pan-searing flank steak: mega fail

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by failingcook, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. failingcook


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    Can't boil water
    I tried to pan sear some flank steaks (two pieces, both about the size of a McDonald's patty but maybe 2 patties thick). According to the recipe, I was supposed to coat the pan with 1 tbsp of oil and then cook each side for 2 min over high heat (I used medium high) to obtain a medium rare.

    There were a few problems that I encountered:

    1. the oil burned off rather quickly, blackening the pan

    2. both sides cooked way too quickly; by the time the total 4 minutes are up, both have developed a black crust covering most of the surface

    3. the center did not develop a pink that I'd expect from a medium rare steak, but rather it had a darker maroon colour (kind of like blood gone bad)

    What am I doing wrong?

    I tried redoing this over medium heat, cooking both sides for 3 min. I ended up with a steak that wasn't charred as badly, but still it wasn't a nice brown that I'd expect. It turned into a medium well to well done steak.
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    At home cook
    1. Make sure you heat the pan before putting the oil in. Heat the pan over medium heat so it heats evenly. Once the pan is real hot, add the oil. The oil will come to temp very quickly now that the pan is hot, so you can put the steak in right after you put the oil in. If you're not sure whether or not the oil is hot enough, you can wait to see the first signs of the oil smoking - but then put the steak in right away. 

    2. Either the pan is too hot, or you left it for too long. 

    3. Same as (2)

    Personally I feel like 2mn per side is a pretty good rule of thumb to pan sear a steak to medium rare. So I would first experiment with lowering the heat. If lowering the heat does not develop the crust you'd expect from a properly seared steak, then raise the heat again, but try 1 1/2 mn instead of 2mn. 

    Also make sure your steaks are at room temp when you put them in the pan. I take mine out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. 

    Also make sure your steaks are perfectly dry when you put them in the pan. Take a paper towel and absorb all surface moisture before and after seasoning the steak, before it goes in the hot pan. 

    Make sure you rest the steak. Better to have it a bit too pink in the middle and then let it rest for a few minutes under a piece of lose aluminum foil for "carry over" cooking. 

    Out of curiosity, what kind of pan are you using? 
  3. everydaygourmet


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    your pan must be hot and also since the steaks are somewhat small I wouldn't bring them all the way up to room temp, season with salt and pepper I use a combo of  lighter colored olive oil and butter for the sear. I do not time but check for the desired color of the sear, then turn the steak over for about 1 minute and place in a preheated oven (350) for about 4-5 min check for doneness

    The Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat



    Open the palm of your hand. Relax the hand. 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 this out the next time you have a raw steak to cook.)


    Now 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.)


    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.


    Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is medium 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.