.
The steak needs to rest.
How to Make a Great Steak
1. Choose your steak wisely. Always choose organic grass-fed beef, grass-finished (if available) beef. Not only is it the most flavorful, it is the healthiest for us and best for the Earth. It’s higher in vitamins A, B, E, and other antioxidants. It also has significantly lower levels of saturated fat compared to grain-fed beef. For pan frying steak, choose the most tender cuts of beef: rib-eye, ny strip, sirloin, and filet mignon.
2. Steak needs to be room temperature.
At least 20 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to make your steak, pull it out of the fridge so it can warm up on the counter. If you try to cook a cold steak, it will not cook evenly. The outside of the steak will cook quickly because it is directly on the heat while the middle of the steak remains cold and rare. By the time you get the center of the steak just to warm up, the outside will be dry and overcooked while the center is completely rare.
3. Steak needs to be salted.
Salting your steak brings out the natural flavors of the beef. You can either simply rub a layer of salt onto the steak prior to cooking, or you can brine the steak, which means you’ll soak the steak in salt water in the refrigerator for 1 hour to 1 day prior to cooking time.
If you are using a rub, be sure to use enough quality salt to create a crust on each side. If you’d like to use black pepper here. You can mix some in with the salt prior to applying.
Brining is great for tougher cuts of meat and also great for poultry and pork. When meat soaks in the salt water, it pulls the seasoning deep into the meat to amp up the flavor, as well as tenderize it. This process traps so much liquid inside the meat, that it inevitably turns out moist and juicy. The recipe for a brine is 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water you use. Mix until the salt is completely dissolved. If you choose to brine, be sure to drain the water, bring your steak up to room temperature prior to cooking (at least 20 minutes on the counter), and pat the meat dry prior to cooking.
4. The pan needs to be preheated.
When you begin with a hot pan, there is less or even no sticking, and creates a wonderful sear on the steak. To do this, you’ll place your skillet onto a burner over medium-high heat. Let it warm up for a minute and then put about ¼ cup of water into the pan. You do not need to measure this, just estimate. Once the water has cooked off the pan, it is ready.
The best pan for this is either a cast iron or heavy-bottomed steel frying pan/skillet. Teflon and other non-stick coatings are toxic and do get into the food.
5. The steak needs to be seared & flipped.
You’ll put some oil into the pan. Once it’s shimmering, add your steak. Quickly release it into the pan and then do not touch it for three minutes. The steak should easily release from the pan once it’s ready to be turned, at the 3 minute mark. The bottom will have a deep brown sear.
Flip the steak and cook for another 3-4 minutes for a medium-rare steak.
Medium steak: 4-5 minutes on the second side.
Well-done: 5-6 minutes on the second side.
*For that extra rich, steakhouse finish, you could add some butter during the last minute of cooking. 6. Check for doneness using the finger test. Here is a quick video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu1fm-9uUVc
*After a while, you will be able to do this intuitively by just poking at the steak. 7. The steak needs to rest.
Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. The steak will still be cooking in its own juices. If you cut into the steak too soon, the juices will run out rather than re-distribute throughout the steak and your finished steak will not be as tender and juicy. While you are waiting, use what remains in the pan along with a little water or fat to cook up some mushrooms & onions or a side of asparagus. Or, make a simple salad of arugula, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, small tomatoes and a dash of salt.