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Aug 5, 2009 04:34 PM

Why rub steak with olive oil before cooking?

I have already posted tonight telling everyone else how to cook steaks, but question remains: why rub it with olive oil?
Most sites, including top butchers, recommend that. I have never done it. Just season liberally with kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Using good cuts of steak ensures that the marbling will somewhat melt and "lubricate" the steak. What does the EVOO add that I am missing? I always figured it would make it flame more. I get a nice crust without it.

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  1. What I have heard is that Olive Oil helps in raising the temperature on the surface of the meat from the heat source for a quicker and better sear.

    1. Flavor?

      I don't do it myself because I generally want nothing to stand in the way between me and my beef -- except for some salt and pepper.

      That said, I can see the benefits of using EVOO on cuts of beef like skirt steak that may need a certain amount of "lubrication" to avoid sticking.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        The best tip I received for lubricating beef or pork was from my father many years ago when I was just a small lad. He showed me how to trims the excess fat from any beef or pork cut and save them for the pan, grill pan or outdoor grill grate. For indoor cooking, I throw some scraps from the present steak to be cooked into a hot pan first....or from some scraps which I have saved and kept frozen in the freezer. For outdoor grilling, you can take a larger piece and run it along the grate with a pair of tongs....similar to how you would lubricate the grate with an oiled rag.

        No extra costs....and real original flavor.

      2. I am in total agreement with you. If you buy a decent cut & grade of meat for your steak, you certainly don't need to rub it with olive oil. My steaks sear beautifully w/out it.

        Other lesser cuts may need extra "lubrication" as some put it, but I wouldn't waste my extra virgin olive oil on them.

        1. A bit of lube will not harm the precious steak taste and is useful(though, yes, you do not NEED it).
          Superthin coat, anyway.
          Sometimes it is used for flavor, obviously, more liberal.
          Also, carcinogen blocker for the blackened meat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dietndesire

            If the oil is on the steak, and the flames are licking the steak, how do you figure the oil "blocks" the carcinogens from forming on the charred fat??? (Which is the best part, btw).

          2. If you are pre-salting and have a hot grill there surely is no need to oil a quality steak. Oil can burn or take on an off flavor from the grill grates. Leaner cuts might need a very small amount but I just use vegetable oil. I find I rarely need to do that.