The Perfect Steak

So my first food topic I’m writing about something near and dear to my heart: a perfectly cooked piece of cow-flesh. God-damn I love me a good steak.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household where we ate it pretty regularly. My mom liked grilling sirloin, and later flank steak for the ease and ability to incorporate flavor into the meat. Both are great; I still use flank or skirt steak when I’m making fajitas.

But my favorite food will likely always be a simple cut of beef, no marinades or rubs, done medium-rare.

At some point in the last year I mastered the art of of a good steak, and it didn’t come from a grill. If I’m making a bunch I’ll still fire up the Weber, but if it’s only myself or a couple people, I’ve determined the best way to cook a steak is in the comfort of your kitchen.

note: I’m a NY strip guy. T-bones and porterhouses also work fine. Tenderloin can be amazing, but the cuts have to be straight and uniform. Sirloin, flank, skirt and hanger are tougher because most cuts are thinner on the outside.

The first thing you need to do is get your steaks to room temperature. This is vital to the cooking process. The other early requirement is kosher salt; give both sides of your steak a liberal amount. Then walk away. Come back in an hour. The salt will have broken down the tissue and allowed real flavor to develop when you get to the searing process.

Put a really good pan in your oven. This couldn’t be more important. You want a pan that can withstand some serious heat and give a great sear to your meat. I use All-Clad stainless or a well-used cast iron pan. I wouldn’t try this with shitty cookware or anything with a teflon coating. That stuff is fine for other uses, not for this.

Heat the oven, with the pan inside, to 500 degrees. Make yourself a drink and relax. Once the oven hits 500 you’re going to be moving a lot.

When the temperature hits 500, turn on a stovetop burner to high. Using gloves, take the pan out of the oven and put it on the burner. Brush your steak(s) with canola oil and put them in the pan for 30 seconds. DON’T TOUCH. Flip after the 30 seconds and sear the other side. After the time is up, pop the pan back in the oven. Let the steak(s) cook two minutes then remove the pan, flip, and pop them back in for two more minutes. When the two minutes are up, take the steaks out of the pan, wrap them in tin foil and let them sit on your counter for four minutes. They’ll continue to cook. Clean your mess up.

note: if your steaks were still cold at the start instead of room temperature, allow an extra minute per side in the oven.

Now, the key here is your steaks. Were they room temperature? Are they uniform cuts of meat? If that’s the case you’re going to get beautiful medium-rare. If they were still cold they’ll be on the rarer side when they come out and you gotta pop them back in the oven for a couple more minutes. Just keep an eye out.

When the four minutes in the foil are up, take your steak out and enjoy.

Option 1
Some people will say that using a sauce with a steak is a cover up for bad meat. I call bullshit on that. I don’t do it often, but a good sauce can be ridiculously delicious. Here’s a quick recipe.

After you take your pan of steaks out of the oven and move them to the the foil, put the pan back on the stove and turn it to low heat. In the pan goes a few ounces of liquor to de-glaze the drippings (vodka, whiskey or scotch work great), eight ounces of heavy cream, a teaspoon of beef base, crushed peppercorns and dried rosemary. Whisk it while it bubbles and reduces until you have a nice consistency. It should take four to five minutes. Poor over the steaks and lose your shit.

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Option 2
I basically love gorgonzola with my beef. It’s salty and tangy and the perfect compliment to a great burger or steak.

When I pull my steaks out of the oven for the first time to flip them, before I put them back on I pile a nice helping of gorgonzola on and let it melt on top of the steaks. Then they continue to cook normally.

The final result is a steak with flavor you won’t believe.

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4 thoughts on “The Perfect Steak”

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