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Is it sacrilege to NOT Grill a New York steak?

I have 2 beautiful organic NY steaks to cook, but it is -20C today and don't want to be bbqing. Our BBQ doesn't hold its heat well when it is that cold.

I have grown up in Beef country and have never had or cooked a steak any other way. Are there other ways to cook a steak indoors (that is worthy of this cut). I have a 'George Forman', a cast iron skillet, broiler pan etc.


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  1. In terms of semantics, (and this is my opinion) you should be referring to the "BBQ" as a grill. BBQ steak (to me) means steak with BBQ sauce on it. So, to rephrase the question for you, "Is it sacrilege to NOT *GRILL* a New York steak?"

    I would say it is perfectly fine if you don't grill the steak. There are countless times that I've pan seared a steak indoors.

    5 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      Thanks for the tip, I edited the subject. We refer to anything on the grill as BBQ'd up here :)

      So how do I pan sear a steak? should I use my cast iron? do I need to oil the pan? temp?

      1. re: cleopatra999

        Get the cast iron skillet hot. Brush some oil on the steak(s) and drop it into the skillet. DON"T TOUCH IT any more for three minutes. The turn it, repeat the process on the other side. When searing is completed, simply leave the steak(s) in the pan and deposit them into a 350 - 375 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches the degree of doneness you seek. Remove from oven, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
        They lose a bit more of their moisture by searing, instead of oven roasting, but it isn't significant and the flavor imparted by searing is, IMHO, worth any difference (which I don't think you could detect anyway) in moisture.
        Be careful not to over crowd the pan when searing. If both steaks won't fit nicely without crowding, sear them one at a time.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          Do a quick search and type this into any major search engine "bbq versus grilling". You can read up on the differences there. Frankly I don't think it's a matter of regionalism, it's more the use of the correct term.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            The use of the word BBQ is regional and began:

            - in Australia to define both the method and apparatus for cooking.

            - as a derivative of the West Indian term "barbacoa," which denotes a method of slow-cooking meat over hot coals.

            - from the French term "de barbe à queue" or "from beard to tail" (especially buccaneers who would roast and smoke whole goats, impaled on a stick "from the beard to the tail") and refers to an animal cooked whole.

            The word then gets imported to America and becomes even more regionalized
            and can mean either grilling over direct or indirect heat depending on the area of the country. The use of the term BBQ to mean sauced meats is also localized as is the use of BBQ for smoked meats. Where we grew up, we would BBQ either with or without sauce.

            1. re: alwayscooking

              In my area, BBQ meant the apparatus, the act of cooking on said apparatus and if a group of people were joining you, the event.

              Mrs. Sippi has reprogrammed me to a certain degree.


      2. I often pan sear a steak, NY included, in my cast iron skillet and finish it in the oven. Works just fine. Just don't salt it until lit comes out of the oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: todao

          Just as a note to cleopatra - the salting issue is merely a matter of opinion, so whatever you happen to do on your outside grill, you can do the same with the indoor cooking method.

        2. You could either pan sear - finish in the oven as other have suggested or use the broiler, which jfood has done on occassion.

          BTW - Jfood has always referred to usingthe grill as BBQ'ing. At 53 he lets others worry about semantics.

          1. I've never used a George Foreman grill, but can it get hot enough to sear the steak?

            When I'm not grilling outdoors I use my cast iron (with grill marks) skillet and sear the meat at the highest temp on both sides and flip it (so you get those nice diamond grill marks) and finish it at a med heat to medium rare. No oil required.

            6 Replies
            1. re: monku

              Frankly, I don't think the George Foreman grill is suitable for grilling steaks. It seems to handle burgers and perhaps chops fairly well but I've tried searing a steak on this grill (other manufacturers too) and have been disappointed in the results. It's a bone of contention in our kitchen. My wife likes the simplicity of using the electric grills like the Foreman; I'm more of a cast iron traditionalist.

              1. re: todao

                I agree, todao, and pan-seared in cast iron and finished in the oven is my preferred method as well!

                1. re: Procrastibaker

                  I haven't used my indoor electric grill for years, our bbq is now right by our back door and with the exception of really cold days, it works for us all thru the winter.

                  I think I will try the pan sear, cast iron method. my skillet is large enough for 2, so it sounds like my best bet.

                  thanks all!

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Electric grill but outdoor BBQ, huh? Don't you mean Electric BBQ? ;-)

                    1. re: HaagenDazs

                      I guess a bbq to me has a flame and coals. LOL

                2. re: todao

                  I did a couple of steaks on a GF as an experiment. They were dreadful. Pan searing in cast iron is the way to go.


              2. This Chow step-by-step instruction for searing a steak in a cast-iron skillet (and finishing it in a hot oven) is simple and is how I sear my steaks. I actually prefer my steaks cooked this way over grilling. http://www.chow.com/stories/10857


                1. I much prefer pan-seared to grilled. With the former, the entire surface gets that delicious sear, and you're in less danger of incinerating the steak (grilling is not in my genes). I use either a heavy stainless steel saute pan or the cast iron. If making a small/thinner steak I don't even use the oven, just turn off the heat once the searing on the second side is underway, and let the residual heat finish it. (I'm from NY - does that give me added credibility? ;-D

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    We used to do both, half the time grilling the steaks and the other half in cast iron. After a few years my son told me he always prefered the cast iron steaks, then my husband confessed he did too only to hear me say, "Oh thank goodness I do too!" so we almost never grill steaks anymore, seared in cast iron and roasted in the oven to finish.

                    1. re: bubbles4me

                      DH loves to grill, but we do steaks in an iron skillet then oven too. I usually go with a 150 degree oven though.

                  2. There are two ways to pan sear a steak.

                    The first is what a bunch of people have already noted. Sear on a pan, then stick it in the oven to finish off.

                    The other way, is to reverse the process. Stick it in the oven first, then pan sear it to finish it off. The benefit of this approach is that by putting the steak in the oven first it dries out the meat a bit more, allowing a better crust formation when you finish the steak off by pan searing.

                    Either way works fine; experiment and see which ones suits your tastes better.


                    1. I prefer pan seared (cast iron), and I don't finish in the oven either. I'm not sure of the size of your steaks, but I usually do 4 min first side, 5 min second side for a perfect med rare. Then make a pan sauce from the fond while the steaks rest.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: MrsCheese

                        I'm with you on this. I've never found the need to finish in the oven. Let the cast iron heat for a good 8 or 10 minutes, and toss in the beef. I find 2 minutes a side to be good for a one inch steak to be a bit on the rare side of medium rare.
                        I never thought I could cook a good steak indoors until some of these Chowhounds convinced me otherwise.

                        1. re: Bobfrmia

                          I will third this, and I must use a flat-top electric stove. Leave the steak out for a couple of hours so it comes to room temp., heat the cast iron hot, three min. on each side, and it's done rare.

                          1. re: Joebob

                            verdict: this was great!

                            We preheated the cast iron skillet. finished in the oven, for not long, maybe 2 mins. I think that I could have done the whole steak on the stove top. Next time more seasoning though and let my stovetop heat up a little more, to make more of a crust. Maybe a bit more oil on the steaks and let them sit at room temp a little longer. Over all though I am convinced that a good steak can be made inside :)

                            oh ya, and we did set off the fire detector! (only once tho)

                            1. re: cleopatra999

                              I would suggest that after you perfect your method, you'd find that a GREAT steak can be made inside.
                              I winged it one day and deglazed the pan with red wine and mushrooms for an incredible pan sauce to go with.


                              1. re: Davwud


                                I think the real beauty of a pan seared steak is the pan sauce you make after you get the steak out of the cast iron skillet! So good. I always make a pan sauce, and never the same way twice!

                                Another method is to broil and make a compound butter with herbs to brush on the steak after it is done.


                                1. re: danhole

                                  Our "Goto" sauce for steak is browned butter, saute some mushrooms in it and add some soy sauce. Let it simmer down a bit until the schrooms are cooked and there's a slightly thick sauce. It's beautiful.


                              2. re: cleopatra999

                                The smoke is the one thing that keeps me from doing steak like this more often. Granted, I don't have an exhaust hood that can handle it, but be aware that cooking steak like this is guaranteed to smoke up the kitchen... and the adjoining rooms.

                                1. re: cleopatra999

                                  A little salt on both sides a few minutes before you sear it helps with the crust.
                                  I wait until I'm ready to throw in the meat, then put a fan in the kitchen window.
                                  It's blowing out, so not to terrible when it's cold, and it's only on for about 5 or 6 minutes.

                                  1. re: cleopatra999

                                    Thanks for reporting back. If I'd seen this thread earlier, I would have suggested broiling, which is essentially the same as grilling (exposing the meat directly to the heat source).

                                    I have a different stove-top method that I like a lot, too. I use a stir-fry (deep) pan, pre-heat it, sear the meat for 30 seconds on each side (or longer if you want them crustier) and then put the lid on and lower the heat to finish, turning about halfway though. Essentially, when there's enough space in the covered pan for the hot air to circulate you've turn it into a convection oven and stuff cooks really fast (less then 10 minutes total cooking time for a NY steak), with less time to dry out. Putting the lid on cuts down on the smoke problem, too. Heating the oven just to finish a steak for a couple of minutes strikes me as a huge waste of energy.

                                2. re: Bobfrmia

                                  ditto - weve never felt the need to finish our pan seared steaks in the oven -
                                  the whole process can be finished on the stove just fine unless the steak is super thick (thicker than the average commercial steak - Id say ours are usually about 1 inch. We rub the steaks with garlic and usually have some salt, rosemary and lots of pepper added in the pan. Just a little brush of oil on the pan before adding the steak.

                                  Just remember to rest the steak a bitso the juices redistribute before serving. And you can make a great pan sauce from the drippings with some shallots or onions and maybe mushrooms, deglazed with red wine and cooked down. Add some butter off the heat and stir in. Throw the steak back into the pan for a little bit to coat with the sauce and then serve, sliced. Yum.

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    We always let our steaks rest.

                                    the smoke was actually not as bad as I thought that it would be. I think it actually came more from my dirty oven. on the stove top is was totally manageable. I did take someone's advice and purchased an oil that is for high heat (this is better health wise too). I used Almond Oil, peanut would have worked too, but I could not get it organic. I think that this helped a lot with the smoking. The house has filled much worse with other items.

                                    thanks again for all the help! I will incorporate this often, can't wait to try once with the pan juices. We were trying to keep things a little healthier, so opted out of that.