Steak Cooking 101 (home/indoor) by a Pro

By thebeef, Jan 16, 2015 | | |

  1. Just thought for my first major subject post I'd talk about something we would do in the fine dining restaurants I worked in over the years. The number one question I would be asked time and time again is how to cook a proper 5 star dining experience steak. So I guess I should share it (though I am sure many people know how it is done and has been discussed here, perhaps my take will revive the style).

    First of all the cut:

    Look... there are a lot of cuts from NY Strip, Rib Eye, filet, and so on. But for all intents and purposes lets go with a standard BONE-IN NY Strip. The same technique can be used for a rib eye, but consider the thickness and density and adjust accordingly.

    Cut of Choice: NY Strip BONE-IN, Rib Eye BONE-IN. (With New York strips make sure it has that line of fat on the opposite side of the bone, some butchers screw up and remove it. THE FAT HAS GLORIOUS FLAVOR, as does the bone.)

    As a rule of thumb you should always buy your meat from the butcher block when dealing with something like steaks, roasts, and pork chops (even thick sliced bacon and Italian Sausages in some cases). The fresher the beef the better and most grocers and butchers keep their best and most flavorful cuts behind the glass (anything wrapped in saran wrap is usually not as desirable, as fresh, and sometimes are the mistake cuts made by the butcher). Do not purchase steaks from wholesalers like Costco/Sam's Club and serve that crap to your guests. You pay more (surprisingly) and the quality is not what you're paying for. Check the ads for your local grocers frequently to see the best deal. Around where I live we have places like Vons(Safeway), Ralphs, and Albertsons, for example. I have seen choice steak cuts there for as low as 5.99 (6.99 average) a pound and that is insanely cheap where a 4-pack of choice steaks at a wholesaler store is around 30 bucks. Your meat is fresher from the butcher and it is cheaper when on sale. Now this price is in an upscale beach community not close to a freeway in Los Angeles. I have gone into places like Carson and Lawndale (a low income place in the same county) and have seen these cuts as cheap more often or about 50 cents less during special sales. Remember, you can freeze meat only once and butchers are usually awesome people. If you ask them to separate them into two or three sets of 2, 3, or 4 steaks (depending on how many people you usually cook for) they will be glad to do so and you can freeze those other steaks for as long as 3 months. (MAKE SURE YOU DEFROST THEM AND LET THEM GET TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE COOKING THEM!)

    So, the next question is, Do I get select, choice, or prime? Now... Ill be damn honest with you lot. Yes, prime is the best quality cut and the most tender. But I have fooled other friends/chefs (at restaurants like The Palm for example) to thinking the meat is prime by cooking choice cuts rather well. Anyone can buy a prime cut of meat and butcher it so why spend 9.99 to 19.99 a pound when you don't have to do so. Trust me, especially for home chefs, go with choice cuts (if you're a Vons shopper I think they call it "Signature" which is the same thing, and other US stores are starting to have their own titles for grades, but they are almost always Choice) and practice your technique first. In most cases if you kick ass at cooking a choice cut to the near quality of a prime cut you save money and enjoy good cooking all the time. Select cuts I use for stews and sometimes I will grind select flap meat into ground beef. I do prefer choice ground beef for burgers though and use select in things like my lasagna and Mongolian goulash, but I want to help you save every penny you can. Buy a meat grinder too, it helps save money in the long run if you have a butcher that deals in flap meat and some of the lower grade cuts.

    For future posts I don't like to do exact measurements. I know this sounds silly but if you measure everything you do every time you cook you will take FOREVER!!! What you should do is start with a strong guide and adjust to your preferences. I am sharing with you what I did when I worked in restaurants for speed and quality.

    Ingredients for serving 4:

    - Four 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick CHOICE NY Strip steaks (bone in) (defrosted if you had frozen them and have them at room temperature.)

    -Safflower Oil* (about 1 tablespoon per steak)

    -Sea Salt (with or without iodine is fine) and pepper (preferable fresh ground black peppercorns)

    -A light sprinkle of dried or fresh oregano* (OPTIONAL)

    -Four Knobs of butter (for four steaks we're talking a quarter stick) to finish.

    Direction:

    1. With a large grill pan or large frying pan (some saute pans work, too) you want to put 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and coat it. Get that pan nice and hot by setting your burner to maximum. (FEEL THE HEAT!).

    2. Season the steak you plan to put in first for searing. I would crank the salt grinder 10 to 12 times (with a salt grinder on the finest setting) and pepper always half as much as I do the salt (so 5 to 6). Add a sprinkle of dried or fresh oregano.

    3. When the pan has a small bit of white smoke coming off of it put the steak season side down and sear for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. While the steak is searing season the unseasoned side the same way you did the bottom.

    4. Flip steak over with tongs and sear for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes again. DO NOT FIDDLE OR PRESS DOWN ON THE STEAK. Let the damn thing cook. Messing with it can affect the finished product.

    5. Now take the steak and hold it on the side with the strip of fat and let that fat cook for a good 45 seconds to a minute. You'll have to hold it with your tongs so be careful not to drop the damn thing as you could spatter hellfire hot grease onto yourself, your loved ones, or your pets. Once done place the steak on a rack or butcher paper to rest for at least 30 minutes to no more than an hour.

    (Resting is optional but highly advised. Some of us have other crap we have to do, so waiting 30 minutes is a pain. But in the same respect letting the steaks rest gives you time to make your sides and other stuff, so it is heavily advised.)

    (Repeat steps 1-6 for each steak you plan on cooking). DO NOT CLEAN THE SEARING PAN! WE NEED IT LATER!

    6. While steaks rest set oven to 420 degrees of fiery death!!!! :D

    7. Take a baking tray and line it with tin foil.

    8. Set steaks on baking tray and place in the oven. For rare 8 minutes, for medium rare 9-10 minutes, for medium 11 to 12 minutes. I would HIGHLY advise to never cook steaks medium well or well done. I have walked out from the kitchen in restaurants I have worked in and literally refused to serve well done steaks (at 60 dollars a pop mind you) to some moron who doesn't want it chewy and mostly gets their steaks from Black Angus or Denny's... I do shame them in front of other customers too. b^^ But keep in mind I stand behind my work and if the food is not to their satisfaction I eat my words and cook it the way they want it. Never happened, EVER! (though one time I did butterfly a fillet to ensure someone's obtuse concern). If you want a well done steak have some roast beef from the Home Town Buffet. But not in a fine dinning restaurant.

    9. Remove steaks from oven and let them rest on the plates you plan to serve them on for about 5 minutes.

    10. During this time take the butter you have been holding onto for "oh so long" and place it on the frying pan you used earlier to sear the steaks. Melt the butter down with the juices from steak that are in the pan and then pour the butter sauce atop each steak when in melts. You can do this while the steaks are resting on their plates after you serve up your sides onto the plate itself. You don't have to watch the butter so much as long as the heat is on medium/medium low. Then turn the heat back up when you can pay attention to the butter so you don't burn it.

    Serve and enjoy. If a hot lady is with you, she will "love you long time".

    I know there is nothing overly original about this style of steak making, but it is tried and true for over 60 years all over the world. So why mess up a good thing with seasoning salts and other crap that good cuts of meat don't need?

    *Don't use olive oil. It has a distinctive taste to it and the steak should speak for itself. If you do as I said above you won't need that extra flavor and olive oil works best with Filet of Beef cuts (pretty much because fillet has no fat on it so it needs some add-ons to accent it's initial flavor). But NY Strips and Rib Eyes do not need this taste and I have found 90% of the time it lowers the quality of the dish. Safflower or even Sunflower oil are the better oils to use in the case of these standard cuts of steak.

    *This is one of the few times I say dried oregano is better. Why you ask? Because dried oregano is a bit more potent and in turn you can use less of it and it is also less prep. Simple as that really. But if you want to be Captain "Suave" in the kitchen you can go ahead and prep fresh oregano till your head explodes for all I care. b^^

    The butter sauce is HIGHLY advised but not necessary. (DO NOT USE MARGARINE or BUTTER SUBSTITUTES because you can get pop and splatter results if you do). You should use standard salted butter. US or European style, it does not matter, though European style butter has more fat than water content per tablespoon so in turn more flavorful. My preference is usually European style, but either works.

    TIP: Want the grill marks? Use a grill pan or sear your steaks on a BBQ and finish them in the oven. Ironically many restaurants con their customers by saying they BBQ it or cook it over an open fire. Well, they sear it over an open fire or on a grill. But to ensure perfection every time they end up finishing the cooking in an oven. Nothing wrong with that, but it gives you something to think about when you go to a steakhouse. b^^

    There are other techniques used to cook these exact same steaks and perhaps I'll show another common technique that is simple enough. But I prefer this method because all the food gets done at the same time. Unless you have some godly frying pan the size of a sumo wrestlers left ass cheek you cannot always cook 4 steaks (or more) at once and have a meal for 4 people ready all at once. So this method is general use for simplicity and the ability for you to prepare other things for dinner without having to keep a birds eye on the meat you are cooking.

    If you have any questions or concerns or would like to know more about, BEEF, just send me a message or get a discussion link to my attention!

    Thanks for reading. And remember, when it comes to good beef, always trust TheBEEF!!!

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  1. wartface
    I use your method when I cook 1" or less steaks. I have a cast iron skillet I use for that. 

    However... when I want a really, really great steak I order 2" bone in Ribeye's from my butcher. Here in Hermosa Beach, Ca, Albertson's, has them on sale right now at $5.88 per pound for Choice grade. I bought these 2...


    When I got home I salted them on both sides and put them on a sheet pan with a slightly elevated cooling rack so they get the circulation, then i put them in the fridge for about 5 hours. That's dry brining. It helps retain the moisture in the meat and the salt gets absorbed deeper into the meat. I take them out of the fridge an hour before I want to grill them to get them close to room temp. Right before I put them on the grill I blot them dry and add some Beef Love... rendered suet. It adds flavor.

    My grill... It's actually a Ceramic oven that you can grill on, you can smoke with it and it is a very, very good bread oven.


    When I grill thick steaks on my BGE I use the Reverse Sear method. I set the BGE up as an oven with the cooking temperature at 250 degrees. I have a meat thermometer in them while they are baking and when the interior temp of the steaks reach 105 degrees I pull them off the grill and put them on a plate while I adjust my BGE to get the heat up to Mach 10. I have a blower for that so the coals get red hot quickly. 

    I have 2 grates installed before the cook starts. A small one down low... 2" from the red hot lump coal for searing and then the one that is higher up that I baked the steaks on. 
    High up for baking... 
    Down low for searing... 

    Right before I put them back on the grill to sear I blot them dry and baste them with more Beef Love. I keep turning them and rotating them because I don't want any grill marks on them... I want them to have a nice even crust over the entire surface top and bottom. When my Thermapen says the interior temp is 125/130 degrees I pull them off and tent them with tin foil and let them rest.

    My steaks come very nicely with that method...


    I bake sourdough bread on it too...
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/food_pictures/15866033928/