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You’ve Been Cooking Steak Wrong (But We’ll Fix That)

Grilled Black Angus Steak Ribeye and Pepper sauce on meat cutting board on dark wooden background
Image: Lisovskaya Natalia/Shutterstock

I’m hardly the first person to write about this. I follow chefs and food writers very closely and I see them preach the same shit over and over about cooking steak. But this puts me in a bubble. A bubble of expert food knowledge being thrown at me from all directions 24/7 on twitter, in food magazines, on food websites, and TV.

Then I realize when talking to my friends about food and cooking that most people in general don’t know what the fuck is going on in the “food world”. Most of my friends never cooked professionally. Most of my friends don’t take pride in their cookbook collection. Most of my friends don’t know the best way for cooking steak. Which is… In a cast iron pan.

“ARGHHH I’M A MAN AND I GRILLLLL!!!!!”. Stop it. Most men aren’t actually that good at grilling. It’s fucking hard. Controlling the heat is a bitch and flare ups from the fat dripping into the fire fuck up your char and leave nasty black spots that will taste bitter when you sit down to eat. I love grilling, and I try with fervor to improve every summer. But telling someone how to properly grill a steak in a blog post is impossible. Besides, I prefer the cast iron method hands down to all other methods. The results are unmatched. Here’s why:

  • Heat Control — You don’t have to guess how hot your pan is getting. You just turn the knob on your stove and you run the show. The best thing you can do for yourself when cooking is to put yourself in a position of control over the process. Live fire cooking is expert level cooking. Don’t make life too hard on yourself. You ain’t Bobby fucking Flay.
  • Fat Equals Flavor —What could be better than a steak that simmers in it’s own delicious fat? Nothing. Don’t surrender your fat to the fire. Keep it in contact with your meat and increase the depth of flavor. Also you can’t throw a stick of butter onto a grill and baste your meat as the milk solids in the butter brown. YUMMM!
  • GBD: Golden Brown and Delicious — You won’t believe the beauty of the sear you will get on your steak in a cast iron pan—especially if you properly season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. That crust will be sexy.
  • Saving $$$ —No charcoal means you just saved a few dollars. Oh, and it’s way easier to clean your cast iron than it is to clean your grill (which you should be doing every time you use it).
  • Weather Resistant — Don’t let the seasons or forecast dictate when you eat a steak. You deserve that steak. Even in January. Cast iron pans do not care what the temperature is outside. Besides, you ever try to keep a grill hot when it’s 30 degrees?

Even though I am kind of anti “recipe”, I am not anti-helping men eat better. This isn’t really a recipe so much as it is a guide in technique. Let’s get you eating and cooking steak right. Starting NOW!

Cooking Steak: Ingredients and Tools:

  • 1 cast Iron Pan
  • 1 large spoon (preferable offset, buy some here.)
  • 1 set of tongs
  • Meat thermometer if you don’t feel comfortable judging temp by touch
  • Choice of steak (Ribeye is the only right choice, thick cut about 10 – 12 oz)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 2-3 garlic cloves per steak, smashed with your chef’s knife
  • 4-5 twigs of fresh thyme per steak
  • 2 tablespoons of butter per steak

Cooking Steak Method:

  1. Pull your steak out of the fridge about an hour before you plan on cooking, to bring up to room temperature. This will help keep you pan from cooling down to much as well as provide a more efficient cook time
  2. Heat cast iron pan over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. While the pan is heating, rub your steak in Extra Virgin Olive Oil on both sides. Then, season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. If you aren’t used to seasoning properly, you most likely need to use more salt than you would think. I use the 3 finger pinch method. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Do it. SALT YOUR FOOD.
  4. Drizzle a little oil into the pan and place your steak, seasoned side down. Season the side facing up with the salt and pepper. Don’t be scared of the salt. Now…do not touch that &%$ing steak!
  5. Watch your heat and SMELL and LISTEN to your food cooking. Use your senses. You will know if things are going as they should by paying attention with the natural gifts you were given by whatever God you worship.
  6. After about 5 minutes, flip that bitch. Isn’t it beautiful!??
  7. Let it sear for a couple minutes, then throw your garlic and thyme into the pan.
  8. Once you start to smell the garlic doing it’s thing, toss in the butter. Here is where you want to really start watching your heat. You don’t want your butter to burn, so if you start to feel like you need to slow down – that’s ok. Lower the heat. You should have a decent sear on both sides of the steak now. As the butter melts, take your spoon and vigorously baste the melted, browning butter onto the steak along with the garlic and thyme. Keep going. Don’t stop.
  9. Now take your thermometer and check to see if you are at 125 degrees yet in the center of the steak. If you are short, keep the steak in for a minute longer or so. If you are over? Get that steak out of the pan. FAST. Pulling off at 125 degrees will allow the cook over to get you to a nice medium rare steak.
  10. This is the most important part. Let that meat rest. Ten minutes at the LEAST. Steak isn’t meant to be eaten screaming hot. In fact, I think it’s best at near room temp. Seriously. Try it. After resting, I like to go ahead and slice it up for plating. Drizzle with a little olive oil, maybe finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and you are done.

Good luck and you’re welcome.

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