You are probably reading this because you are about to hold a birthday or a barbecue at your home and you just want to make that perfect steak for everyone.
It may be quite a challenge to replicate a perfectly cooked steak at home. However, with these steps and a whole lot of practice, you might just turn out to be the best at it in your home.
First of all, you do not have to cook outside to enjoy a perfect steak, you only have to know the industry’s secret.
Cooking a great steak every time should not be that hard but you could over-complicate it with a few classic errors. Before we look at that, lets first take a look of how to get that perfect steak using the two methods below.
Grilling the perfect steak
Learning how to grill the perfect steak is the first and maybe most important step in achieving summer backyard grilling cred.
It’s all about hitting that sweet spot of gorgeous exterior char with perfectly cooked tender, juicy middle. But never fear that balancing act is easy to achieve with a few simple strategies.
Select your meat
Always go for those with extra fat which enhances flavor and promotes tenderness. You could choose to go with either thick or thin cuts.
Get this at the butcher where you can request steaks that are 1 ½-2 inches thick for that extra juice.
- The Strip steak which is tender, somewhat chewy and comes from the rear of the cow just behind the ribs. It is well marbled and does not need to be trimmed as much. It is easier to grill because you won’t have to deal with potential flare ups.
- The Rib-eye is flavorful extremely well marbled and comes from the middle of the cow in the rib section. It has a rich fat content than the Strip steak so is extra flavorful and beefy. It however needs trimming and one should be careful of the flare-ups.
- T-bone, as the name suggests, is t-shaped and joins two types of steak: Tender tenderloin and richer. When you grill it, you will want to make sure that the tenderloin is positioned further away from the direct heat source and the strip side closer to the heat because the tenderloin will cook more quickly.
They may be thin but they are rich in flavor and offer a chewy texture which is a great option if you are shopping at the supermarket.
- Flank steak comes from the belly of the cow near the back leg and is super rich in flavor. To increase tenderness, always serve it sliced and cut against the grain.
- Hanger Comes from the front of the belly of the cow the part that hangs down. It has a strong beefy flavor and is especially good for marinating since it has a looser muscle fibers that tend to soak in flavor.
- Skirt comes from the diaphragm of the cow and is a very thin cut with plenty of fat so it takes especially well to high-heat searing. Make sure to slice it against the grain for tenderness too.
Season your steak and refrigerate
Season the meat with salt a few hours before grilling then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
You could use ½ a teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat and you do not need to rinse off the excess salt because it will be sucked into the meat.
The salt acts a dry brine helping it to stay juicier throughout the cooking. For the thinner cuts you could use the marinade instead.
You could also consider adding sugar to the mix which is a secret for tenderizing tougher cuts.
Prep your grill
No matter what kind of steak you’re cooking, we recommend setting up a two-zone grill.
For Thin Steaks, Sear Over Direct Heat
For steak that’s less than 1 1/2 inches thick, simply grill the steak over the direct heat until it reaches the desired temperature, flipping the meat about every minute.
This will ensure that the surface browns evenly throughout, and that the middle of the steak won’t cook too quickly or unevenly.
Take the steak off of the grill once it hits your target temperature. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and/or serving.
For a Thick Steak, Use the Reverse Sear Method
For steak that’s 1 ½ inches thick or more, the best strategy to ensure meat that’s perfectly charred on the outside and cooked to desired doneness in the middle is the reverse sear.
You’ll cook the steak until it’s almost at the desired doneness over indirect heat, then move it over the hotter direct-heat section of the grill for a final quick sear.
First, make sure the indirect-heat section of the grill is around 225°F (use a grill thermometer with a clip to check. Learn more here), add the steak to that cooler part of the grill, and then cover the grill.
Let the steak rest briefly then serve.
Pan cooking the perfect steak
You could choose to pay a lot of money going out to a restaurant for a nice flavorful steak or you could finally use the cast iron skillet you bought to make yourself one flavorful one too.
All you need is that pan, a good steak, a gas grill with a side burner or stove-top, butter and a high-smoke-point oil like avocado oil salt and pepper and a pair of long-handled tongs.
Using a cast-iron is one of the best ways of cooking a steak but also the type of steak matters. Talk to your butcher and get a nice cut of meat like a boneless rib-eye steak so that the bone does not reduce the amount of caramelization on the outside of the meat.
Also get yourself a good instant-read digital thermometer for taking the internal temperature of the steak. It’s the best tool to determine doneness.
Oil the steak
Once you have your steak, lightly coat it with oil.
Choose an oil with a high smoke point, as oil breaks down at high temperatures. Oils like avocado oil can take a much higher temperature than most.
It is very important that both sides of the steak are well coated with oil, but there is no need to worry about the edges.
Season the meat
Includes coarsely ground black pepper and a coarse sea or Kosher salt.
The oil is going to hold the seasonings in place and if you choose to make a sauce in the pan later, this will provide the extra flavor.
Apart from salt and pepper, many restaurants add dried parsley or other herbs to the mixture.
You can use anything you like, but keep it light. You want to maximize the flavor of the steak, not the seasonings.
Preheat the grill
You need the burner to heat the skillet and start the steak cooking and the grill or oven to complete the process.
Either way, the grill or oven needs to be preheated to a high temperature, around 500 F/260 C. Though any temperature of 400 F/205 C or higher will do.
This process creates a good deal of smoke. You won’t notice it much on the patio. However, your smoke alarm will probably notice if you choose to cook indoors.
If in the kitchen, you might want to turn off the alarm for the duration. Also open up a window or two.
Preheat the cast iron skillet
To make this whole process work, you need a smoking hot cast iron (or heavy-duty) skillet. And smoking hot means just that—hot until it is smoking.
The pan also needs to be clean and without any oil or cooking spray. It can have light seasoning.
All the oil you need is already on the surface of the steak.
- Place the cast iron skillet on the burner set to high heat and allow to heat up. To test if the pan is hot enough, place a single drop of water on the pan. If it dances for a second before disappearing, the pan is hot enough. Make sure to have the steak, a clean plate, a heavy-duty grill mitt, a pat of butter, and a pair of tongs ready. You won’t have a chance to step away once you start the cooking process.
- Place the steak in the center of the hot skillet. It is important that most of the steak is in contact with the metal as possible. So never use a steak bigger than your pan. Wait exactly 2 minutes before moving the steak.
- Turn the steak over placing it exactly where it was. There should be a rich deep brown on the cooked surface (not black) Continue cooking for 2 minutes. Be patient and let the steak continue to cook the burner still on high.
- Have your oven mitt on. Remember the metal you are about to pick up is heavy and nearly 500˚F.
- If you want it very rare take it off the heat since it has been cooking for 4 minutes now. If you want it more cooked, transfer the skillet to the preheated grill. Drop a pat of butter on top of the steak right in the middle. Close the lid of the grill and let it cook until desired doneness. Use the thermometer without opening the lid or door.
- Remember you are supposed to remove the meat when it is 5F/2.7 C below the target temperature. For medium rare, remove the steak from the grill out of the skillet when the center of the meat reaches 125 F/52 C.
- Rest, plate and serve.
Leftovers are a possibility especially when you prepare more steak than is required. In this case one has to store the leftovers in a fridge.
Have you always had trouble reheating steak the next day?
You can learn how to reheat steak and get some amazing results from here.