Americans are a nation of beef lovers: the average adult in the U.S. consumes just over 222 pounds of red meat and poultry per year. But how many among us can claim to perfectly cook a steak?
Like checking your car’s oil or balancing your checkbook, knowing how to sear a steak the right way is something every grown-up should know how to do. And it’s surprisingly easy if you keep a few tips in mind.
Here’s the All She Cooks guide to cooking a steak so that it’s caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside every time.
Let It Reach Room Temperature
You’ll want to make sure your steak is completely thawed and has reached room temperature first. Any cold spots will take longer to cook and the cut of meat won’t cook evenly.
You can run a frozen steak under cool water to start the thawing process but prepare ahead of time by allowing the beef to completely soften and warm up before you cook it.
Dry It Off
Moisture is the enemy if you’re trying to achieve a good sear. Before you begin cooking, pat both sides of your steak completely dry with a few paper towels.
Even if the steak looks dry out of the package, you’d be surprised how much blood may still be lingering on it.
Prep Your Pan
Next you’ll want to choose an appropriate pan and get it ready. Cast iron pans work extremely well for cooking steak, as they help achieve that slightly crispy outside you’re going for. Click here to see the best cast iron skillets for steaks.
Heat the pan for a few minutes over medium-high to high heat. Brush a little oil onto the pan, making sure it’s evenly coated.
Season the Steak
Now it’s time to give your steak a little simple flavoring by sprinkling a bit of salt and pepper on each side. This step shouldn’t be done until you’re ready to start cooking the steak, because letting salt sit on it will draw moisture out of the meat and make it wet again.
Make it Sizzle
Place the steak in the pan; you should hear a nice sizzle. If not, your pan isn’t hot enough yet, so remove the steak immediately and increase the heat.
Allow the steak to cook without moving it. Flip it to the other side when it’s ready and let it cook undisturbed to achieve that crackly sear.
Exactly how many minutes you should cook it on each side depends on the thickness and how done you like your beef. For an estimate, a one-inch thick cut cooked for four minutes on each side will be rare to medium-rare.
Checking it with a meat thermometer will help you gauge how cooked it is.
Give It a Rest, Then Enjoy
Allow the steak to rest on a plate for a few minutes to help it retain its juiciness. Then enjoy sinking your teeth into that perfectly cooked beef!
A little pat of butter or squirt of steak sauce may be all you need to savor the flavor, or you can make your own sauce. Enjoy with a potato side dish and vegetables or a salad.
Now You Know How To Sear a Steak
Now that you know how to sear a steak correctly, is your mouth watering yet?