How to cook a perfect steak: 3 easy ways to do it

What if we told you that you could have restaurant-quality steak at home? Steak is one of those proteins that seems intimidating to prepare, but is actually completely achievable with a little forethought and expert advice.

Below are three easy ways to make a mind-blowingly delicious steak at home.

Choosing your steak

It starts with choosing the right cut of meat, which is entirely up to you.

“The best steaks come from 22- to 24-month-old beef, which in my opinion is USDA Angus beef,” he told Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, which sells to restaurants and consumers.

However, there are budgets and options to consider when grocery shopping. For John Castellucci, executive chef of Cooks & Soldiers in Atlanta, it’s a matter of discernment. The USDA’s primary, optional, and select distinction is voluntary for cattlemen (and not all farms can move toward certification, though all are inspected), so if it’s at Whole Foods, Castellucci will choose premium. However, if it’s at a farmer’s market, where a small supplier may not be appreciated, he looks at the color of the meat, the marbling and whether the farm is labeled. He also prefers grass-fed and grain-fed beef, which he considers more flavorful.

“For me, I try to look for more of a farm that I’ve either heard of or know is local, or a grower or seller that I know only works with really high-quality farms,” ​​Castellucci said.

When you get the steak home, LaFrieda suggests removing it from the package and storing it in the refrigerator or in butcher paper—which he says is best—or layers of paper towels if you don’t have butcher paper. “This will provide the best amount of oxygen to the collagen. And that really breaks down the collagen, making for a much more tender steak and will help with the cooking process,” LaFrieda said. He said the steak will keep like this in your refrigerator for up to a week at 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many chefs prefer to take the steak out of the refrigerator between 20 and 60 minutes before cooking, because if you want your meat to cook evenly from the edge to the center, it needs to be close to room temperature. However, LaFrieda has concerns about food safety and prefers to leave it in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook the steak. Food safety aside, Reported on Serious Eats that letting the steak come to room temperature does nothing for the cooking time anyway. So it’s up to you whether you want to leave it in or take it out, as long as you follow food safety guidelines (you should never let perishable food sit at room temperature for more than two hours).

Here are three methods to try the next time you’re feeling carnivorous.

1. Wood-fired steak

A wood-fired steak will give a nice crust on the outside.

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A wood-fired steak will give a nice crust on the outside.

Castellucci specializes in wood-fired grilling Cooks and soldiers, and this is the method he prefers at home as well. “It’s really minimalistic. You can use a wood fire for a lot of really basic grill settings. Even if you have a tray rack and a few bricks, you can create a wood fire setting up a grill anywhere, whether it’s in the woods or at home,” said Castellucci. Once you’ve set up your grill, Castellucci suggests using a mix of oak and hickory chips for a nice flavor profile that doesn’t burn too quickly.

If he’s grilling steak at home, it’s most likely ribeye.

Fire up the grill about 30 to 45 minutes before you plan to cook so the wood has time to break down into coals. Castellucci then creates a side of the grill that has indirect flames (the flame will be on the other side of the grill). “What it allows me to do is just get a really nice, hot crust on the steak without getting a direct flame, which will create that charred flavor profile,” he said. “When you get that really, really hot crust, it will create the Maillard reaction with the proteins.”

Before placing your steak on the grill, make sure the grates have time to fully heat up. You don’t want to use oil (it can cause burning), and if the grates aren’t hot enough, the steak can stick, he said. Also, don’t get too excited with the seasonings: Castellucci prefers to keep it simple with coarse sea salt rubbed into the steak instead of steak seasoning, allowing the flavor of the meat to shine through.

Once the steak is on the grill, Castellucci will grill it for eight to 10 minutes on the first side, assuming it’s a 3- to 4-inch steak. He makes quarter rotations every two to three minutes and then flips the steak after eight to 10 minutes.

To see if the steak is done, you can use a digital meat thermometer. A medium-rare steak will be done between 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the steak is done, Castellucci pulls it out and places it on a rack, which allows the muscle fibers to relax before you cut it. Aim for about seven to eight minutes, he suggested.

2. Gas grill

Pat LaFrieda advises leaving your grill lid open while grilling your steak.

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Pat LaFrieda advises leaving your grill lid open while grilling your steak.

LaFrieda prefers to use the gas grill for his steak. To start, he’ll turn on his grill and close the top lid, letting it reach 700 degrees F (or as close as possible). He then immediately takes his steak out of the fridge and onto the grill and doesn’t close the grill again. “Because it’s the natural water that’s in the steak that needs to escape, you don’t want that smoky steak,” LaFrieda said. “You really want the part facing the flame to cook.” After making the final flip, he turns off the grill because he doesn’t need any more heat.

During the cooking process, LaFrieda flips the steaks twice to make sure they are cooked through. Turns the steaks only with tongs so as not to pierce the meat. “Then I immediately pull those steaks off when the internal temperature reaches about 120. So at 120, I want to pull those steaks. And then I put them on the plate with aluminum foil over them. And I let them sit for a good six minutes,” he said.

For this method, LaFrieda envisioned a porterhouse steak, but she could work with a ribeye, flat iron, hanger, etc. If he’s cooking a steak, he’ll marinate it first to add flavor and help caramelize.

3. Reverse circumcision

Get out your cast iron skillet and mixed butter for a back seared steak.

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Get out your cast iron skillet and mixed butter for a back seared steak.

Demetra Overton, the chef behind Cute savantis a fan of the reverse roasting method, which involves an oven and a cast iron pan.

She likes to start with a cut of steak at least 2 inches thick—perhaps a porterhouse or ribeye.

Cover the steak with salt and then pplace it on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven at 225 degrees F. “That hot air can circulate around it and give us a nice sear out of that steak,” Overton said. If you’re feeling really fancy, Overton said you can season the steak, place it on the grill and refrigerate overnight, which will dry it out even more. “The drier your steak is, the better crust you’ll end up with,” she said.

The steak stays in the oven for about 20 minutes if you want it rare (105 degrees) and a little longer for medium rare (115 degrees). Overton said to take the steak out of the oven before it reaches its final temperature because the cast iron pan will raise the temperature.

Place the cast iron skillet over high heat and add some neutral oil (seriously, just a teaspoon or so). If the steak looks moist, feel free to pat it with a paper towel. “Just remove the moisture, because moisture is the enemy of the crispy crust we want,” Overton said.

Cook the steak for two minutes on each side and use your tongs to turn it to the side and get the edges as well. The day before cooking the steak, Overton likes to make a mixed butter with shallots, parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc. “Once you’re done cooking the steak, you can turn off the heat and brush it with this blended oil and just brush it around, melt it on both sides, and you’re done,” Overton said.