how to cook a perfect steak the first time!

Cooking a perfect steak at home may seem daunting, but it’s actually easier than you think. The key to achieving steakhouse-quality results lies in choosing a good cut of meat, such as a tender filet mignon or a flavorful New York strip steak.

Before you start cooking, remember to let the steak sit at room temperature and generously salt it to enhance its tenderness and flavor. Using a meat thermometer will help you determine the perfect level of doneness, whether you prefer a juicy medium rare or a well-done steak.

Different cooking methods, such as pan-searing on the stovetop or grilling, require different techniques, so be sure to follow the appropriate instructions. Once the steak is cooked to perfection, let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before serving.

With these tips and techniques, you’ll be able to create a mouthwatering steak that will rival any restaurant’s.

cooking steak

How Do You Cook a Steak on the Stovetop?

Choosing the Right Pan

When it comes to cooking a steak on the stovetop, it’s crucial to select the right pan. A heavy-bottomed skillet, such as a cast-iron or stainless steel pan, is the ideal choice.

These pans distribute heat evenly, ensuring that your steak cooks uniformly. Avoid using non-stick pans, as they don’t provide the searing and browning you want for a perfect steak crust.

Preparing the Steak

Before you start cooking, it’s essential to prepare your steak properly. Pat your steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help achieve a nice sear and prevent steaming.

Additionally, it’s recommended to bring your steak to room temperature by leaving it out for about 30 minutes. This ensures even cooking throughout the meat.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

Searing the SteakCooking

To cook the perfect steak on the stovetop, you’ll want to sear it to develop a delicious crust. Start by preheating your skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or vegetable oil, to the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom.

Carefully place the steak in the hot skillet and let it cook undisturbed for a few minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Flip the steak and repeat the process on the other side.

Finishing the Steak

After searing both sides of your steak, you can finish cooking it to your desired level of doneness. The stovetop method allows for flexibility in cooking steak to rare, medium-rare, medium, or well-done. To achieve your desired level of doneness, you can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

For rare, aim for 125°F (52°C), medium-rare 135°F (57°C), medium 145°F (63°C), and well-done 160°F (71°C). Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute and enhance the flavor.

cooking steak

Pan-Seared Steak

Prepping the Steak

Before you start the pan-searing process, it’s important to prep your steak properly. Just like with stovetop cooking, it’s recommended to bring your steak to room temperature by leaving it out for about 30 minutes. This ensures even cooking and a more tender result. Additionally, make sure to pat your steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

Searing the Steak

To achieve a delicious pan-seared steak, you’ll want to create a beautiful crust on the outside while maintaining a juicy and tender interior. Start by preheating a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil. Gently place the steak into the hot skillet and let it cook undisturbed for a few minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Flip the steak and repeat the process on the other side.

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Adding Flavor

While pan-searing your steak, you have the opportunity to enhance its flavor profile even further. After searing both sides, consider adding some additional ingredients to the pan. You can add butter, garlic, and fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to the hot skillet. Tilt the pan slightly and use a spoon to continuously baste the steak with the flavorful butter mixture. This step adds richness and depth to the overall taste of your steak.

Resting the Steak

Once your steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness, it’s crucial to let it rest before slicing and serving. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for about 5-10 minutes to maximize its juiciness and tenderness. During this resting period, the internal temperature of the steak will continue to rise slightly, and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. The result is a perfectly cooked, flavorful steak.

how to cook a perfect steak

How to Cook a Perfect Steak

Selecting the Steak

Achieving a perfect steak starts with selecting the right cut of meat. Different cuts have different tenderness, marbling, and flavor profiles, so it’s essential to choose based on your preferences. Popular choices include ribeye, New York strip, filet mignon, and sirloin. Look for steaks with good marbling, as this fat adds flavor and tenderness.

Bringing the Steak to Room Temperature

Before you start cooking, let your steak sit at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes. This allows for more cooking throughout the steak. Cold meat takes longer to cook on the inside, resulting in a more uneven result. Bringing the steak to room temperature ensures a juicier and better-cooked steak.

how to cook a steak
Grilled flank beef steak with rosemary, prepared in airfryer

Seasoning the Steak

To enhance the natural flavors of the steak, generously season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle the seasonings on all sides of the steak, ensuring even coverage.

The salt will help tenderize the meat and enhance its taste, while the pepper adds a subtle heat. You can also include additional spices and herbs, such as garlic powder, paprika, or rosemary, to further customize the seasoning to your liking.

Cooking the Steak

There are several methods for cooking a perfect steak, including grilling, stovetop cooking, and oven cooking. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to cook the steak at the right temperature for the desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

  • For rare, aim for 125°F (52°C)
  • For medium-rare, aim for 135°F (57°C)
  • For medium, aim for 145°F (63°C)
  • For medium-well, aim for 150°F (66°C)
  • For well-done, aim for 160°F (71°C)

Cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the steak and the chosen method, so it’s crucial to monitor the internal temperature for the perfect result.

Resting and Serving

After cooking your steak to your desired level of doneness, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak.

Loosely tender the steak with foil to keep it warm during the resting period. Once rested, slice the steak against the grain and serve it with your favorite sides or sauces.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

cooking steak
Roast beef

How to Cook a Steak on the Stove with Butter

Choosing a Skillet

When cooking a steak on the stove with butter, the choice of skillet is crucial. Opt for a heavy-bottomed skillet like cast iron or stainless steel. These types of pans conduct heat evenly and retain it well, allowing for a beautiful sear on your steak. Avoid non-stick pans as they don’t provide the same searing capabilities.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

Prepping the Steak

Before placing your steak in the skillet, it’s important to prepare it properly. Let the steak come to room temperature by leaving it out for about 30 minutes. This ensures more even cooking throughout the meat. Pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, ensuring a better sear and crust formation.

Searing the Steak with Butter

To achieve a steak bursting with flavor, sear it in a skillet with butter. Preheat your skillet over medium-high heat and add a generous amount of butter. Once the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, carefully add the steak to the pan.

Let it cook undisturbed for a few minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Flip the steak and repeat the process on the other side.

Basting the Steak

To infuse the steak with even more flavor, you can baste it with the melted butter and pan juices during the cooking process. Tilt the skillet slightly, allowing the butter to pool on one side.

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Use a spoon to continuously scoop and pour the butter over the steak. This will help develop a rich, buttery taste and enhance the overall juiciness of the steak.

Resting and Enjoying

Once your steak is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes. Transfer it to a cutting board and loosely cover it with foil. This resting period allows the steak to retain its juices and ensures maximum tenderness. After a short rest, slice the steak, plate it, and savor each bite of buttery, flavorful goodness.

how to cook a perfect steak

Best Pan-Seared Steak

Choosing the Right Cut

When aiming for the best pan-seared steak, choosing the right cut of meat is essential. Different cuts have different levels of tenderness, marbling, and flavor.

For pan-searing, cuts like ribeye, New York strip, and filet mignon work incredibly well. These cuts are rich in flavor and offer a tender texture when cooked to perfection.

Preparing the Steak

To get the best results, it’s crucial to properly prepare your steak. Ensure the steak is at room temperature before cooking by letting it sit out for around 30 minutes. This allows for more cooking throughout the meat. Additionally, ensure the steak is patted dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, promoting a better sear.

Searing the Steak

The hallmark of a pan-seared steak is achieving a beautiful crust on the outside while maintaining a juicy interior. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point.

Place the steak in the hot skillet and let it cook undisturbed for a few minutes until a golden-brown crust develops. Flip the steak and repeat the searing process on the other side.

Enhancing the Flavor

To enhance the flavor of your pan-seared steak, consider adding additional components during the cooking process. You can add aromatic ingredients like garlic cloves, fresh herbs, or even aromatics like sliced onions or mushrooms.

These additions will infuse the steak with extra flavor and create a delicious pan sauce when combined with the pan drippings.

Perfectly Resting the Steak

After reaching the desired level of doneness, it’s crucial to let your steak rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the meat’s temperature to stabilize and the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This will ensure the juiciest and most delicious pan-seared steak.

Best Way to Cook Filet Mignon

Selecting Quality Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is renowned for its tenderness and luxurious texture, making it a favorite cut among steak lovers. To achieve the best results, it’s important to select quality filet mignon.

Look for cuts that are well-marbled, as the fat enhances both flavor and juiciness. Opt for USDA Prime or Choice-grade filet mignon for the best eating experience.

Prepping the Filet Mignon

Properly preparing your filet mignon is crucial for a delicious result. Begin by letting the steak reach room temperature by leaving it out for about 30 minutes. This allows for more cooking.

Pat the filet mignon dry with paper towels to remove any moisture, ensuring a better sear. And because filet mignon is already tender, there’s no need to marinate it.

Searing the Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is traditionally cooked using a high-heat cooking method such as searing or grilling. To sear the filet mignon, preheat a skillet over high heat.

Once the skillet is hot, add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or vegetable oil. Place the filet mignon in the hot skillet and sear it for a few minutes on each side until a caramelized crust forms.

Finishing the Filet Mignon

After achieving a lovely sear on the filet mignon, you can finish cooking it in several ways. One popular method is to transfer the skillet to a preheated oven and continue cooking the steak until it reaches the desired level of doneness.

Alternatively, you can reduce the heat on the stovetop, cover the skillet, and cook the filet mignon to your preferred doneness.

how to cook a perfect steak

Easy Steak Recipes

Marinade Recipe

A simple and delicious way to enhance the flavor of your steak is by using a marinade. You can create a basic marinade using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Combine these ingredients in a bowl, place the steak in a resealable bag, pour the marinade over the meat, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. This will infuse the steak with flavor and make it more tender.

Simple Seasoning Blend

If you prefer to keep things simple, a basic seasoning blend can pack a punch of flavor. Combine salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a bowl. Generously sprinkle this seasoning blend on both sides of the steak before cooking. This simple combination enhances the natural flavors of the meat and adds a savory kick.

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Garlic Butter Sauce

For steak lovers who enjoy a rich and luxurious flavor, a garlic butter sauce is a fantastic option. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant and slightly golden. Pour the garlic butter sauce over the cooked steak, allowing it to melt down and coat the meat. This sauce adds a decadent and flavorful touch to any steak.

Pesto Topping

For a fresh and vibrant twist, a pesto topping is a wonderful choice. Simply combine fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and spoon this pesto mixture over your cooked steak. The herbaceous and nutty flavor of the pesto complements the steak beautifully.

Steak Cooking Times

Rare

For a rare steak, cook it until the internal temperature reaches 125°F (52°C). The center of the steak will be bright red, and the overall texture will be very soft. This level of doneness is ideal for those who enjoy a tender and juicy steak with a cool center.

Medium Rare

To achieve a medium-rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C). The center of the steak will be pink and slightly warm. This level of doneness provides a balance between tenderness and a hint of charred flavor.

Medium

For a medium steak, cook it until the internal temperature reads around 145°F (63°C). The center of the steak will be pink, transitioning into a light gray towards the exterior. This level of doneness offers a tender texture with a more pronounced charred flavor.

Medium Well

To cook a steak to medium-well, look for an internal temperature of 150°F (66°C). The center of the steak will have a slightly pink area surrounded by a grayish-brown section. This level of doneness is ideal for those who prefer a hint of pink in their steak but with less juiciness.

Well Done

For a well-done steak, cook it until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). The center of the steak will be gray with no traces of pink. It will be fully cooked throughout, with a more pronounced charred flavor. This level of doneness is preferred by those who enjoy a fully cooked and often more tender steak.

How Long to Cook Beef

Determining Doneness

Determining the doneness of beef can be done by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bone and fat. The internal temperature will provide an accurate indication of the beef’s doneness.

Additionally, the touch test can be used as a rough guideline: rare will feel soft, medium will bounce back with a slight firmness, and well done will feel very firm.

Cooking Time Guidelines

Cooking times for beef can vary based on factors such as cut thickness, desired level of doneness, and cooking method. As a general guideline, the following cooking times apply to beef cooked at 350°F (175°C):

  • For rare: approximately 10–12 minutes per pound (450 grams)
  • For medium-rare: approximately 12–14 minutes per pound (450 grams)
  • For medium: approximately 14–16 minutes per pound (450 grams)
  • For medium-well: approximately 16–18 minutes per pound (450 grams)
  • Well done: approximately 18–20 minutes per pound (450 grams)

These times are approximate and can vary depending on the specific cut and thickness of the beef. Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate method to ensure your beef is cooked to the desired level.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

Best Way to Cook New York Strip Steak

Choosing Quality New York Strip Steak

When preparing a New York Strip steak, selecting a high-quality cut is essential. Look for steaks that have a generous amount of marbling throughout for maximum tenderness and flavor. Opt for USDA Prime or Choice grade New York Strip steaks, as these cuts are known for their great taste and texture.

Prepping the Steak

Before you start cooking, allow your New York Strip steak to come to room temperature by leaving it out for approximately 30 minutes. This ensures more even cooking throughout the steak. Pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, helping achieve a better sear.

Grilling Method

Grilling is an excellent way to cook New York Strip steaks. Preheat your grill to high heat (about 450–500°F or 230–260°C). Oil the grates to prevent sticking. Place the steak on the grill and sear it for a few minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the desired level of doneness is reached, flipping the steak occasionally. Consult the steak cooking times mentioned earlier in the article to determine the appropriate cooking time.

Stovetop Method

To cook a New York Strip steak on the stovetop, you can employ a similar sear-and-cook method. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point. Place the steak in the skillet and sear it for a few minutes on each side until a caramelized crust forms. Then, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the desired level of doneness is achieved.

Cooking tips from Famous Chefs

Oven Method

Another option for cooking a New York Strip steak is to use the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Heat an oven-safe skillet over high heat and add a small amount of oil. Sear the steak on both sides until a golden crust forms. Place the skillet with the steak in the preheated oven and continue cooking until the desired level of doneness is reached.

Regardless of the cooking method chosen, it’s important to let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This resting period allows the steak to retain its juices and ensures maximum tenderness and flavor.

Happy Cooking!

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