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Steak - Home Cooked or Steakhouse Prepared

There has been quite a bit of chatter about steaks, must be the summer weather. This must be one of the great unanswerable questions of our age, but what is the best method of cooking a steak, and who does it best?

At home on an outdoor grille/barbecue with real charcoal? Or on the stove on a cast iron grill pan, moved to the oven to finish?

Or at a steakhouse. Again, what method? I know there are steakhouses that do have charcoal grills, but not most.

Does the cut of meat affect the way it should be cooked? Other factors?

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  1. At home my preferred method, in order of preference, are as follows:

    1. Outdoor charcoal grill
    2. Indoor using the "Reverse-Searing" method. See here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635214

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      At home I sear it and finish in the oven, gas grills just do not impart the charred flavor that a good restaurant does with a flame broiler...

    2. At home on a Weber charcoal grill..............
      or at a really good steakhouse

      can't get my kitchen broiler hot enough for perfectly cooked steak.

      I never start on a grill pan and move to the oven, as it would cook the steak too well done for me, I love my steak mooing............

      I don't care for pan-broiled steak, but when it's raining, I do cook the dogs' steak in a heavy pan on top of the stove.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bagelman01

        I agree with the bagelman. Only on my Weber charcoal grill. I do not like to cook them indoors, b/c I don't think I get it hot enough, without setting off the smoke alarms.

      2. Outdoors over wood coals....Charcoal is an acceptable substitute....

        4 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          Have you ever tried the new Kingsford Competition charcoal? My husband loves it, insists I buy multiple bags at a time, so as not to run out. Luckily, Costco sells it in double bag units, for about $17.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            I'm not a fan of Kingsford Charcoals...When their latest marketing program, i.e. Competition, was released I burned through several bags. It's an improvement over the blue bag stuff, but IMO not by much...There are several charcoals that I like better....Royal Oak Briquettes or Lump is one that is easily found in most areas and the price is right...

            Have Fun!

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Royal Oak lump is available at just about every wally world across the USA. Switching to lump from briquettes is a good move for many. About $6 for a ten pound bag here.

          2. re: Uncle Bob

            Now THOSE are a thing of beauty!! MMMMM!!

          3. my favorite is cooked at home on the charcoal grill. YUM! :)
            med-rare please, nice crust on the outside.
            lump charcoal, not mass market (kingsford) stuff, with a touch of whatever wood smoke DH feels like adding that night!

            1. Home Cooked or Steakhouse Prepared ? According to WalMart you can have both at the same time : Genuine Steak House™ steaks. WTH?!?!?! If it's cooked at home it's not a genuine steakhouse steak, is it ? Sizzler and Black Angus are steakhouses. Are they that bad? I guess Genuine Solid Gold Steaks™ was rejected as not as appealing a name, food wise.
              It's not clear if they're Choice or Select grade but according to WalMart they're "Premium", but they're not Prime grade ( silly me, I thought Prime grade was premium). But, they're not even the best steaks WalMart has to offer. According to WalMart that would be their Black Angus line.* Based on the commercial for these steaks, WalMart has wisely geared this to the not too bright market, i.e. to families where the man of the house can't remember his own birthday.

              Beef is big business in America and most Americans can't afford Choice grade,let alone Prime, on a regular basis. Plus, even if prices were lower supply couldn't keep up w/ demand, hence the higher prices. So it's no wonder you have grocery stores throwing around copyrighted appealing misleading and basically meaningless names like Ranchers' Reserve, Butcher's Choice and this nonsense fr WalMart in order to dupe the buyer into thinking he's/she's getting a better product than they are. In other words they want you to forget about the true standard measures for quality of beef Select, Choice and Prime.


              Oh, and the correct answer is grilled over lump coals (higher heat sustained long enough for steaks). But seared in a pan with a nice sauce prepped in the sear pan (not bottled) or under the broiler can be mighty satisfying also. The cuts of my choice porterhouse,T-bone, rib-eye (bone in if you can find), NY strip.

              1. In agreement with several posts here....Having grilled steaks for 50 years, and eaten I don't know how many steers, if you can;t get to a decent steakhouse, then prepare at home in following manner:
                1) Get good meat. Choice will do, and has to most of the time anyway since Prime is expensive, Costco has decent steaks and sometimes carries Prime. Aged beef is better, and I prefer dry aged. It is available at big city butcher shops, Whole Foods, and by mail from Lobel, Allen Bros. and Niman Ranch. Be prepared to pay.
                2) Use a grill, outdoors. I have used Weber for decades, and would not change. Lump charcoal is best, started in a chimney with crumpled newspaper. Kingsford Competition is good, much better than regular blue bag. I have never cooked a steak inside.
                3) Best cut to grill, IMO, is bone in ribeye. Bone in gives more flavor and juice. NY strips a close second. Again, bone in. I don't eat filets, as they are known for tenderness and not flavor. Get them at least 1.5 inches thick and I trim excess outside fat.
                4) Get steak out one hour before grilling, and season with kosher salt (more than you would ever think) and coarsely ground black pepper. Lots of folks recommend olive oil but I have never used it and have never had a complaint.
                5) After coals are ready, put your grill on and scrape it clean. Let it heat and it will be fine.
                6) Once you put the steak on the grill, resist the urge to tinker with it and move it around. Unless it is on fire, leave it and it will develop a crust. Flip once. Cook until desired doneness (most people agree medium rare is perfect) and you can google that to see how to tell by simply pressing it. I use a fork to take it up. Tongs are an unnecessary affectation. Remember that the steak will continue to cook after being removed from the grill, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Allows the juices to settle and not run all over the plate.
                7) You are now in for some good eatin'. Great sides include salads, sauteed or creamed spinach, and a potato, with a bottle of cabernet, zin, shiraz, etc.

                3 Replies
                1. re: steakman55

                  In my neck of the woods, a "bone- in ribeye" is a prime rib steak. A ribeye is just the eye, no bone. And I have never seen a bone-in striploin- ever! But I do agree that a steak on the bone is more flavourful, for whatever reason!

                  1. re: spazita

                    Doesn't it get a little confusing, calling it prime? I understand what a prime rib is, but calling a steak prime when it is not graded that way is a misnomer, at least here in the US. Here a Prime Rib steak would have two different meanings, Prime as in the grade, rib steak as in rib eye. It's just what we call that cut, a rib eye, it can be with bone or without, and they're not always Prime!

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Phurstluv is right. "Prime" implies USDA Prime graded meat. Period.

                2. jfood just ordered the following


                  The he places in the steam from the side and places on a hot pre-heated weber gas grill. Sets the thermostat at 130. Cooks on one side for 4 minutes then flips. Goes back inside with the thermometer next to him and when it beeps, he removes the steak from the grill

                  Perfect every time.

                  1. Has anyone tried the method described in the Aug Cooks Country? Involves freezing the steaks 30 min ahead of time and a rub of salt & cornstarch to absorb maximum moisture for that perfect crust. Can't wait to try it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: domestikate

                      Why waste perfectly good cornstarch when all you have to do is elevate it on a rack for a few hours in the fridge to let cold air circulate around it to dry it a little before searing. Seems simpler to me than a fake crust of cornstarch. But I do like that mag, they have good recipes, usually.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        I know- I have never had a problem achieving what I think is a pretty nice crust- but would like to try this method just for kicks. CC' s recipes have a pretty good success rate for me.

                    2. The best method of cooking a steak?
                      Depends on the steak. Flank steak, rib eye, Porterhouse, grade of beef etc.

                      Who does it best?
                      Who ever cooked the steak I'm about to eat. I rarely meat one I don't like.

                      At home I cook over lump charcoal on a BGE. This allows me to get a grate temperature in excess of 1,000 degrees and achieve a great char while still being MR and I can incorporate a few wood chips for a nice smokey flavor.

                      Talking about cooking methods in steak houses is futile. I have more than one SOP manual on my desk and I'm not about to share. Some really do have trade secrets. Aging times, handeling processes etc are often tightly held secrets by the Chef or owners. Aside from that the range of kitchen equipment and staff experience is enormous. I have yet to find one "best". The only restaurant indoor charcoal grill I have seen as a primary cooking source that I can recall at the moment was a monster at Queue de Cheval in Montreal. If the power goes out for more than 20 minutes they have to evacuate. It's a fantastic steak house that deserves a place on the wall of fame right along with Peter Luger.

                      The cut certainly affects the way meat should be cooked. As does the grade of meat and other factors.
                      My personal preference is for a very dry aged porterhouse grilled over charcoal. What ever your "Best" is find it and enjoy it. Some one once said;
                      A Great steak is like great sex. You know it when you have it.

                      1. A chef I admire once told me how he prepares his home cooked steak and I've followed his advice ever since:

                        spinkle generously on both sides: 1) fresh ground pepper, 2) garlic powder, 3) Lawrys Seasoned Salt. Add olive oil and rub the mixture in to the meat. Cook on whatever grill you have (though nothing beats charcoal). Never fails.....