Beef in a Pan Demystified

By kuan, Dec 23, 2015 | |
  1. Why go out and pay $45 for a steak?  Do it yourself and save some money. Heck you can mess it up three times and you'll still be ahead.  Here is a method for doing steak on your stovetop.


    I cut the steaks out of what we in the business call an 0x1.  This is a whole strip (loin) like the kind you can find at Costco. It's called 0x1 because there is zero fat on one end and a 1" trim on the other end.  The part with no fat is closer to the rear of the animal and the part with the 1" trim is toward the center of the animal. Steaks cut from from an 0x1 are called New York Strip Steaks.   You may be wondering why there is no trim on one end and a 1" trim at the other.  The reason is that the 0x1 is made up of more than one muscle toward the rear and is one whole muscle toward the front.  If you look at the poster above you'll see that the the rear borders on the Sirloin which makes it less desirable, so the industry makes it up by trimming all the fat from this end.  For the same price per pound you are getting the same value.

    So let's get started.  My favorite pan is an anodized aluminum pan with a long handle. It cleans up well, it's durable, and it allows me to go from stove top to oven in a blink of an eye.  (a note on cleaning, I don't need to get it shiny clean, that's what I mean)   First I heat the pan on high, then I throw in some beef fat and allow it to render.


    Remove the fat after you get enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  This will help stabilize the whole butter which is added later.   Salt and pepper the steaks and sear them on one side.  After searing turn them over and add a clove of garlic, a shallot, some thyme, cut button mushrooms, and some whole unsalted butter.


    This is when you turn down the heat to medium.  Sorry for the unscientific description, but everyone's stove is different.  In general you want to turn it down so the butter doesn't burn.  The beef fat will help a bit, but you still would like to be careful here.  The moisture in the mushrooms will keep it from burning, but there's a chance that the butter solids could burn before the butter melts if the heat is too high.  I guess I just repeated that point four times.  So it must be important.   The butter melts and the garlic/shallot/mushroom/thyme will create a wonderfully aromatic basting liquid. But it's not the aroma that makes it special, it's the umami created by the synergy of mushrooms, garlic, and onion caramelizing in butter.  Some of the butter will be taken up by the mushrooms, so add more as needed.  Sure it looks like a lot of butter, but this is restaurant reality right here.  WE USE A LOT OF BUTTER!  Remove the stuff in the pan when they look a little shriveled like this:


    Leave the heat down.  Baste and turn, turn and baste.  Admire the wonderful crust.


    At this point the steaks are almost done.  I like mine medium rare so I remove mine at about 110-115F.   If you like it more well done and it seems like the outsides are as brown as they will get you can toss it in the oven for about 2-3 minutes at 450F.  That will probably get you to medium.


    Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes.  There will be a bit of carry over cooking.  About enough time to set the table and pour a glass of wine.  


    Perfectly rested.  Picture perfect.  Oh, and please, eat the mushrooms.

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