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Steaks Question

camp1980 Jun 12, 2007 01:09 PM

So I live in an apartment and don't have a bbq. I love a good steak, but haven't found that it is really worth the money for good steaks when I can't cook them on the bbq. Any suggestions on a cut of steak and a good way to prepare it for those of us without the bbq?

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  1. w
    wawajb RE: camp1980 Jun 12, 2007 01:31 PM

    I'd go with a good sear on a cast iron griddle or skillet and finished under the broiler any day. I'm much better at pinpointing my perfect doneness (just on the rare side of medium rare) using this method than I am with grilling. Get the cast iron screaming hot, get a good sear on both sides and then pop it in the preheated oven to finish to your desired level. Can't comment on a 'good' cut without knowing if you're more into a meaty flavor or 'cut it with a fork' tenderness.

    Oh....and open the window and/or turn on the ventilation fan. It will be smokey.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wawajb
      scubadoo97 RE: wawajb Jun 12, 2007 04:55 PM

      I'm with you on this one. I live in Florida where we can grill out any day but really like starting a steak on the stovetop and finishing in the oven. Cast iron is the way to go for sure. The main reason for me to grill is I don't have the kitchen mess to deal with which goes along with a spattering steak

    2. k
      katecm RE: camp1980 Jun 12, 2007 01:39 PM

      I have a similar method. I use a grill pan on med-high heat. I like the grill pan because the ridges allow me to use a fattier steak, since the fat drains off and to the side, similar to a grill. Then, once seared on both sides, I finish it in a high oven.

      A very important point is that you need to season it well. Even if you just want to do salt and pepper, a hefty helping of pepper is really going to give you more flavor. Similarly, if you sprinkle on a bit of sugar, it will caramelize, giving you a more grilled-like exterior.

      1 Reply
      1. re: katecm
        janeer RE: katecm Jun 12, 2007 02:24 PM

        This is a solid "restaurant" approach to doing a steak on the stove. I use it for very thick steaks, but for steaks in the inch or so range I cook them completely on the stovetop.

      2. c
        chucktowneater RE: camp1980 Jun 12, 2007 02:35 PM

        I usually prefer a sauteed steak to a grilled one. Last night I bought one large sirloin steak from the butcher that had a good bit of marbling for a sirloin (look for the little white slivers of fat), coated generously with kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, and put the skillet on high for several minutes while the steaks got to room temperature. Then I added a pad of butter, which sizzled immediately, and then added the steak. I cooked about 3 minutes on each side for rare, and it was absolutely delicious. Not to mention it cost me about $10 for the steak.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chucktowneater
          MeffaBabe RE: chucktowneater Jun 13, 2007 12:39 PM

          I love my steaks done in the frying pan with lots of butter... it makes crunchy bits in the pan and you have a great butter sauce to serve oven them and your mashed potatoes as an added bonus...

        2. Karl S RE: camp1980 Jun 12, 2007 03:06 PM

          Actually, the best steaks are not grilled anyway, but pan-broiled in heavy pans over high heat, then finished in a slow/moderate oven.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Karl S
            MMRuth RE: Karl S Jun 13, 2007 12:41 PM

            I definitely pan broil - no grill in Manhattan - but I've never tried finishing in the oven. We like our steaks rare - any guidelines to cooking times/temperatures?

            1. re: MMRuth
              Karl S RE: MMRuth Jun 13, 2007 12:48 PM

              Well, for rare, you may not need to finish in the oven if the steak is not too thick and you have de-chilled the steak beforehand. But for classic thick-cut steaks, the stove-oven technique is more reliable.

              Lobel's describes the technique under "Pan Roasting" in this link:


              Now, I would take the steaks out of the fridge 1+ hours before hand; except in a hot kitchen (which is where most restaurant recipes are tested, btw), I find 30 minutes is rarely enough time to de-chill a steak. And I have used a moderate oven and gone longer than the method Lobel's commends for this technique; I don't however have any guidelines other than instinct.

            2. re: Karl S
              renov8r RE: Karl S Jun 14, 2007 06:20 AM

              Maybe at home, without good equipment, but I've seen very few steak places with "heavy pans" and no broilers...

              1. re: renov8r
                Karl S RE: renov8r Jun 14, 2007 07:49 AM

                Well, of course, in a restaurant with a high BTU burner and a salamander, using restaurant-grade alumnimum pans will work fine. But at home, you need to use something that can build up the intensity of the heat to compensate.

            3. c
              camp1980 RE: camp1980 Jun 13, 2007 01:34 PM

              Wow, thanks for the help. Now I just need to figure out where to get a good cast iron pan.

              2 Replies
              1. re: camp1980
                MMRuth RE: camp1980 Jun 13, 2007 01:36 PM

                If you check out the cookware board there are a lot of posts about cast iron, but not divert too much - all you need is a Lodge pan, under $20, cure it, and you are set. Lots on CW about curing it properly.

                1. re: camp1980
                  diva360 RE: camp1980 Jun 13, 2007 05:32 PM

                  You can order a Lodge cast iron skillet for not much money from a restaurant kitchen supply store. Try http://www.acemart.com

                2. Davwud RE: camp1980 Jun 13, 2007 01:43 PM

                  Yep, rocket hot cast iron skillet. Well lubed. Season your steak as you like.

                  Make sure your steak is at room temp.

                  Top sirloin is my cut of choice.


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud
                    ESNY RE: Davwud Jun 13, 2007 02:43 PM

                    and dont put oil in the hot pan if it'll burn. If you like/need to oil, put the oil directly on the steaks. A well seasoned cast iron skillet wont need the oil but you may want it on the steak to promote the good sear.

                    1. re: ESNY
                      Karl S RE: ESNY Jun 13, 2007 02:57 PM

                      Very key advice...the OP should follow it. It is an important distinction.

                      1. re: Karl S
                        Davwud RE: Karl S Jun 13, 2007 03:09 PM

                        I use extra v to lube up my steaks. Some people above mention butter.


                        1. re: Davwud
                          Karl S RE: Davwud Jun 13, 2007 05:26 PM

                          I would recommend using a silicone brush to brush thinly with oil (it needn't be EVOO, which may be wasted for this purpose) and then finish with butter once removed from the heat. The dairyness of butter is lost when used to cook, rather than finish, steaks prepared this way.

                          And most people don't realize how frequently steaks in restaurants are finished with butter...

                          1. re: Karl S
                            Davwud RE: Karl S Jun 14, 2007 04:17 AM

                            I just pour some oil on and spread it around with my fingers. Then I season it with my own steak seasoning.
                            It seems to work well for me. The steaks we had for dinner on Saturday were unbelievable. They were grilled though.


                  2. OCEllen RE: camp1980 Jun 13, 2007 05:41 PM

                    Le Creuset makes a great grill pan! Enameled cast iron with some sort of glass material lining it so it doesn't require 'seasoning' as does plain cast iron. Heats evenly and all you have to do is just lightly oil just before putting the steak (or burger) in the hot pan - the ridges leave grill marks!

                    1. macca RE: camp1980 Jun 14, 2007 06:25 AM

                      Here is a post I bookmarked- it really will result in perfect steak- and your steak will look just like the picture. The post is from chowhound A Fish Called Wanda.


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