HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 01:07 PM

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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. LordOfTheGrill RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 01:11 PM

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: LordOfTheGrill
      Will Owen RE: LordOfTheGrill Mar 27, 2007 05:39 PM

      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
        sisterfunkhaus RE: Will Owen Feb 2, 2014 02:25 PM

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

        1. re: Will Owen
          Sharuf RE: Will Owen Feb 5, 2014 09:19 AM

          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
          Amuse Bouches RE: LordOfTheGrill Jun 22, 2009 04:06 PM

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


          1. re: Amuse Bouches
            EarlyBird RE: Amuse Bouches Feb 5, 2014 09:21 AM

            What is "ITA"?

            1. re: EarlyBird
              boyzoma RE: EarlyBird Apr 30, 2014 01:43 PM

              "I Totally Agree" :-)

        3. C. Hamster RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 01:15 PM

          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.

          5 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster
            nyfoodjoe RE: C. Hamster Mar 27, 2007 03:33 PM

            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
              xnyorkr RE: nyfoodjoe Mar 28, 2007 10:36 AM

              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
                bjg896 RE: nyfoodjoe Dec 11, 2008 08:56 AM

                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
                  Will Owen RE: bjg896 Jun 22, 2009 11:56 AM

                  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.

              2. re: C. Hamster
                unclefishbits RE: C. Hamster Mar 24, 2013 08:07 PM

                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. c
                chemchef RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 01:23 PM

                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
                  coastie RE: chemchef Mar 27, 2007 04:10 PM

                  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
                    C. Hamster RE: coastie Mar 28, 2007 10:42 AM

                    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
                      DMB RE: C. Hamster Dec 29, 2010 01:59 PM

                      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.


                      1. re: DMB
                        haiku. RE: DMB Feb 1, 2011 10:45 PM

                        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
                    cheesemonger RE: chemchef Mar 27, 2007 07:33 PM

                    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
                      bbc37 RE: chemchef Jun 21, 2009 07:35 PM

                      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. QueenB RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 01:44 PM

                      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
                        luniz RE: QueenB Mar 27, 2007 03:18 PM

                        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
                          angelo04 RE: QueenB Mar 29, 2007 10:19 AM

                          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
                            casandranaerebout RE: QueenB Feb 2, 2014 08:58 AM

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

                          2. p
                            paulgardner RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 03:22 PM

                            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
                              k_d RE: paulgardner Mar 27, 2007 05:36 PM

                              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
                                coconutz RE: k_d Mar 27, 2007 11:03 PM

                                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.

                                1. re: k_d
                                  paulgardner RE: k_d Mar 28, 2007 06:48 AM

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

                                  1. re: k_d
                                    coconutz RE: k_d Mar 28, 2007 01:57 PM

                                    Now I'm thinking the tiny ones might be chile pequin

                                2. w
                                  weezycom RE: angelo04 Mar 27, 2007 03:53 PM

                                  I start off like everyone else with the hot-hot pan and seasoned steak, but instead of flapping it down into the pan, I use tongs and, holding the steak perpendicular to the pan surface, I sear all the edges of the steak first before putting it flat side down for the remainder of the cooking. There's usually a little rim of fat that really needs this extra bit of attention, and after searing and finishing off in the oven, the edge really does have a nice crispness to it that I just can't get otherwise.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: weezycom
                                    newbatgirl RE: weezycom Mar 27, 2007 07:48 PM

                                    The ablity to cook good steaks like this in the wintertime is reason enough to buy and care for a cast iron skillet. In a disaster, I would grab my daughter, my wedding album, and my cast iron skillet that once belonged to my grandma. Everything else can be replaced.

                                    1. re: weezycom
                                      chef chicklet RE: weezycom Mar 27, 2007 07:50 PM

                                      I use my cast iron grill for steaks at times, has to be very hot, and rubbed with a little oil.
                                      A good rib eye always does well with this method if we can't use the bbq, its a heavy, heavy thing but it does work well! And the other side " the flat" side does great with pancakes! I love dual purpose cooking tools.

                                      1. re: weezycom
                                        angelo04 RE: weezycom Mar 29, 2007 10:21 AM

                                        weezycom - That's another great point, I hate that the edges don't get browned and seared. I will add this tip to my repertoire.

                                      2. Andiereid RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 04:59 AM

                                        Cast iron skillets do a great job on steaks, but you have to get it really hot to get that great sear. So heat the pan well, take down that smoke detector for a few minutes, and toss the steak on. If it doesn't make a lot of noise and a good bit of smoke and some mess, it's probably not hot enough. (Don't forget to put the smoke detector back up.)

                                        1. macca RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 07:36 AM


                                          Take a look at this link. I did not believe this would work, but I tried it, and my steak came out PERFECTLY medium rare throughout.

                                          1. a
                                            amoncada RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 09:21 AM

                                            Season the steak with 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (even less for a small steak. Do not add too much) on each side, fresh ground black pepper, a sprinkle of granulated garlic, and Kosher salt to taste. Give it a good rub and let stand for 2-3 hours. Preheat cast iron skillet and oven to 450. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side to desired doneness. Throw some whole green onions in the skillet and cook until lightly charred.
                                            As far as the olive oil goes, I think that it's overpowering for beef and especially steak.

                                            1. OCAnn RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 10:42 AM

                                              I always broil my ribeyes to medium rare; better than premium steakhouse steaks!

                                              1. s
                                                swsidejim RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 11:04 AM

                                                In my opinion you are starting out with 2 strikes, (1) no grill, & (2) an electric oven/broiler...

                                                If I was you I would use a cast iron pan with the ribbed bottom. I would get the pan nice and hot over the burner/element, and then put the room temperature steak in the pan. Turn the heat down a little since the cast iron skillet will hold the heat well, and cook for 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness, and what temp you want the steak cooked to.. Do a quarter turn on each side at 2 mins to get nice grill marks for a nice looking steak. This is the method I use for N.Y. Strip steaks, Filets, and Ribeyes. If the steak has a bone like a T-Bone or Porterhouse I might finish it in the convection oven for a few mins @ 425-degrees . Remember to let the steak sit for 5 mins before cutting/eating to let the juices evenly redistibute.

                                                As for seasoning, I only buy prime steaks, and am not going to mess with their great flavor by drowning them in seasoning. I put a pinch of kosher salt, a little ground black pepper, and a little garlic powder on each side before cooking.

                                                1. DanaB RE: angelo04 Mar 28, 2007 02:05 PM

                                                  I use Mark Bittman's pan-sear recipe, which involves cooking the steak on the stove in a well-heated cast iron pan. You cook it with salt and nothing else. Here's a link to a post I made last year after discovering the method, titled "Better than any top steakhouse steak," which describes in more detail Mark Bittman's recipe/method:


                                                  Mark Bittman's method is THAT good!

                                                  1. b
                                                    btnfood RE: angelo04 Jun 21, 2009 10:23 PM

                                                    There are a lot of excellent suggestions here. I follow this method of Rose Levy Beranbaum's, which is quite similar to the methods discussed here. I find the extra step of ridding the skillet of excess grease to be very important, though. And for an extra-thick steak, I've had good results raising it on a rack in the skillet for the final roasting.


                                                    1. s
                                                      silverhawk RE: angelo04 Jun 22, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                      i use the two-stage cooking strategy discussed here on the grill as well as indoors. with the lid open, high heat on both sides for a couple of minutes plus one minute on the edge fat the cut requires it. i then remove the steak, close down the dampers to get a 400 fire and then finish the steak with the lid down, turning it once. i routinely choose--or request--thick steaks so the two-stage approach is nearly a must. i don't cook ribeyes with the all out ferocious heat i apply to a strip--plenty hot, but indoors or out i am a bit more gentle with a nicely marbled ribeye--just to make sure i get the fat melted in a warm rare steak.

                                                      1. w
                                                        wokwok RE: angelo04 Feb 1, 2011 09:59 PM

                                                        THIS IS THE BEST THREAD EVER! I just made really, really delicious steaks for the first time using the sear and broil method :). I used a freshly ground black/white peppercorn and salt mixture, rubbed it on room temp steaks and then put copious amounts of butter on them when they went in the oven. SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS. The boyfriend was extremely happy

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: wokwok
                                                          suzyrose1 RE: wokwok Feb 3, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                          Hamburgers work well this way too!

                                                          1. re: wokwok
                                                            Johnny West RE: wokwok Feb 3, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                            I'll do that with two t-bones tonight.

                                                            It's what I believe Craftsteak did with
                                                            the steaks we had in Vegas.

                                                          2. a
                                                            AaronBPryor RE: angelo04 Oct 9, 2011 05:32 PM

                                                            The most important detail, I think, if you're going to sear a hunk of meat: Get the meat out of the fridge an hour before it hits the pan. You want it at room temperature, not at 40 degrees. Now. Here's another detail to pay attention to when searing, one I purloined from the venerable Alton Brown: Sear the most handsome side of that meat first. No matter how hard you try, you are not going to get as good a sear on side B because the pan's temperature drops when you flip. So you want to put the prettiest sear on the prettiest side, so the prettiest side goes down first.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: AaronBPryor
                                                              MarkKS RE: AaronBPryor Dec 18, 2011 12:48 AM

                                                              You can always pre-heat two pans, transfer for the flip, but you won't get the same results as over an open fire. Mark Bitmann can talk all he wants, but a NY kitchen is too limiting,

                                                            2. g
                                                              G8trDoc RE: angelo04 Feb 2, 2014 09:11 AM

                                                              I tried this recipe a few weeks ago - was the best home cooked steak, ever!


                                                              1. t
                                                                tonyv RE: angelo04 Feb 2, 2014 09:20 AM

                                                                I use what I call my five minute system. Pre heat cast iron pan for five minutes five minutes on each side, five minutes in the oven @ 350 and five minutes rest.I use Lawry's Season salt and have the store cut the steak 1 3/4 thick. The standard cuts are to thin and the steak does not have enough time to get a good char without over cooking.

                                                                1. Hank Hanover RE: angelo04 Feb 3, 2014 06:27 PM

                                                                  To tell you the truth, I sear my steaks off so there is some nice browning on each side and pop them into the oven at 350 ° Fahrenheit. Let em bake until they are where i want them. Pull them out and wrap them in foil and let them rest for 10 - 15 minutes. Serve.

                                                                  Prep work involves letting them set on the counter at room temperature for 45 - 60 minutes. While they are setting out, I sprinkle them with kosher salt. When they are ready, I pat them dry, sprinkle with pepper maybe some granulated garlic and smear some oil on each side with a brush. I think the oil helps them brown.

                                                                  I'm usually happy with that but then I don't like the taste that the restaurant char broiler imparts. I do love them on the Weber kettle though. Gives it just a tiny bit of smoke taste.

                                                                  i try to take comfort in the knowledge that Ruth's Chris steak will be $50 or more for just the steak and I pay $10 for an Angus ribeye on sale. Even if I wanted to go Kobe beef, I could buy it for $30.

                                                                  1. EarlyBird RE: angelo04 Feb 5, 2014 09:33 AM

                                                                    Like you and others on this thread, I first preheat my cast iron pan to screaming hot temperature in the oven (500F), then sear the meat on the stove top and return it to the oven to finish.

                                                                    Take a look at this terrific website, dedicated to BBQ and grilling:


                                                                    He talks about using a "reverse sear" method, whereby you first cook the interior relatively slowly, at a temperature between 225 - 275 degrees, dab the surface of the meat to remove any moisture, then sear the steak at the end on high heat. He's talking about using the grill, but the same concept applies for pan cooking.

                                                                    Cooking the interior of the meat relatively slowly first, while finishing with the searing, allows you to get a consistent doneness you want throughout the steak (rather than the grey band of meat over pink) AND the super crunchy exterior.

                                                                    1. JTPhilly RE: angelo04 Feb 5, 2014 09:40 AM

                                                                      Salt + Pepper + Hot CI Skillet (lightly oiled)
                                                                      Sear both sides
                                                                      pat of butter on top
                                                                      Finish in hot oven

                                                                      1. r
                                                                        romulus6cbc RE: angelo04 Apr 30, 2014 01:32 PM

                                                                        The one thing I noticed that no one mentioned here is that the steak surface has to be moisture free before searing. The flavor you get and crave for in a steak comes from browning or more precisely the Maillard reaction. Maillard reactions generally only begin to occur above 285°F (140°C). Until the Maillard reaction occurs meat will have less flavor. If the meat surface is full of excess moisture, the searing temperature will not reach above 212°F (100°C, boiling point of water) thereby steaming the steak instead of browning it. You can speed up the Maillard reaction by blotting the steak surface with a paper towel removing any excess moisture just before searing. You can also rub the surface with brown sugar which will help with the caramelization (not my preferred method). Other than liberal amounts of salt on both sides (and brown sugar if using), I would not rub the steak with any other spice, as most spices (including black pepper) tend to burn under high temperatures. I'm currently trying out a new method. I sear the steak at medium-high in a frying pan, 3 to 4 minutes per side, then separate the meat from the bone and slice the meat perpendicular to the bone in 1" strips. I then replace the sliced steak around the bone (it should look like a whole steak), baste the top with clarified butter, and broil it until desired doneness (time will depend on the cut and thickness of steak, could be as short as two minutes for medium-rare). The beauty with this method is, the butter keeps the steak slices moist (not to mention the added flavor), and you're easily able to control the doneness of the steak by checking it every few minutes. The broiling will also give that extra layer of browning. Serve the steak with buttery pan juices spooned over, and sprinkle with black pepper. So far it works better on a porterhouse cut than a rib-eye. It's similar to the method Peter Luger in NY uses. Hope this helps, and would appreciate any suggestions on improving this method.

                                                                        Show Hidden Posts