HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Steak - Grill or Pan?

I prefer a Cast Iron Steak but a recent Facebook posting by a friend brought up the controversy.

Where do you stand?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. grill. period. but then I have a plentiful source of hardwood and wild grape vines I can forage. so if I was in an apartment I'd be ok with a well considered (garlic and olive oiled) cast iron. but given a choice...

    1. If I can't grill it my second choice would be to broil it.

      1. Charcoal grill (first choice)

        Cast Iron Pan, seared on both sides, then finished off in the oven (second choice)

        Broiling (third choice)

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          yeah, but I think I'd violently sear and then throw under the broil

        2. Grill, broil, pan-fry in that order. I just find pan fried steak too greasy on the palate.

          1. jfood brings his gas weber as hot as he can an grills. excellent grill marks and he can achieve his rare to med-rare with a nice crust.

            1. Grill that rascal! Only on the coldest days will Biscuitboy break out the cast iron, and finish in the oven

              1. Controversy? Seriously? I can't imagine there's any debate in anyone's mind. A steak gets thrown over a blisteringly hot fire until it's 125 degrees - all other techniques are fabrications designed to suffice when a sufficiently hot flame is unavailable.

                Hell, controversy? I'm still shakin' my head. It's like asking about the controversy over what's better - Football or soccer?

                1. First choice......Grilled over hardwood coals.....
                  Second choice..Grilled over hardwood coals...
                  Third Choice.....Grilled over a quality lump charcoal......

                  1. I broil, pan-fry, or a combo of the two. Problem is, the ventilation in my kitchen is terrible, which means death by smoke inhalation is a distinct although acceptable possibility.

                    And crazy as it sounds, I have never grilled a steak. I will remedy this lacuna in my culinary experience on Thursday night when I grill a pair of NY strips and top with an ancho-zinfandel sauce.

                    PS--Is there any difference between a NY strip and a KC strip?

                    1 Reply
                    1. I like cast iron too.

                      1. Grill 90% of the time, pan sear/finish in the oven 10% when there is snow on the ground.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: igorm

                          Same here, except that snow on the ground doesn't deter me from grilling. Rain pouring down, on the other hand, does.

                          1. re: BobB

                            rain doesn't stop me, in the town house I rolled the grill right to the back door and kept the lid on as much as possible, where I am now, I'll just pull a car out of the garage and do it just inside the open exterior door (interior door tightly shut).

                              1. re: jfood

                                well yeah, the TH had security gates on the entrances so I was able to easily prop one over most of the grill

                          2. I live in an apartment, so grilling isn't an option. If I have a nice thick steak, I sear both sides and then finish in the broiler. I like my steak medium rare/rare, so if the steak isn't that thick, I use the pan only.

                            Here's my biggest problem with other people grilling my steak. So many BBQers tend to stab the steak with the serving fork to flip it or they flip the damn thing too many times. There's something about grilling that makes all the chef wannabees out there want to play with the food like they are entertaining people with a lion act. Put it on the grill, leave it alone, flip it once and then let it sit (another thing most people don't do....so eager to cut into it!).

                            And I have to agree with some of the other posters...if you're grilling a good steak....charcoal!!!

                            1. Definately the grill. I smoke myself out of house and home if I get a pan hot enough to do a steak the way I like to. My bad for not having a good smoke hood!

                                1. 90% of steaks, especially with bone I cook on the grill. I don't care if it's 90 degrees and sunny or 9 degrees and snowy, I grill outside. BUT a small boneless 'steak' such as a flat Iron I'll cook in a cast iron pan, or skirt steak or a small breakfast steak to go with eggs............

                                  1. Grill means barbeque in this sense, right? Yeah, I prefer it that way, but most of the time I'm pan-frying. If it's a thick one, maybe finish under the grill/broiler

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Soop

                                      No, grill means grill over a direct fire on a BBQ pit or grill. BBQ means to smoke for a lengthy period of time via indirect heat.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        *sigh*, no I mean in England "grill" is what in USA means "broil" and what you term "grill" is essentially what we term "Barbeque".

                                        Unfortunately, it seems that what we term "barbeque" is now not the same as you which just confuses matters even more :(

                                        1. re: Soop

                                          Soop: you have the gist of it, in the US bbq is a process or event, which can be performed on a grill, but then in a 'bar and grill' the grill is actually more of a griddle which I guess some refer to as a planchette (sp?) grill.

                                    2. Seared on the stove, finished in the oven. I just don't like the taste of smoke on a good steak. Now carne asada is another matter.

                                      1. Each is different. How can there be a controversy? Don't we all use both methods? I'd be shocked if the answer is 'no', and I'd question how much those people understand and appreciate cooking.

                                        1. Since I have a charcoal grill, a gas grill, and a wood-fired brick oven right out the kitchen, I go to any one of them first for anything that can be grilled.

                                          1. The closest I can approximate a Steakhouse char on outside and juicy rare (100 degrees) inside at home is by firing up my Cast Iron for about 15 minutes on high gas... dropping in an EVOO hand rubbed and heavily kosher salted 2" cut (to create a mintute air space between the meat and the grill) 4 minutes on one side, two on the other, and then let rest under foil for 10 minutes.

                                            Key -- a good ventilating system because that sucker smokes and can set off alarms.

                                            Charcoal grill if it's a real hot day... and I feel like a smokey flavor and playing caveguy.

                                            1. After having grilled a few steaks over apricot wood I've been converted to this method. For some reason it's easier for me to judge doneness on the grill, ventilation is no longer an issue, and I love the smokey flavor. As long as the weather isn't completely blotto, this will be my method until the hereafter.

                                              1. A pan fried steak is an abomination. A crime against nature. A travesty for which there is no redemption.
                                                Hang your head and weep.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: CharlieKilo

                                                  No way! You must be doing it wrong

                                                  1. re: CharlieKilo

                                                    Don't think pan-fried minute steak, think HOT cast iron seared rib-eye or sirloin. The results can be seriously delicious - if as Soop says, you do it right.

                                                  2. Carpaccio and MGZ, what the rest of the world calls football.

                                                    1. l use a combination. l found if grilled, as l really care about an even char, too many flare ups, so my current method is when preheating the Weber, sorry, it is natural gas, and so easy, l preheat the cast iron pan as well, then cook in the pan on the grill. Perfect char, no flareups, TaDa, l am a happy guy.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                        You're just shifting the heat source from the stovetop to the grill. The metal is still between the meat and the flame, so technically you're not grilling (which is defined by cooking over open flame).

                                                        The only advantage... ventilation?

                                                        1. re: louuuuu

                                                          But grill is hotter than stovetop, as grill closed, top cooks as well at same time, no not grilling but far hotter pan cooking with no added fat

                                                      2. Start on the grill, so long as it's very hot, then rest it in covered, warm cast iron with oil and butter. Save those juices, don't lose them to the coals.


                                                        1. A timely post! We've always been renters and have never grilled anything ever, but lately we've been considering buying some steaks for the first time in over a decade.