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IS THERE MANY who think pan rosted thick steak much "superior" than grilled one??

hi i recently searched out the blogs about tom collichio's craftsteak and interviews in some website.
he often say he doesn't like grilled steak because of it being charred and he found charred parts very bitter so he pan-roast steak with peanut oil first and then adding chunks of butter to cover pan's weakned heat unlike high heat generated from red charcoals in bottom.
and he finally finish it in the oven which i guess that costs pricier gas useages.
but i don't know why he said this. there is other soultion such as installing salamander broiler or normal grill without cast iron grate which is the most certin prime suspect for charring.
even if many famous chef such as Thomas keller and Tom collichio say they dont afraid using butter, rather they love it in there dishes, is it really necesary choice?
carefully grilled steak do not usually leaves grill marks especilly when used without cast iron grill grates.
anyone could comment this issues?

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  1. I would pan-roast a steak before grilling it. By pan roasting you affect more surface proteins and achieve better flavor. Grilling, though, requires much less cleanup, and is more of a social activity. When I pan roast I usually add butter about halfway through, and maybe a garlic clove and thyme or rosemary sprig, basting as I go with the pan juices.

    1. To each his own, I guess. I rather like those charred bits, particularly when they're surrounding subrare meat, and only wish that I had a super high-end grill so I could get a real "black and blue" result.

      6 Replies
        1. re: FlyFish

          I do grilling demos for some companies - Viking, Lynx, etc - and have to agree that with the infrared burners, you can achieve a result more like a steakhouse steak (which is done in an infrared broiler) Plus you have an advantage over the steakhouse broiler since you can maintain different temperature zones. You don't have to cook a steak over a 1400 degree flame until it reaches medium rare or medium, if that's how you like it. More and more grills are coming out with these burners now, though, and not just high-end brands.

          1. re: FlyFish

            I was surprised a few years ago when I ordered a steak "black and blue", and they brought me a pan-roasted steak. It was during the craze for "blackened" everything, and I guess that's what they thought I wanted. It had an interesting crust, but not the type of char I expected, and it was rare in the centre.

            But if I had a choice, I'd rather have it done on the grill.

            1. re: FlyFish

              Until that super high-end grill finds its way to your back yard, you can use a $20 smokey joe and a large charcoal chimney starter to get a true black and blue steak. Take the small bottom grate out of the grill and set it aside. Set the chimney up on the top grate, fill it with lump charcoal and get it really cranking, adding more coals as necessary to keep the chimney full nearly to the top.

              Here's the trick: don't dump the charcoal into the grill. Put the small grate on top of the chimney, let it heat up for a couple of seconds, and then cook the steak right on the chimney, which is well over 1000 degrees Farenheit.

              Obviously, given the size of the chimney, this isn't an effective way to cook for a crowd. But for one or two steaks it works pretty well.

              1. I prefer pan roasted to a gas grill but I prefer charcoal grilled to pan roasted. The smoke from a real charcoal grill adds some great flavor in my opinion. If you're not getting the smoke, a cast iron pan will get some great sear on the steak which is also good flavor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ccbweb

                  Good point. I forgot to mention that I always season my steaks with a blend of sweet smoked paprika and sea salt. It kinda makes up for the lack of charcoal.

                  1. re: almansa

                    Hey, great idea. I've got both sweet and hot smoked paprika, that should do very nicely for my next steak. Thanks!

                2. I pan roasted a couple of veal chops in my cast iron pan last night, and I think the results were superior to cooking them on the grill--more control over the degree of rareness, and able to reduce the marinade--red wine, rosemary, etc--into a bit of sauce. We also have a charcoal grill, and it's great when you want that char.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: whs

                    What brand of cast iron pan do u use? Is it enamel coated? I want to get a cast iron pan for steaks, corn bread, home fries, etc. but am unsure of what to buy.

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      enamel coated is way big $$$ go to a camping/outdoor store and make sure that your pan is heavy, cure it up in the oven and you are ready to rock!

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        It's a pan that I found rusted out in the cellar when we moved into our old farmhouse. It's not as heavy as some that are out there, but it has taken on a nice finish after much use. I even use soap to clean it.

                      2. re: whs

                        in my opinion, cast iron pan doesnot particulary create diffrent types of crust when compared with stainless still pan. for that matter i use lodge cast iron pan which is pre-seasoned.
                        i think perhapse people like cast iron pan because they are influenced from some family member's memory and romance. or they like pan roasted food much more than grilled ones because they cannot digest grilled meat very well relatively some how so to them, pan-roasted meat with oily basting is more superior

                        1. re: hae young

                          How hot did you get the cast iron pan? You can get it to near-glowing and truly blacken a piece of meat or fish (as in Cajun style blackened dishes). Try that with Aluminum or Copper, even with cladding, and you'll ruin your pan.

                          I'm not saying that this is always desirable - but it is a feature of cast iron that you shouldn't overlook, if not for your own use, then those that want to cook that way. To each their own.

                          1. re: hae young

                            Cast iron has one thing going for it - thermal mass. It isn't capable of quick temperature changes; rather, it absorbs a lot of heat, and takes quite a while to heat up and cool down.

                            This comes into play when you drop a room-temp steak into a really hot pan. The surface temperature of each the two objects effects the surface temperature of the other. In other words, the steak gets hotter and the pan gets cooler. But the temperature of a pan with greater thermal mass will drop less because it contains a "reservoir" of heat energy that has built up. And a higher pan temperature gives you a better crust.

                            Meanwhile, of course, you're adding heat as fast as you can with a high burner. So if you have enough btus at your disposal, the thermal mass of the pan is irrelevant. You can get a great crust in a stainless pan if you're using a 30k btu burner. But with a typical household burner, it takes the pan a long time to recover the heat it loses when you drop the steak in. In these circumstances, cast iron can definitely help make a better crust.

                        2. I grill all the time, so much so that I often forget other good options, like pan-searing. Both are great. One benefit of searing in a pan is the great sauce you can get afterwards by deglazing! I must remember to mix things up a bit. Thanks for the post!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: scuzzo

                            Ditto. Sounds like me. I love grilling, but sometimes I want a nice pan sauce. A while back I cooked a very thick rib eye as directed by Alan Ducasse. He cooked very low temp in butter with a couple garlic gloves in the butter, basting the steak, then making a pan sauce. It was delish, but most of the time I grill.

                            1. re: rednyellow

                              Could you share the exact Ducasse recipe with us?


                                1. re: Joe Blowe

                                  Thanks very much..funny when I googled it I couldn't find it! so thanks again...

                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                    Thats basically what I did, but didn't bother with the relish. I just made a good pan sauce with some mushrooms, herbs, wine and demi glace. The garlic cloves that had been in the butter for basting the steak came out deeply roasted and delish.

                            2. Use the right wood and a grilled steak will slay almost any skillet one. But I do agree that those heavily charred monster steaks they have in many restaurants are not my cuppa.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Steve

                                Searching through this thread I was about to give up on the thought someone would mention the wood, then I came across your post. I must agree using wood and not just a gas grill or even a "Kingsford" type charcoal is crucial to a perfect steak! So many people now automatically think of gas type grills when someone mentions a grill that I truly think the days and nights of grilling have come to mean something entirely different than when I grew up. But I must mention my favorite way to cook a steak is directly over an actual wood campfire! Yes it is a labor intensive way to cook as you must keep a very close eye on the meat (lest you have a lump of inedible black charcoal where your steak once was) but the taste is unbeatable.
                                First post for me but have been an avid reader of Chowhound for nearly a year! Awesome site!

                              2. I think either method is good depending on what the final dish is to be. For example; if you want a cognac sauce with a gorgonzolla, or some type of peppercorn cream sauce, them the method to cook the steak, for me, would be pan roasting. If I wanted a peppercrusted or kona coffee crusted steak then I would grill it.

                                1. I grew up with pan-broiling steaks, which involves simply heating a well-seasoned iron frying pan to just short of glowing, with some salt but no oil, then dropping the steak in and giving it 2 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. I now use an iron grill pan, which I prefer to the gas grill, though I use that too just for the fun of it. I don't really care much for char-grilled steaks or burgers; I want those caramelized juices!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    I'm on the pan roasted side as well, red hot cast iron and finish in the oven if need be. I just find I love the crust I get on the meat so much better than grilling.

                                    1. re: bubbles4me

                                      Here's a recipe from the Wall Street Journal that decribes your technique: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB11892...

                                  2. Grilled, always.

                                    Charred pieces are some of the best parts of the steak.

                                    Save the pan for stir-frying.

                                    1. I've done the Coicchio's pan-roasted steak because I live in an apartment in Manhattan and have no access to a grill. It's easy and much easier to control the outcome than cooking on a grill. But I prefer the taste of a charocoal-grilled steak, char and all.

                                      1. I much prefer to pan fry a good prime ribeye in a cast iron pan with butter and worcestershire sauce, just don't cook to high so as to not burn the butter.

                                        1. I much prefer pan roasting but enjoy a grilled steak every so often to break up the monotony.

                                          1. You should understand that roasting in the oven to finish a steak you start in a pan isn't a matter of cost, but the proper way to handle a thick (2-3") steak. You want a good maillard reaction - a nice dark brown crust - for the flavor, so you need to start with high-temp radiant heat (direct radiation) but then move to an indirect heat source (moving air heating the meat - called convection, which happens in all roasting, not just inside a convection oven) to keep the meat from drying out while bringing the inside to the right temperature. This makes the best, juciest steaks, with a nice, tasty crust.

                                            This is true regardless of whether you're doing it in a pan and then roasting in the oven, or on a real wood charcoal grill (never use a gas grill for steaks - it doesn't get hot enough). Outside, you start with meat directly over the coals, then once the crust has formed, move it over to an indirect area to finish cooking.

                                            The other trick is to make sure that you rest the meat after it comes out of the oven or off the indirect heat on the grill for at least 10 minutes before serving and cutting. This allows the juices to flow back to the middle, keeping the meat juicy after you cut into it.

                                            As far as which method is best, I like both - but some meats are better, naked, on the charcoal grill, especially anything from the tenderloin. You really need that extra flavor from the real wood to make the otherwise relatively tasteless filet worth eating. Of course, if you pan/roast it, you can make any number of sauces, which makes up for the lack of good meat flavor. Rib/ribeye's (delmonico) are good pan/roasted and need no sauce. Their fat content makes then ideal for building a crunchy, tasty crust. Strips can go either way, as can the combinations (T-bone/Porterhouse) and Sirloins. Sirloins are not as fatty as strips or rib steaks, but unlike the tenderloin, they are very tasty.

                                            Skirts and Flanks are definitely better grilled. Even for Fajitas, I'll cut the marinated Skirt into squares and grill them before slicing thin (across the grain) and putting them in the pan with the vegetables, lime and spices (the marinating juices). Ditto skirts as steaks or flanks as "roasts" (they're cooked like steak, but cut into thin slices across the grain and with a bias to make wider pieces for plating) - these are all definitely much better grilled.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: applehome

                                              I generally agree with your post but your assertion that one should not grill steak on a gas grill is silly.
                                              My gas grill produces 650-750 in 5-10 min in any weather and will sear anything in a hurry.
                                              Where a roast needs to be seared before finishing in the oven, i do it on the grill leaving the smoke and splatter outside.
                                              A thick steak can be seared in a trice and then be finished by turning off the central burner and cooking indirect OR moving the steak to a 375f oven.
                                              Results are essentially the same.
                                              I most frequently move to the oven as it is more convenient to tend the other "stuff"
                                              in the kitchen where it is.
                                              Anyway, your post suggests you that you are knowledgeable but your "not hot enough" assertion about gas grills is contrary to my experience.

                                              1. re: mr jig

                                                I have never owned a gas grill that got hot enough. If you have found one that gets hot enough for you, great. Typically, you can get a gas grill's temperature up to whatever you wish by closing the lid, but that's not the same as high-temp radiant heat from a heat source - that's just hot convection. Keep in mind that the salamanders in restaurants that are used for searing are in the 1500-2000F range, and their claim is that you can't replicate the same kind of deep crust they get at home without this equipment. Some folks believe that's true. I think you can get a nice deep crust at far less than 2000F, but I have never found a gas source radiant heat on a home grill that can do it. I use my Weber Genesis which sits next to my Weber 22" Kettle for everything from corn to grilled veggies to chicken. But beef steaks only go over real wood charcoal on the kettle. That's just me - you're mileage may vary.

                                              2. re: applehome

                                                thnks for valuable infos.
                                                but i still have some serious doubt about pan-roasting.
                                                i have weber's smokey joe and i often grill steak on this. to me, afterlook of steak grilled by my "joe" and finished with indirect heat with vents of it open seems much more earthy and Real as opposed to those started from pan to oven, even though i am very much un-qualified to claim my mastery of pan-roasting. however, when i compare those with charcoal and those with pan-roast in cooking show, i cannot say they look almost same or even similar( you know it's my subjective feeling). i have some wacky theory that char grill may instictively send some cues of it as cancarous process to general public especailly in recent years, aside from its appeling smokeyness. and although im big fan of it, i worry about too.
                                                and adding lots and lots of butter to the pan, i think, undo some chef's judgement about their dishes' healthiness. im pointing out many of them are inconsistant. worring about bitterness of charring effect but fond of using lots of butter into their dishes. yeah some may saythat the worry about bitterenss grill produce may be about worry about proper taste, not healthiness
                                                i think if people of any restaurant grill meat with proper cares, they can prevent leaving any char on their master pieces and without using exceesive amount of oil plus butter to bring up temp high enough.
                                                anyway, keep in mind. to be honest, i am never related with this industry except some minor dining experience. so you may find "my point" as extremely awfull

                                                1. re: hae young

                                                  I completely agree with you about the use of butter in restaurants, in particular, on steaks. A great piece of meat simply doesn't need it. Although there are plenty of places that grill their steak and then put a gigantic glop of butter on top when done - so it's not about pan/roasting. Obviously, at the extreme end, you have Japanese Wagyu A5/10, where the extreme fat creates that incredible mouthfeel. But butter doesn't do the same thing no matter how much you put on. And a USDA Choice rib-eye has great flavor and it's own texture that just isn't enhanced at all by the butter.

                                                  Several years ago, long before the current broohaha, I exchanged emails with Harold McGee about the charred meat causing cancer issue and he was very gracious in emailing me copies of several important studies. I had known that the link was positive in the lab, in terms of known carcinogenic particles being created by the charring process, but was wondering if significant epidemiological studies had been done to confirm the connection. Was there data out there that made a true cause and effect tie-in, based on population studies and diets, that showed higher rates of cancer in groups that ate more charred meats? The answer, unfortunately, is yes - he sent me those studies. But whether that actually influences anybody's decision on whether and how to eat meat is entirely up to the individual. This is no fast-acting poison, or high-percentage carcinogen, like cigarette smoke. The increase in the chance of getting cancer may be about the same as the increase in the chances of accidental death from crossing the street more often. Is it worth giving up what you like? I mean - the sun is a known carcinogen - does everybody stay inside?

                                                  But more importantly, the mechanisms that cause charred meat to be somewhat more carcinogenic are not restricted to the process of grilling over an open flame. The basic maillard reaction - creating a hard, brown crust, includes some of the same chemical mechanisms. Direct radiant heat or conductive (transfer by surface to surface, as in a pan) can result in the same effect - obviously you can blacken meat in a pan. In fact, even convective heating, which is transfer by air such as in roasting or baking, if done hot and long enough, will char meat - anyone that has left something in the oven all day by mistake will attest to that.

                                                  I looked into all this because I got colon cancer (stage 3) a few years ago, and I am a heavy eater of charred meats. I went through surgery and chemo, and now get a colonscopy every 2-5 years. They almost always find some polyps - always small and benign, and they remove them. Given the typical rate of growth of malignant tumors in the colon, I am probably as safe or safer than most - certainly safer than those of a certain age that don't get colonoscopies, even if they don't eat any charred meat. I have most certainly not given up on charred meats, although I probably eat less meats in general than I used to.

                                                  Getting back to steaks - I still think that it depends on the meat and the dish, the sides, even your mood. Kalbi in a pan wouldn't appeal to me - it really has to be grilled. But a great steak au poivre really needs those pan juices. I realize that you're narrowly focusing on the thick steak cuts from the rib and short loin, and I think that even with these cuts, it really depends on what you feel like having - there is no right or wrong. Variety is indeed the spice of life, so my only real recommendation might be to NOT focus so much on these cuts - go get a hangar steak for your smokey joe, and have a good time.

                                              3. nope,

                                                nothing beats a thick prime, or dry aged steak on the grill in my opinion. Cooked rare of course.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: swsidejim

                                                  Completely agree...apart from the rare part. I don't like my steak to moo...don't mind a bit of pink though.