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HOW TO COOK A GOOD STEAK WHEN THE GRILL ISN’T AN OPTION

Had a great nicely marbled Rib eye. Pre Heated my cast iron pan on the stove top. Preheated the broiler to 500 degrees (It’s an electric oven, I’m partial to gas, maybe this is part of the problem?) Slapped it into the pan, heard a nice sizzle and immediately put it under the broiler, about 4 minutes each side to nice medium rare. The steak was tender and juicy, no special seasoning, just salt and pepper but I just wasn’t thrilled. It had some char/crust but not as good as a good steakhouse would serve nor as good as it would be on my Weber charcoal grill. Where did I go wrong? How do you cook a good steak at home when the grill isn’t an option?

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  1. Butter or olive oil. My basic steak seasoning is Montreal, cut 50/50 with dried garlic.

    6 Replies
    1. re: LordOfTheGrill

      Mark Bittman did a feature on "The Least-Used Kitchen Gadget", the broiler, about a month ago. His technique was to preheat both the skillet and the broiler (and set very closely together) for about fifteen minutes, then to drop in the pre-seasoned steak and put the pan back in for however long your favored degree of doneness takes.

      I have not tried this with a steak (he also demonstrated this with jumbo scallops, which I did do). If I'm not grilling, I always used to do the dry hot skillet with a scattering of salt routine, but now I have a ribbed grill pan, which does a much better job.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper under the broiler, finished with butter.

        1. re: Will Owen

          I've never used a ribbed grill pan, or even contemplated doing so, because I consider pan sauce a necessary way to finish off steaks and chops.

        2. re: LordOfTheGrill

          ITA. Butter. A goodly amount. Gives it a lovely crust.

          _______________________
          http://www.savour-fare.com

        3. IMO the tastiest and most reliable method is SEAR AND BLAST.

          Preheat oven to 450.

          Season your steak liberally with salt and pepper.

          Heat a cast iron or stainless skillet to very hot.

          Place steak in skillet and sear on one side (2 min), flip, immed. place in hot oven and finish till degree of doneness is achieved. Depending on thickness, maybe 6 min of medium. Maybe a bit longer. Press your finger into middle of steak to tell.

          6 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster

            Completely agree...weel seasoned to your liking, sear in a hot--hot pan and finish in the oven at 450 to desired doneness

            1. re: nyfoodjoe

              I just took a cooking class in steaks, and this was the exact method they taught. I was really surprised, because I never heard of "baking" a steak to finish it. Keep in mind that cut of beef, amount of fat, and thickness are huge variables as to how it will come out.

              1. re: nyfoodjoe

                Im going to have to disagree with seasoning it til the very end when its ready, otherwise you are going to dry it out during cooking and loose the benefit of the searing in the first place.

                1. re: bjg896

                  Preseasoning does not dry out the meat - that's as erroneous a notion as the old sear-to-seal belief. A piece of meat seasoned well in advance of cooking and allowed to sit at room temperature for an hour or more will be as good as that piece of meat can possibly be. This definitely includes hamburgers, by the way.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    My favorite seasoning, especially for on-sale meat that needs a little help, is to give it a dousing of soy sauce, Asian hot sauce, and garlic powder.

              2. re: C. Hamster

                I had to sign in so I could thank you. For about 5 years, I have used and thought of this simple recipe every time I cook one. Since they changed the layout, you aren't as easy to find.

                So simple, so delicious. Hooray. Cheers.

                I just thought I would bring it to your attention that the internet loves you, and still uses your advice 6 years later. =)

                 
              3. Season with salt and a good dose of pepper. I use basically the same method that you did, except that I thoroughly brown the steak on both sides in the cast iron pan (on high heat), then I put it in the oven (on the highest setting) for a few more minutes until its reached the desired doneness (we like medium to medium-rare).

                I think that the key to this method, is to keep the seasonings simple (most things will just burn at these high temperatures thus giving the steak a bitter flavor), and making sure to get the pan screaming hot before introducing the steak to it. Once the pan is smoking hot, the steak goes in and I turn the heat down to medium. Let the steak be for a good several minutes to get a nice crust, then flip and do the same to the other side. Once side #2 is well browned, I put the whole thing into the oven (sometimes I add some thinly sliced red onions to the pan to cook along with the steak, the are delish!) for 5-10 more minutes.

                Two other things to remember are: 1. Make sure to let the steaks come to room temperature before attempting to cook them, and 2. Make sure to let the steaks rest, covered, for a good 10 minutes or so after they come out of the oven. The will continue cooking during this time, so its important to take them out of the oven just before they are done to compensate for this.

                Hope this helps!

                6 Replies
                1. re: chemchef

                  Chemchef has it. The trick in this method is to quickly sear both sides of the steak. Helping to hold in the juiciness. A rest after cooking as suggested later in this thread will help the meat too.
                  This searing should set off the smoke alarm!!!

                  1. re: coastie

                    Searing meat does not seal in its juices.

                    It's fine if you flip it before putting it in the oven, but that side is going to sear on its own without flipping, being in that hot pan and all. Flipping is unnecessary.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      hi, can you provide more information about your statement that searing meat does NOT seal in its juices? that is something i have always believed to be true.

                      thanks!

                      1. re: DMB

                        Kenji at SeriousEats did a nice little summary disproving this.
                        See http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/10/th... - myth 5.
                        And http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/th... - The Myth of the Sear.

                        Searing is great for the Maillard reaction, but it does not seal in juices.

                  2. re: chemchef

                    I do essentially what chemchef does, but I rub with hot hungarian paprika while coming to room temp. And I do 3 minutes/side.

                    And serve with chimichurri, but that's another thread.

                    1. re: chemchef

                      Had a nice little Trader Joe's "Western Style" beef sirloin, and chemchef's method (above) was: Yep, a) reliable; b) flavorful, nicely seasoned; and c) easy as hell.

                      I did sear both sides and chose a good cut that was conducive to cooking one steak to suit both my - and my husband's - differing preferences in terms of done-ness. The thinner end was perfectly medium/medium-well for him, and the thicker end just medium rare for me. We used a stainless non-stick All-Clad pan. Curious to try it next time seasoning afterwards, per bjg896's advice. Thanks to all! Great advice for outdoor grill-less New Yorkers.

                    2. I think the thing I miss the most when I cook steak indoors (sear in hot pan, put in oven to finish) is the smoky smell and flavor you get from the grill. That, and I don't find you get the same burned/crisp edges when you do it in a pan. I'll get a nice sear outside, and nice and red inside, but it just isn't exactly the same and I haven't found a way to replicate that inside yet.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: QueenB

                        cast iron grill skillet?

                        maybe burn some mesquite, catch the smoke under a wine glass, and "release" it when you eat ;)

                        actually you could just burn some wood, get the smell on your hands, and then eat.

                        1. re: QueenB

                          That exactly why I started this thread. Thanks for all the tips, I think they will get me closer to a good steak but at the end of the day, nothing like grilling a steak outside.

                          1. re: QueenB

                            I use liquid smoke... Usually find it with the marinades and such! It works well for that smoky flavor and taste!

                          2. As a general rule I do not like pan fried steaks; however, in Marcella Hazan's book, "Classic Italian Cookbook", there is a fabulous recipe for a pan-fried steak (I usually use boneless rib eye), I forget what the recipe name is but it's made with tomato paste, garlic, fennel seeds and it is delicious, it may be called something like steak in hot pepper sauce?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: paulgardner

                              That recipe looks really promising! Can you tell me what the "tiny, dried, whole red peppers" are that she calls for? She says they are available in "most Italian, Greek, or Latin American groceries." Do you know what the name of the pepper is?

                              1. re: k_d

                                I usually see Chile Arbol, but I would describle them as small chiles, not tiny, so I'm not so sure. Scroll down this page for a pic.
                                http://www.foodsubs.com/Chiledry.html

                                1. re: k_d

                                  I usually just use crushed red pepper flakes and it has come out great.