I love steak! Right out of school, steak was just too much of a luxury. But now I’m ready to make myself a good juicy steak (on a budget, of course). I get a bit overwhelmed standing in the supermarket seeing the display of all the different cuts and sizes. I’m just as lost choosing what to cook it with. Do you have suggestions or recipes for the non-cooking meat-lover?
How to make the BEST steak
Let’s be honest here, not everybody likes steak. And not everybody likes the same cut of steak. Your Uncle Eric who, as you are aware, knows his way around a slab of protein, is very fond of _____ steak. Your Uncle Lenny is a sirloin steak lover from way back. Your mother and I were die hard filet mignon fans until we discovered….
I happened to be watching reruns of “Good Eats” with Alton Brown. As it turns out, it was his very first show and he was handling something very very basic – steak. His method was unexpected, which I have come to learn is what you should expect from Mr. Brown. But his results turned out to be dead-on.
First, the equipment. You won’t need your grill, barbecue pit, smoker or broiler. You will need an oven and a cast iron skillet. It’s is critical that it be a cast iron skillet – not some stainless steel hand-me-down that your mother gave you. And not a bright orange, plastic handled, non-stick egg tosser that you got at Home Goods. No. This needs to be a serious, old fashioned cast iron skillet. Why? Well first of all, you’re going to be putting it in a really hot oven. Any of those wimpier fry pans are going to melt or lose parts. Second, you want an implement that will retain heat and there is nothing like a chunk of cast iron for that.
Second, you need a decent oven. Not a microwave; not a toaster oven. A real oven. Because you’re going to crank that baby up to 500 degrees and keep it there.
Next, the cut. I don’t know where the ribeye steak comes from – somewhere between the rib and the eye, I suspect. But I really don’t care. For me, it comes from the meat counter at the supermarket. You want one that approaches two inches thick. You’ll probably find something already cut between an inch and an inch and a half. That works too, but on special occasions (which buying a nice ribeye it would have to be – $$$$$$) you can ask the butcher guy to cut you a nice thick one.
Other ingredients: butter, salt.
No – not margarine young lady – butter. And make that kosher salt.
And you’ll want some serious oven mitts.
OK, here we go.
1) Take the steak out of the fridge long enough in advance so that it will be at room temperature when you cook it.
2) Sprinkle the steak on both sides with some kosher salt. Why? I don’t know. Alton says so.
3) Put your seasoned cast iron skillet (that’s not herbs and spices, that’s a proper preparation for cast iron cookware – watch this) in the oven and turn up to 500 degrees F. That’s right, the skillet pre-heats with the oven.
4) Once you are up to heat. Turn on the biggest burner you have to high. If it’s electric, you have to wait for that to get up to heat as well.
5) When everything is hot, pull the wicked hot skillet out of the oven and put it on the wicked hot burner. The idea is to keep everthing wicked hot.
6) Put a big chuck of butter (like 1 inch off a stick) into the skillet. It’s going to melt lickety split and start to brown. As soon as it is melted.
7) Put the steak in the skillet to seer for EXACTLY 30 seconds. This is where things start to get smoky. That’s just the way it’s going to be.
8) Flip the steak over and seer the other side for EXACTLY 30 seconds.
9) At the end of the 2nd 30 seconds, move the skillet and steak to the 500 degree oven. Leave it there for 4 minutes (for a two inch thick steak, 3 minutes for 1.5, etc.)
10) At the 4 minute mark, flip the steak over and do another 4 minutes on the other side.
11) At the end of the 2nd four minutes. Take it all out. Remove the steak to a plate, cover with foil and don’t touch it for 10 minutes. During this time, you must properly clean your skillet, sautée some asparagus, and pour yourself a nice cold glass of whatever you like to drink with steak.
If you want to get extra fancy, you can make in advance some herb butter to go on your steak, but that’s optional. This is the best steak you will ever have.