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Jan 10, 2008 03:32 PM

Best Well-Done Steak Method?

I'm a bloody steak kind of girl, but I'm having a friend over for steak next week who likes his well done. I was considering cooking the steak to medium and hoping he'd be all right with it, but he pretty much doesn't like much more than a faint hint of pink...

I usually do the Alton Brown Cast Iron sear and quick pop the ribeye in the oven method found here:

But I have no idea how to prepare a well-done steak so that it tastes like anything but dry, thick leather... Is that really what my friend likes? Are there cuts or methods I should be doing instead to produce a fantastic well-done steak? It just sounds like an oxymoron to me...



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  1. At the risk of being shunned from the Chowhound society, I will admit to liking my steak well-done. My husband likes his steak medium, so when I use the cast iron sear/oven method, I take his steak out when it's ready, and while it's resting, I just leave mine in there to cook for a bit longer.

    As for it being dry and leathery, well, yeah, that's pretty much what it is like, but to me, that's perfectly fine!

    2 Replies
    1. re: valerie

      I am a cremated steak kinda gal - and not apologising for it.

      Anyway if your friend likes it well done then please do not do it medium (why would you even think of that).

      I can assure you that a well done steak which is cooked about 10 mins each side and does not go back on the grill or in the pan to be redone because it was too pink the first 4 times is never dry or leathery.

      A ribeye is good for well done.

      1. re: smartie

        How does cooking a steak longer, thus drawing out less moisture, not make a well done steak more dry than say a medium steak. I don't get the logic. Flavor might be to your liking, but I think the texture thing is more out of opinion than reality.

    2. Harold McGee ran some tests on searing meat and ways of minimizing weight loss (that is, extruded juices). I believe he found the best approach was to bring the meat up to the target temperature with as gentle heat as possible. So you could sear the meat stove top (or hot oven), and then finish cooking in a low oven. The trick is to judge the time. He describes this in The Curious Cook.

      Keep in mind that slow cooked BBQ is capable of producing juicy meat that is clearly 'well done' - that is, with an internal temperature around 180F. This is done in a 200F oven. The newfangled method of sealing the meat in plastic, and poaching it in a carefully controlled water bath would also work.


      2 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        for info. the reason that you get tender meat with low heat cooking like BBQ is that the meats cooked with this method have a very high fat content with lots of connective tissue that will break down and render when cooked at low temps for a long time. Steak does not have these connective tissues so they will only get tough with longer cooking times

        1. re: paulj

          redundant in an ancient thread.

        2. I think your trick will be to buy well-marbled rib or ribeye steaks - at least 1-inch thick. These will have enough internal fat to keep the meat tender even if it's been, erm, overcooked. My parents always needed their steaks cooked to death and I never knew what a decent steak tasted like until I moved away from home.

          Sear on stovetop on both sides, then put them in the oven until done to your tastes. Your steak will come out first, the other one can stay in until well done right through. You may want to invest in one of those little steak thermometers if you're feeling obsessive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nyleve

            Thanks guys. I don't have time to do a long slow cook on the steak, unfortunately, Paul J, so I suppose I'll just do the sear and oven and leave it in there longer... I can't imagine the smoke involved!

          2. Take two steaks and a big skillet that can go in oven (i.e.cast iron). season steaks, preheat oven to 400, bring pan to hot. sear both sides of both steaks and USING POT HOLDERS place in oven. Bring yours to 130 and friends to 145. Remove WITH POTHOLDERS and place on a trivet. Remove steaks to cutting board, tent foil and rest for 5 minutes.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              jfood, thanks for the detail. i've always been reluctant to pierce my steak with the thermometer for fear of losing juice. but i suppose i have no problem doing it with poultry, so really, i should be just fine.

              1. re: thejulia

                understood, but jfood has a bit of a contrarian view on steak piecing. Years ago before he could tell how he liked his steak by feel he would use a thermometer. And a little juice did come out. Then jfood decided that he would rather have a steak done to his temperature with a 1/2 teaspoon less of juice than a steak with that extra 1/2 teaspoon of juice at the wrong doneness.

                Two night ago he grabbed a few burgers out of the freezer and through on the grill (60 degrees in CT) since it is january he is a little out of practice and biting into raw burger was not his desire. He took his thermometer and checked (110 degrees). Ouch needed a few more minutes. He stared as juice came out of the hole. Then when they were done he placed on a plate to relax (jfood was already there) and again he saw a little more red juice come out of the violated burger. The he placed on a bun with some cheese and ketchup and sat at the table to eat. End Result - No chance he could tell which one was which at the moment of truth.

            2. This might be a more costly solution but would you consider doing a prime rib? It seems like the whole roast keeps the well done pieces from getting too tough, plus it's a pretty fatty piece of meat so it's moist.