How to Cook a Good Steak


I don't know. I'm bored. I thought of this in the shower (where I do some of my best thinking.) So I might do a series on cooking tips. First up...

How to Cook a Good Steak
How to Cook a Good Steak

How To Cook A Good Steak:

* The Meat: Well, this could be long. So let me just say I am a filet mignon woman. It's small, and very, very lean and tender. It's by far my favourite cut, mostly due to leanness and tender texture. But it's spendy and not always available, so in that case I'll get whatever else is available. Go for thick cuts. They give you more latitude and won't overcook as easily.

* The Pan: Get out your cast iron pan. If you don't have that, use the heaviest pan you have. Non-stick coatings are not good, they don't sear enough, but if that's all you have... well, on second thought, go to any home store and buy a $20 cast iron. They last forever.

* You Don't Want it Shivering: Leave your steak out on the kitchen counter for a short time to get it to room temperature. It should not be fridge cold. (But never defrost on the counter. That timing can create dangerous bacteria so don't do it. And for that matter, don't freeze your steaks, if you can help it. Fresh is best.)

* The Pat Down: Once package is opened, pretend you're a cop and pat down with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This is necessary to create a good sear, aka char. Char is flavour. You need that.

* Fire Up the Pan: Medium-ish heat. Gas stove is best, but whatever you have. Got a grill? Even better. But I don't, so this is the pan method. Add canola oil. You can use other oils or butter, but butter and olive oil have a very low smoke point (EVO/extra virgin oil being higher than regular olive oil), so they are not appropriate for the temperature required here. You can do it, but watch the temperature then. I am not in favour of other oils, for health and taste reasons, but do as you please. (You can also garnish at the end with a small bit of butter, or you can cook with a 50:50 mix of oil and butter. That is quite decadent, and the butter, although in danger of burning, does help to brown it very nicely.)

* Seasoning: I don't season with anything except salt and pepper. I recommend purchasing coarse sea salt and grinding it yourself in a hand grinder (you know those standing wood ones.) Use one grind per every inch of steak. Cover thoroughly, top and bottom. Pepper to your taste. Do not pre-salt meat and keep it on the counter. As soon as the salt hits it, it will start to draw moisture out, so wait until just before going in the pan. Gravy: Once in a while I'll use a dry powdered package of Knorr Brown Gravy and make that up (just add water, simmer in small pot for a few mintues.) It's the best brand (and passes my German seal of approval) of premade gravy, in my opinion. You won't be able to make much of a gravy out of today's lean single steak, but if you're really desperate for some, you can add some peppercorns and a bit of heavy or half & half cream, and whisk that up. For me, I like it classic, just S&P. The main thing is you must use enough salt. If it tastes weird, tastes off, it likely wasn't enough salt.

* "Fire in the hole!": When do you put the steak in the pan? When it's good and hot. When's that? Run your hand under the kitchen sink briefly, so it has a little water on it, and then shake your hand over the pan. If the pan, now with oil in it (1/2 Tbsp or so) sizzles, it's ready to go. No sizzle? Wait. Smoking pan? Too hot. Adjust temperature down, and wait. Temperature is very important. I would say, it's the most important aspect (after the quality of the meat.) Your method should be hot and fast, not low and slow.

* Cooking: Do not use anything to pierce the meat. Use tongs to place steak in pan. You want even heat, with the oil evenly distributed under meat. Crackling is good. I'm not going to go into detail about the various cook levels (rare, medium-rare, medium, well.) I'm not expert on that and I always cook between medium-rare and medium. That suits most peoples' tastes. Anything more than that, and in my opinion, you're buggering the meat. The more lean the meat, typically, the less time you cook. So I recommend turning after a few minutes (approx 5 min, but depending on thickness), but don't do it based on time. A good visual rule of thumb is to look for when the colour changes from red/pink to something else, going vertically up the side of the meat. As soon as you see this, flip. Flip only once. Like a burger on a grill, leave that baby alone. Do not stab, poke, or prod it. Now when to take out of pan? It's not like chicken or pork, where you need the juices to run clear for it to be safe to eat. Beef has much more latitude. But you'll notice the top begins to look different. You want a nice char on both sides. Note the colour of what runs out. It depends if you like it rare or medium or well (which will be red, pink, and clear, respectively.) And as the Brits say, "When it's brown it's done. When it's black it's buggered up." Don't panic if it looks too brown on the outside. That char is what is keeping the meat inside tender. Once cut, it should be pink in centre (for medium.)

* Resting vs. Cooling: It is advised to let meat rest. This seals in the juices. If you serve and cut immediately, the tasty juices (ok, fat) will run out. This keeps it moist and tender. But, otoh, if you wait too long, your meat turns cold, and cold meat is just no fun. It also quickly firms up, and makes a less soft texture, as it cools. So, take your pick. I choose hot.

* Go Against the Grain: Whether it's you serving it or someone else is cutting it themselves, cut against the bias. Which means not with the natural muscle grain, but against it, perpendicular. This will give you the best texture and 'mouth feel.'

* Serve with... whatever you want. This is already too long, so I'm stopping here. (But suggestions are: onion rings, baked potato, and a roasted veg. I bake each separately in the toaster oven. But that's another story.) Anyway, happy eating.

How to Cook a Good Steak
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  • WhiteSteve
    That all sounds good👍 I add a little (a lot of😝) powdered roasted garlic in additon to the salt and pepper. I used Celtic sea salt for the salt, also, I like the bigger granules and find they give you a better result when you sear it. Have you ever tried finishing it in the oven after the sear? I do everything pretty much the same as you’ve described, except after I sear each side for 1-1 1/2 minutes, I put the whole cast iron pan in the oven between 300-400 degrees, depending on my patience level, haha, and they essentially bake the rest of the way. I usually end up doing 350, but if you want it REALLY tender, 300-325. 400 if you just want to hurry up and eat, haha. Maybe like 6-8 minutes per side depending on the heat and the desired cooling temp. You’ll need your meat thermometer of course, I pull them at about 145 and let them sit a few minutes while I plate the rest of the meal. Bonus points if you roll some steamed asparagus through the buttery pan drippings, and then after you’ve plated the steaks, I pour what’s left over my quinoa or rice I’m serving as the starch. FLAVOR COUNTRY, population: WhiteSteve. If I feel REALLY ambitious, you can make kind of a demi-glaze reduction of Chianti and balsamic vinegar with fresh black pepper and garlic powder. Maybe some crumbled Gorgonzola cheese on top too, you can even throw it under your broiler for like 30 seconds to get it to melt and crust over a little👌 LAWD🤤 I might have to make that tonight now lmao.

    But throw these rules out the window if it’s ‘berta beef🥩 🇨🇦
    Is this still revelant?
    • AmandaYVR

      Steve you really know how to cook! I'll be over at 8:00.
      And thank you for the berta beef vid. I have family in Berta and they would probably smack me if I sent this to them, but I think it's hilarious. (P. S. Half of my family work related to the oil industry.)

  • Sypher420
    I actually started using the “Reverse Sear” method, and I have to say, I’ll never cook a steak another way unless it’s on a grill. Pretty simple, let the steak sit out for a little to let the temperature even out so it cooks evenly. Season it up with a little oil and whatever else you like (personally I like the Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger Seasoning). Preheat oven to 250, get a cookie sheet and place a wire rack on it (the ones used to cool baked goods work well). Slap your steak on there and in the oven as soon as it’s pre heated. Takes about 25-30 min for medium-rare. Right before it’s done, get a cast iron skillet and melt butter along with crushed or minced garlic. When you take the steak out of the oven, turn the heat up high but be careful not to burn the butter. Place the steak in when it’s hot enough, and do about 20 seconds a side basting it with butter as it cooks. This should give you a nice seared outside, and the inside will be perfectly evenly done. You also won’t have that thick grey ring from cooking it mostly in the pan. The steak will melt, it works better this way because the meat needs steady heat at a low temperature to loosen up, if you cook it initially at a really high temp the meat ends up less tender. There is a science behind it lol, and it’s great info if you ever want to look it up to better understand why the reverse sear method works so much better.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • JackSmy
    Really good post!! I do just about all those things, but I use Sunflower, or Cottonseed oil, as their smoke point is above 400°F.
    Patting the steak dry is CRITICAL, to get the nice Maillard caramelization, that is just, WOW!!
    Hot pan, yes, and the oil, then sear both sides like you said.
    I usually add herbs and some seasoning then, turning the heat to medium low, and adding some butter.
    Butter-basting, over low heat, with the herbs, to get all that extra flavor, but not so long that it ruins the caramelized crust!
    Nothing more than just barely mid-rare, or you ruin it! Ribeye cuts are the best, but Porterhouse and T-bones will do! Should be a nice pink in the middle, with the nice crust on the outside!
    Decadently rich, and definitely only for special occasions!! :)
    I work with some professional chefs, and never knew I was eating these cuts totally wrong, and over-cooked, for most of my life!! My parents never knew how to really cook much of anything but Hamburger helper!!
    • JackSmy

      @AmandaYVR But you never elaborated on the sides you prefer, or the Wine!! The wine is CRITICAL!! :)
      I don't like the bitterness of the Cabernets, and rather prefer the Malbecs, with a nice steak, and baked potato, and some rustic artisan bread!

    • AmandaYVR

      Well, I could have, but people often think my writing is too long as is, so I stopped there. But yes, give me some fully loaded baked potato. I can do a good one in the toaster oven as well. With ALL the fixins.
      I generally love pinot noirs and merlots, but before steak I'm happy to have a cabernet sauvignon. I'm not that familiar with malbec. I will drink quite a few reds before red meat, as long as they are not peppery.

    • JackSmy

      @AmandaYVR Malbecs are somewhat softer, and slightly different floral flavors than Cabernets. Merlots are close, but a little more, maybe to the Cabernet side. Sorry, I have a Wine Course from The Great Courses, but haven't gotten to the parts about describing the flavors and comparing them!
      If you like Merlots, you will probably like Malbecs!
      My favorite Merlot is Little Penguin, from Southeast Australia. Inexpensive, and really good!

    • Show All
  • Moonchild714
    Awesome!! Steaks are a delicate treasure so easy to ruin a Beautiful steak by over cooking it. For me the best steak Rare to Medium Rare. I eat Bison Steaks I don't buy Cow Beef just Bison. My Husband and Son now only eat Bison. Very good segment look forward to reading your other Cooking pieces. Refreshingly Delicious piece here...
    • AmandaYVR

      Thanks, Moonchild!
      Out of curiosity, why do you prefer bison? For taste, or some other reasons?

    • Taste and it is the Leanest of the meats. Only 2% Fat. But it is a difficult meat to cook very easy to ruin... And only needs very salt and pepper which you put on in the last minute of cooking otherwise the salt pulls out all of the juice and without the fat not much juice to pull out...

  • Reaperbot666
    if you cook a steak anything over medium. then you should just not even cook a steak. unless your unsure of the quality of the meat in question.

    once there is no more red or pink mean in the middle. you pretty much removes all the natural taste of the steak.

    ideal depending on temp your cooking at and thickness of the meat. roughly 3 to 7 minutes on each side is all you really need. since most (90% or more) bacteria and other harmful stuff will be on the outside of the meat.
    • AmandaYVR

      Really! That is so interesting. Why? (on the outside)

  • Darcia
    Yum 😋! I want steak now! Medium rare please! Haha! I love this “myTake” it is very informative but yet so verrry entertaining. “Nom, nom, nom..” the steak was juicy and oh so delicious!
    • AmandaYVR

      Thanks Darcia 🥩 Here's a steak for you.

  • SarahsSummer
    This is good advice. One variant to that approach would be to sear all sides of the steak on the hot cast Iron skillet for a minute or two then place the pan in a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 10 minutes. longer if you want it more well done. Then rest for the juices to redistribute in the steak for 5-10 minutes
  • MackToday
    Try baking in the oven you don't need to do anything, put on some seasoning and bake it by thickness. I never use a pan, the oven will bake a thick steak clear through without charring it as well.
    • AmandaYVR

      So you find it doesn't need any pre-browning?

      I do like oven cooking meat, but I lived in California for a long time and got out of the habit of firing up the oven. Heats up the house too much. I use a toster oven a lot though. I have a nice Cuisinart one. So in that case you would just put it on a small cookie sheet?

    • AmandaYVR

      Hey p. s. can you report this stupid Bonnie girl. I already reported but can't remove now.

    • MackToday

      Meat browns fine in the oven. I do things like put a few steaks in and cover them with apple slices and add some salt. You can throw some onion powder on too, add basal as well or various things.
      "Bonnie" is probably a bot, the site's been under attack by spam bot for a month or so now. I flag them all. Used to be you could go on a a bot profile and it would have a link to prostitution. Now the profile is clean but they post adds in the q and a board.

  • LoU_Hades
    Your method is similar to mine.
    - Ultra hot cast iron
    - little bit beef tallow
    - very hot and short cooking... brown crust, blue inside
    - salt and butter on the steak
    - resting 10-15 min. in 60-70C hot oven, depending how raw I want the meat inside (my girls don't like it too bloody)
    - black pepper before serving
  • Pyrofox
    I"m old and rustic with my steak cooking, just borrow my friends furnace after he's done blowing glass for the day. Take some steaks season one side with salt and then just spread some olive oil on the steaks and then Singe the outsides of the steak and then let it cook in there with a lid for a good 5 minutes remove. And then cover and let them sit for a bit to finish cooking. Then I start work on the other items. >.> such as baked potatoes and green beans.

    And if you are wondering the furnace gets far hotter than any typical grill which makes the speed cooking pretty easy. XD. Can really get a high heat singe through the steak.
    • Thats cool! We used to sear ours using a blowtorch.

    • AmandaYVR

      I am a big glass lover. One of my favourite artists in general is Dale Chihuly. Been following his work for years. Loved the museum and garden in Seattle. Glass blowers are so cool.
      I would be proud to have a steak 🥩 cooked from there.

    • Pyrofox

      Though one thing about cooking steak like this is its stilll so tender that it it can be pretty wiggly >.<

  • Lliam
    Mmmmm, you made me hungry. Your filet mignon sounds delicious.
    I've had some good ones and some that were disappointing. I think the best I ever had were in San Miguel Alliende, Mexico. It made wonder where they got their meat. Two different restaurants cooked them to perfection. You could cut them with a fork and they were soooo tasty. One of the restaurants was owned by two chefs, one was Mexican and one was French. Their food was Mexican/French fusion. The filet I had there was drizzled with a buttery mole sauce that was French influenced.
    • AmandaYVR

      I know, drooling looking at through all those photos.
      Food is coming, being delivered, but it ain't a steak. (Japanese pork katsu.)
      Looks like someone has to go grocery shopping again. And now the grocery stores won't deliver. Better get off my ass tomorrow.

  • PrescottS
    have been cooking for close to 40 years now. I have also won 1st place in several cooking competitions over the years.

    This process does not make dinner, this makes a taste experience where each bite elicits pure ecstasy.

    I recommend Jacket Potatoes as a side dish. with some type of green veggie; your choice.

    A dash of science, what makes meat tough to chew is collagen. This technique melts the collagen, tenderizes the meat and adds buttery flavor without butter. Do it wrong the the collagen will turn into a rubber like byproduct, that is what you are feeling when a steak is tough to chew.

    #1 Rule - DO NOT PUNCTURE THE MEAT with a fork, knife or any sharp object. The juices will flow out and dry the steak out ruining the experience.

    #2 Rule - Only use actual firewood to cook dry aged steaks. Oak, Pecan, Apple, Cherry or a combination, NEVER Mesquite, Mesquite is just too potent a flavor for fine steaks. The fire needs to hot and reach about 18" inches above the cooking surface. The steak will be bathed in flame using this technique.

    The Cut and the quality of the meat is crucial too I prefer the cuts to be Tenderloin, Prime Rib or NY Strip. If possible I purchase Dry Aged beef and the best cut for this is NY Strip hands down. Well there is one that I would call a tie, A Tomahawk steak. The meat should have even marbling and no translucent tough fat, Just white creamy fat that is evenly distributed. Trim excess fat from edges leaving about 1/8 inch of fat where you trim.

    The Thickness is also crucial 2"-2.5" thick cuts, no less. This method will over cook a 3/4" cut in less than 3 minutes., It can be done but requires more experience.

    As far as a utensil I use a long straight piece of metal with a Curved hook on the end, The brand on the Handle is "The Hooker", descriptive, but a dumb name, Also the best BBQ utensil I have ever used hands down.

    For at least the past 15+ years, anyone that has had steak at my house, claims it is the best steak they have ever had. Consistently I get this response. My technique is an adaptation and tweaked method I learned from the Porterhouse NYC executive chef and adapted their 1600f Broiler method for an Open Flame over real wood method.

    Set the steak out and let it get close to room temp.

    Prepare 2 sheets of aluminum foil prior to cooking. Enough to fully encase all of the steaks immediately after removing from the fire.

    Don't pat the steak with a towel, that can introduce bacteria. Instead place on a wire rack until the surface appears almost dry and is tacky to the touch. This forms an outer layer called the pellicle. This is key to a proper searing.

    Next rub the steaks down with a little salt and only salt. No other seasoning is required. The salt and the pellicle will combine in the heat to form the perfect outer crust and trap the moisture more effectively.

    Once you have the meat ready to cook confirm your fire is roaring hot , 18" above the cooking surface a large enough in diameter to completely encase the meat. If the grill surface is glowing red hot, it is ready.

    For a 2" cut - Have your platter with the two sheets of aluminum foil ready. Quickly place the steaks directly inside the flames. DO NOT TOUCH once they are down. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side. Flip them and allow it to cook for 3 more minutes. Aft a total of 6 minutes of cooking stack your steaks directly one atop another and wrap the aluminum foil as tightly as you can around the steaks. The residual heat will finish the cooking process and melt the collagen. The steaks in the middle will be Medium to Medium Rare and the outer ones Medium rare to rare. To get Blue cook 2.5 minutes on each side. Set a 15 minute timer, Place veggies and potatoes on plates while this is happening. After the 15 minute timer expires place on plates and serve the steaks immediately.

  • Obtuse
    That's very similar to my methods! One difference in my case though is that I think the flip-once mindset is a tad overrated. It might make a small difference but I think far more forgiving is to allow an extra flip or two if the sear is uneven and the timing is not quite perfect on each side. Then for butter, I prefer to add later and spoon it over the steak while it's cooking although I should try the equal amounts of oil and butter approach.
    • AmandaYVR

      Yes, I admit I have done a double flip too (if the juices are still too bloody for my taste.)

    • Obtuse

      For me, it's maybe just a lack of skill thing. I tend to find the cuts here are very expensive so I'm eyeballing discounts but the thickness and size tend to be quite variable. I find it too difficult with my lack of experience to get the desired doneness and even sear both ways without allowing an extra flip or two.

  • DaTruth44
    The perfect steaks are always cook medium-rare to medium. You cook it more than that you might as well throw it away because it is ruined.
  • slicwhenwet
    Wow, hard core. Looks like it would be a great taste. I have to go with the cheapest when on sell. They stay in the fridge until I get home from work. Then I put them a ziplock with some Dale's marinade. No more than 30min or they taste to strongly of the marinade. I do cook in a cast iron pan over a gas stove. Those are the best. Then put them in the medium high heated pan. Only about 2 or 3 minutes each side. Mmmm
    Thank you for sharing
  • Tanuuki
    A good steak will be good with just salt and pepper, but I've found that Kinder's buttery steakhouse seasoning is a fantastic addition.
    So you were in the shower and you thought of a piece of meat? Wait that seems naughty. 😂😂
  • John_Doesnt
    The steak in the pic looks raw.
    Panini Head!
    Panini Head!
    • Exactly. There should be no red or pink at all and that's according to an epidemiologist I spoke to a few years ago.

  • bangyourhead
    I’ll say that if you sous vide a steak this take will go away. furthermore... the next time you cook a steak, buy some marrow bones beforehand. Roast the marrow bones in a hot oven with some garlic, S&P until the marrow is completely melted. Just before serving pour the hot melted marrow on top.
    • AmandaYVR

      I don't like anything about your method. I know about sous vide. Bagged meat has a disgusting texture in my opinion.

    • Lol.

  • ADFSDF1996
    Nice, I’ll try your recipe sometime.

    I like using Larry’s, garlic and pepper. And can’t forget the A1 steak sauce.
  • Pete671
    Thank you, I'm a great home cook, people say, but steaks are a conundrum for me, so will def give this a go!
  • i1T2daty
    Start with good meat and as much heat as you can generate ( I mean that your stove or grill can generate)
  • darkcloud1945
    STEAK TARTER ie chopped raw steak spring onion finely chopped salt and pepper to taste mixed and placed on plate with a well in the middle for a raw egg. PS use only well aged meat for the best flavor!
  • broken_heart_at_48
    Pretty good for me I prefer about a 1inch thick ribeye nice and fatty. I like to cover a plate with Worcester sauce the thick kind and yes there is a thick kind and put my steak on the plate and cover the top of the steak also I do this while I'm letting it get close to room temp then I take a special spice I make and hit both sides and rub it in a little right before I put it on the heat an infared grill is best but how she says in a pan is good I like mine rare to medium rare a good truck is touch the tip of your index finger to the palm of same hand right at the base of your thumb that's rare now touch your middle finger to same spot that medium rare then ring finger same spot that's medium and pinky to same spot and that's well done the firmness of your palm at that spot is same firmness of your steak for the temps needed
  • Mollynotgemma
    I only read the question... but I know this is the correct answer...

    Firstly... I hope you’ve chosen the meat with all the fat etc...

    The steak must be at room temperature!

    Please don’t salt it!

    Hot pan! No oil!

    Place steak on the pan! LEAVE IT!

    Wait 2/3 minutes and turn... LEAVE IT

    Put in pre heated oven for 3/4 minutes.

    Take out of oven and let it rest... watch the juices come out... the red stuff isn’t blood!! Hate people who say they don’t like a bloody steak! You can’t get blood from meat! Blood runs through veins! It’s plasma!

    Once it’s rested...

    Enjoy... hopefully with a bernaise sauce or peppercorn (pink)
  • justinacsn
    First: get meat from Argentina
    Then: there is nothing you could do to mess it up
  • Phoenix98
    I just put mine on the grill and cook till it's medium rare, good enough for me.
  • Curabyron
    Thank you, now i will attempt to cook and hopefully not burn down the house
    • AmandaYVR

      Lolol. Good luck! 🥩🔔

    • Curabyron

      thanks, its a good thing i don't have to worry about house insurance

  • DampCloth
    I don’t know if I’m weird but I just like my steaks heated up and a little brown, the rawness is nice to me.
  • DonCachondo
    I'm sorry, but this topic is simply too controversial for this type of forum! I'm going to have to ask you to take this post down, ma'am.
    • AmandaYVR

      I know. Politics, abortion, religion, feminism, and steak recipes. There, did I miss anything?
      I always used to say, "I never discuss politics, religion, and dishwasher loading" which used to make people scratch their head, until they thought about it some more. But now I talk about it all, so ha.

  • Dikinayou
    Go out in the feild and shoot your 4h project butcher it and cook it over an open flame i did and ir was fhe best ever
  • sdrawkcabosmi
    *Italian chef finger kiss* Perfect.
  • Handysandy69
    Thought you were genuinely asking how to cook steak, turns out its just a one on one cooking class
  • ChefPapiChulo
    surprising. well done.
    • AmandaYVR

      Yay, a passing grade from the chef.

  • scottb80
    Good info.
  • ZeussLightningBolt
    Those look gross!
    I like my steaks well done
    • AmandaYVR

      Animal! Cavemen eat them well done. Might as well buy a crap tough piece of meat then.

    • People just don't know how to properly cook a well done

    • I thought cavemen are them raw

    • Show All
  • Dazed0N0Confused
    So long as it is cooked Mid-Rare
  • irrationally97
    Boil it in Ketchup for 10mins. That's how I do it.
  • MannMitAntworten
    Seared on fire.
  • MeatPuppet
    Rare-done steak best steak.
  • Sofiascorpio95
    Grill medium.
  • malik_yashvardhan
    Nice mytake
  • navyP
    Cook for 1 min on each side plate and serve
  • crazygus77
    Grillbit to a medium
  • Valentino_Rossi
    Dope for me like 2inch thick
  • Razal
    Good Take