What’s better than a great steak? For many, the answer is, “Nothing!”
But never fear, my “Best Steak Recipe Ever” is here to save the day.
If you are ever going to call yourself a gourmet cook, you absolutely must know how to prepare a great steak. The method below is exactly how they do it in a restaurant. I’m sure it will serve you well with even the most discriminating of carnivores.
Start with the Right Steak
You need a steak that is at least 1 inch thick, preferably 1 ½ inches. Tenderness depends on the amount of work a particular muscle does. The areas along the back of the animal (the loin, ribs, and rump) don’t get as much exercise as the neck, shoulders, brisket, and flanks.
My Three Favorite Steak Cuts
- Filet – This exceedingly tender steak is cut from the tenderloin. Ask for center-cut filets, rather than ones from the tail or head; 6 to 8 ounces per person is a good serving. Filet has a bit less flavor than other cuts, but it’s perfectly suited for a high heat sear. Serve this cut rare or medium rare; when cooked past that, its flavor can become livery.
- New York Strip – The official name for this steak is top loin, and it comes from the middle back, called the short loin, which is located on the exterior surface of the spinal column. This steak is tender and well-flavored, and you will pay accordingly.
- Rib-eye – A rib-eye is my all-time favorite steak for searing. It’s cut from the prime rib area of the upper back and is the most flavorful and fattiest of the common steaks. Rib-eye comes boneless or bone-in; both are great, though I think bone-in offers more flavor. Butchers often cut this steak too thin so that a single steak will weigh a pound or less. It cooks better if it is 1 ½ inch thick.
Your steaks should be at room temperature before cooking. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Pick the Perfect Pan
A well-seared steak requires a good heavy-based pan. I use my All-Clad 12-inch frying pan or grill pan (if you want grill marks). A cast iron skillet is also very good. All three pans can go right into the oven after searing.
A good hot pan is the key to a good seared steak. Before you get started, turn on the exhaust fan, it’s going to get smoky!
Generously season (room temperature steaks) with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Place steaks in the pan and don’t move for 2-3 minutes.
Lift up the edge with your tongs after 2 minutes to check to see if you have a nice sear. As the steak sears and contracts, it will naturally release; be patient and most of the browned exterior will stay on the steak and not on the bottom of the pan. Turn the steaks over and sear on the other side for 2-3 minutes.
Tenderness and Temperature – Keys to a Perfect Steak
Use a probe thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat, set for the desired temperature and place the pan in the 375 degrees oven.
I take my steaks out of the oven at 140-145 F (for medium). When you take your steaks out of the oven, you must let your steaks rest to allow juices to be reabsorbed from the exterior of the steak back to the center. The steaks will continue cooking by allowing the heat from the hotter exterior to equilibrate with the cooler interior. The result is a perfectly cooked and juicy steak.
Never cut into your steak immediately after you take them out of the oven. All of the moisture runs out onto the plate and therefore cannot re-distribute inside the steak. I usually let my steaks rest 15 minutes.
Another very important tip: When you take your steaks out of the oven, the handle is extremely hot. Immediately slip on a hot handle holder over the pan’s handle. You don’t know how many times I have gotten burned because I did not do this step.
A beautifully marbled prime grade steak just like the restaurants make. It really needs nothing more! Maybe a good sauce (see below), and, of course, add a good wine; a robust red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon would be nice!
You could also do this steak on the grill. After you sear it on both sides, transfer it to the pan and put it in the 375 F. oven until it reaches your desired temperature.
Four Different Peppercorns Sauce
- 4 Medium mushrooms (sliced very thin)
- 3 shallots (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of 4 different peppercorns (white, black, green and pink – crushed)
- 1 teaspoon Green Madagascar Peppercorns in brine
- 1 ounce demi-glace
- 1 ounce butter
- 1 ounce brandy
- 1 ounce of dry white wine
- 1 cup of whipping cream
- Salt, pepper
Remove steaks from the pan and put them on a platter and tent with foil. Discard grease from pan and add butter. Add shallots and sauté. Add mushrooms and sauté. Crush peppercorns and mash green Madagascar peppercorns, and add to pan. Flambe with brandy and deglaze with white wine. Add demi-glace, juice of steaks and then cream. (If you don’t have homemade demi-glace, you can purchase Demi-Glace Gold (Veal) at your gourmet market.) Reduce to half and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Note: To crush the 4 different peppercorns, put the peppercorns on countertop. Using the side of a small pan, crush the peppercorns.
There you have it, the only steak recipe you will ever need. I have used it for years, with never a single complaint. It is without a doubt the best steak recipe I’ve ever come across.
If you think you can do better, I’d love to hear about your method. If I try it and agree, I’ll send you a little gift.