Searing Steaks

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by floydt, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. floydt

    floydt

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    I have cooked steaks at home using charcoal grills, gas grills and with a regular oven broiler. I would like to know the best way to sear a steak at home like in the classic steakhouses. I'm looking for the outside of the steak to be like the "Pittsburgh" style but medium inside. What temperature does it take to accomplish this? Would the gas infrared broiler found on most all-gas commercial style ranges be sufficient or does it take even more BTU's to get it done. TIA
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Home stove broilers just don't have the BTUs to get a really good sear on a steak (or anything else, for that matter). :( In my experience, the best way to do what you want to do is take a cast-iron frying pan, heat it on top of the stove until it smokes (this takes several minutes, especially on a reguar burner), season the steak lightly and toss it in the pan, cook it for a few minutes until it develops a crust, then flip it and stick the pan in a 450 degree oven until done. DO NOT TURN THE STEAK EXCEPT TO FLIP IT THAT ONE TIME. Too much bothering and it won't get that crust. (Sorry about the lack of specific timing, but I just do it by feel; probably someone else here can give you accurate numbers. :eek: )

    The only drawback to this is that if you don't have a good hood or other exhaust system, your smoke alarm will go off (even if it is miles away from the kitchen). :p

    Since I have no way to grill outside, I always do this, and it works just fine.
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Taking Suzanne's advice one step further, there are cast iron "grill" pans out there. They are cast iron pans with grill ridges and they work great for applications such as this.
     
  4. chefjohnpaul

    chefjohnpaul

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    I concur on the cast iron grill pan and yes you need a better hood than I have at home, the fire dept. has actually come out once and been alerted and sent back to the station a couple of times already :rolleyes:

    I even offered the fireman some seared premium hereford hangar steaks right off the cast iron grill but did not have enough for everyone...............

    JP
     
  5. cookmonster

    cookmonster

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    I have an old cast iron skillet that I use that works great! Heat it up and pour some fat in, let the fat heat up. Meanwhile season the steak with kosher salt, pepper, etc. Place in skillet without touching it until you have the crust
     
  6. floydt

    floydt

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    Thanks for the advice, I will try it as soon as I can. Unfortunately all of my cast iron skillets are in a lye bath and will of course need to be seasoned afterward. Since I am looking into a major kitchen renovation and will consider a commercial-style all gas range, will the broiler in a Wolf/Thermador/DCS oven accomplish the same thing? That is many months away, though. The gas broiler is the main reason I think I want all-gas vs. duel fuel, but only if it will sear steaks like I want.
     
  7. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I don't think your infra-red broiler will give you the crust you are looking for. The hot-pan method will.
     
  8. floydt

    floydt

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    I just figured that 1,500F would be good for something, maybe not. Does anyone know how it is done in restaurants?
     
  9. dano1

    dano1

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    I just figured that 1,500F would be good for something, maybe not. Does anyone know how it is done in restaurants?

    cast iron pan or a french flat-although i've seen many so called "chefs" toss a steak over an open burner and baste with butter. your true steak houses have rollout broilers that would not be very conducive to the home environment.

    I'd personally go for a true french flat-lots of versatility(and heat). your hvac work can be pretty expensive though....

    Stay away from "commercial style" home appliances. They may have the stainless look but aren't up to snuff-low output, sealed burners, no drip pans, narrow sizes, etc....try auction houses or restaurant closings. Don't pay top $$ for an item someone else did last year. Stainless buffs out nice;).

    hth, danny
     
  10. suzanne

    suzanne

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    I think the restaurants that use infra-red broilers have ones much, much hotter than anything available for home use (fire laws and all that). If you DO go with a true professional model of anything, you will have to install a lot of insulation to get past your local building code (if you even can, with extra insulation). And as Danny says, the hvac work will be a monster (if you can do it at all in your locale).

    It's faster, easier, and cheaper to re-season your cast-iron pans than to pay all that for equipment and contractors. :rolleyes: And as long as you heat them enough, they will ALWAYS give you the crust you want. :lips:
     
  11. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    Well, here's the thing, what are your local building codes?

    Most companies list 2 stats on their equipment, one being the temperature range, and the other bing the btu's. I think the btu's is the more important rating as it reflects the load the can be applyed. Sure it gets to 1000F, but thats no good if the temp drops 500F with the first 10 lb chunk of meat being put in/on it.

    Yes, if you go for a full stove system, there will need to be a full hvac installed. I happen to think this shold be mandatory even for houshold stoves. Matter of scale yes, but there is nothing worse than an un-vented stovetop.

    As to installing all this in a house type structure, well, were I live there are a number of houses that have been converted to restaurants that have had no significant difficultys. Certainly check the codes. If you are going to take your kitchen to base for a re-model, see what the limit is on what can be done. Retaurant cook equipment is sturdyer and often comperably (and sometimes cheeper than) priced to home equipment.