A lot of men believe that cooking with fire is the only way to go. High-tech grills are de-rigeur on the well-appointed man’s patio. But to really impress a woman, or to show up the guys, here’s how to make a great steak on a stove top.
1. NEVER begin with a cold steak. The outside of the steak will be overcooked by the time the inside comes up to temperature. To rectify this rookie mistake, take your steak(s) out of the refrigerator, season liberally with salt and pepper, and let them sit at room temperature for AT LEAST 30 minute up to one hour.
2. Let’s get ready to cook. High heat and a well-seasoned pan are key to the perfect steak. Remember that cast iron pan your Mom gave you? Bring it out and put it on the burner at medium high. Let it sit and heat until its scorching.
3. Brush a little oil across the bottom of the pan. Your best choices are avocado oil or canola. The oil should smoke lightly.
4. Place your steak in the center of the pan. DON’T touch it! Let it sear for two minutes. Flip the steak and let it sear for two minutes more.
5. Add a good amount of butter (at least a half stick) to the pan along with a few sprigs of thyme and a couple cloves of garlic that have been smashed. After the butter melts and the herbs are fragrant, baste the steak with a spoon, pouring the hot butter over the top of the steak until the desired doneness is reached.
6. How do you know when a steak is done? Well, NEVER cut into the steak while it’s cooking – that just releases all the juices into the pan and leads to a dry steak. Use the Finger Test instead:
a. Open the palm of your hand and relax. Take the index finger of your other hand and push on the fleshy area between the thumb and the base of the palm. Make sure your hand is relaxed. This is what raw meat feels like. (Check out this cool phenomenon the next time you have a raw steak to cook.) Now, here’s how to determine done-ness:
b. Well Done – Gently press the tip of your pinky and your thumb together. Again feel the fleshy area below the thumb. It should feel quite firm. This is what well done meat feels like when you press on it. (Check this out the next time you overcook a piece of meat.)
c. Medium Done – Press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little more. This is what meat cooked to a medium doneness feels like.
d. Medium Rare – Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is medium rare.
e. Rare – Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below the thumb should give quite a bit. This is what meat cooked to rare feels like. Open up your palm again and compare raw to rare if you’re unsure.
7. Once you’ve just about reached your preferred state of doneness, take the steak out of the pan and place it on a plate or cutting board. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute.