A better way to cook a steak


I don’t know why there are intense debates about the best way to cook a steak. Some people think the grill is king. I used to be in that camp but I’m not any more. Not enough surface contact on a grill to form a proper crust.

Then there’s the reverse sear where you cook the steak at a low temperature in the oven until the internal temperature is about 20 degrees lower than the finished steak will be. Then you take it out of the oven and sear it in a screaming hot pan. It takes forever. And you don’t get a great crust. I ditched that method, too.

Lately I’ve been butter basting in, again, a screaming hot cast iron skillet. That’s a good one. I’ll keep it in my arsenal. But yesterday I found a new method and it’s the best so far.

Is that not a thing of beauty? The method comes from America’s Test Kitchen and basically it works like this. You put a 12-inch cast iron skillet in a cold oven and then you set the temperature for 500 degrees. When the oven hits 500, you take the pan out (carefully!) and put it on medium high heat on the stove. Add a couple tablespoons of oil and let it get almost to the smoking point. Add your steaks and leave them for two minutes. Flip for another two minutes. Then you go back and forth at two-minute intervals until the steak hits an internal temperature of 120-125 degrees for medium rare.

The crust is just spectacular because of all that contact with the hot cast iron. Top it with a compound butter made with chives, garlic, shallots and parsley while it rests. Forget about it. Heaven.


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