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IN 3 STEPS - This Is How To Cook Steak Perfectly On The Stovetop!

Stick and Ladle

Did you know? You can enjoy the best stovetop steak in as little as 45 minutes? Yup that’s right! With only 15 minutes of hands-on cooking and just 4 extra ingredients. Here’s a simple method for you WITH ONLY 3 STEPS.

#1 How to choose the best steak for pan-searing

Choosing the best steak beforehand will definitely cost you less than buying just about any steak you want. It’s that worth it! For stovetop cooking, choose boneless steaks preferably with 1 ½ inches thick. Some of the steaks with thicker cuts are boneless rib-eye and New York (NY) strip steak. A tip - the thicker the steak the better so don’t be afraid to ask your butcher to give you a steak with thicker cut as much as possible. Another tip - choose the steak that has more marbling. What is marbling? This refers to the white fat that runs throughout the meat. When the meat has more marbling, it just means it has more fat...AND...meat with more fat tends to remain juicy as you cook it moreover it will have the texture and meaty flavour you want from steak.

What’s not good: Don’t choose bone-in steaks for stovetop cooking. It’s not the best choice as it’s difficult to cook it properly over stovetop..thus, leading to uneven cooking. This type of steak is best when you cook them on grill or in the oven.  

#2 Seasoning the steak well

You can’t really deny the power of salt and seasoning. Here there’s two ways you can do it and what's the result you can get from it.

Season steak with salt overnight or within 24 hours: this is best if you want to have a juicier and more flavourful meat, it creates a perfect meat surface for searing. A tip when doing this is you need to let the meat rest after putting it in the fridge overnight before you cook it.

Season steak with salt for 30 minutes: Best option if you want to cook steak quickly and on a whim. This is also my preferred method as it’s just good enough for seasoning the steak and creating a good dry meat surface for searing.

What’s not good: Don’t add ground pepper or other rubs/spices when wanting to achieve pan-seared steaks. Reason is - these spices will be burned by the hot pan before they can give flavour to the steak so it’ll be useless.

#3 Cooking the steak hot and fast

After seasoning, there’s one important thing you need to do and that is to cook the steak HOT and FAST! Yup, put in your pan - ideally cast iron over high heat and let it get so hot as much as possible before you add the steaks. Cooking this way creates a nice crust on your steak and this is what you call searing. It doesn’t only keep moisture in but as what I mentioned, it also creates a nice crisp crust on the outside of the meat that ADDS a lot of flavour to your steak.

As you cook the steak, turn it, flip it every minute or so to create a thin even crust on both sides of the steak. Halfway through, add a few tbsp of herbs, butter, and other aromatics to create a flavourful hot baste finishing for the steak.  Lastly, bathe the steak in the hot butter and continue to flip it until it reaches that doneness you desire.

What’s not good: Avoid using oil when searing steak. Why? Because oil inhibits searing overall. But won’t the meat stick without the oil? Don’t worry! As long as the cast iron pan is very hot, sticking will not be an issue.

How to Cook Steak - Here's More Tips For You

Extra tip #1 - How to properly slice the steak 

Best way to slice the steak is to cut it across the grain. Cutting across the grain makes thin short meat fibers which is easier-to-chew and is tender. If you don’t know where to find the grain of the steak or what’s the grain means? Check for long striations across the steak extending from tip to tip and when you see them, just cut across them. That’s how you do it! In some cases, you may need to move the steak in order for you to cut it across the grain.

Extra tip #2 - How to determine steak doneness

Determining the steak doneness will help you identify how thoroughly cook the steak is. It will help you also to limit your cooking so as not to overcook or undercook your steak. To be sure you’re going to achieve the doneness you want for a steak, you need to measure the temperature with a probe thermometer. Here’s what you need to take note of when achieving a certain level of steak doneness.

  • Rare steak: About 6 minutes total cooking time. Remove the steak at 125°F temperature.
  • Medium to rare steak: About 8 minutes total cooking time. Remove the steak from the heat at 130°F
  • Medium steak: About 9-10 minutes total cooking time. Remove steak at 140°F temperature.
  • Well-done steak: 12 minutes cooking time. 

Extra tip #3 - Resting the steak is not necessary

One thing that I found out about based on my experience and some tips from a chef friend is that resting the meat after cutting it or seasoning it doesn’t make any difference in terms of the juiciness and flavour of the steak. In fact, serving the steak while it’s hot made a big difference. Serving a hot steak means the butter from cooking is still warm and dripping, the juiciness of meat is still there and the steak crust is still incredibly crisp.

If you need time to make the sauce or sauté spinach for that matter in a still-hot-pan then go ahead and rest your steak BUT as mentioned, RESTING ISN’T NECESSARY for cooking perfect steak. If you followed the 3-step mentioned here - choosing perfect steak, season the steak well, and cook it hot and fast - then you’ll do well.

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