How to Cook a Perfect Pan Seared Steak
The best way to get a delicious steak with the juices sealed in is to cook it in cast iron. A cast iron skillet can be heated to high temperatures before placing the steak in the pan searing the juices in the minute the steak makes contact.
There are a number of recipes that advise searing the steak on both sides in a cast iron skillet and then transferring to the oven to finish cooking, but I don’t find this necessary. You can get an equally tender and delicious steak by flipping it often once the initial searing on both sides has been done.
The other essential step is choosing a good cut of meat. A good thick rib eye, sirloin, New York Strip or T-bone steak should be selected. Look for one that has good marbling (little veins of fat running through the meat) that will result in a more tender steak. The grade of steak also matters. Choice is a good grade. Select or standard grades usually lack the marbling necessary for a tender steak.
We cooked the steak used in this photo in a cast iron grill, not pan. This gave us nice grill marks, but using a cast iron skillet will seal in the juices a little bit better. The main tip for sealing in juices though is to ensure the pan in smoking hot before adding the beef.
- Salt and Pepper freshly ground
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 Choice steak per above
Sprinkle salt and pepper on one side of the steak.
Heat skillet to smoking hot then add the oil and swirl it around.
Place the steak in the pan seasoned side down.
After about 2 minutes, flip the steak using tongs (not a fork)
Place some of the butter on top and spread it around as it melts on the steak
After another two minuted, flip the steak again and add more butter.
Flip the steak every thirty seconds after that until you have a total cooking time of about 5 minutes for a medium-rare steak.
Remove from burner, baste with a bit more butter and cover loosely with foil for five or ten minutes and serve.
A meat thermometer can be used to judge doneness. When inserted into the thickest part of the steak it will read 135 degrees for medium-rare, 140 degrees for medium and 145 degrees for medium-well. You should remove the steak from the heat when it is still a few degrees below the desired mark as it will continue to cook for a few minutes.
You can add some wine to the pan to deglaze and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the drippings. Add a tablespoon of butter and thicken.