From flank to flap, T-bone to tri-tip, I’ve had my fair share of cooking steak. As an occasional private chef, I’ve had the good fortune of cooking cuts of beef for some really wonderful people, and I’ve learned a few things along the way about how to get the best sear. From air drying the night before to not skipping on the buttery finish, your pasture-raised steak deserves a patient cook who is willing to respect the art of steak. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to get an incredible sear, every time. – Rachel Johnson, Farmhouse Delivery Marketing Team
Step 1: Pick & Prep
The best steaks come directly from Texas ranches; researching your rancher and inquiring about their ethical raising practices and responsible processing procedures are the keys to the best product. Choose a bone-in ribeye, New York strip steak, or if you’re feeling adventurous, Denver Steak. The night before you plan to cook, prepare a sheet pan with a double layer of paper towels. Discard any wrapping the steak may have come in and pat dry. Set steak on top of paper towels and let air-dry (uncovered) in the fridge overnight. The drier the surface, the richer the steak’s ‘crust’ will become.
Step 2: Heat a Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron is a very reliable heat conductor, no matter if you are using an electric or gas stovetop. Heat a 10″ or 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add a shallow 1/4″ of a neutral cooking oil (such as Organic Canola or Grapeseed) with high smoke point to the pan. The oil should shimmer, not smoke. Pat steak dry with paper towels once more. As the pan is heating up, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on one side. Gently lay steak into the hot oil, seasoning side down, and let cook for about 5-8 minutes.
Step 3: Sear & Butter Up
Sprinkle more seasoning on the top of the steak. It is important NOT to move the steak, but you can press on the top side, very gently, to ensure an even surface. When the bottom has gained a significant crust, carefully flip steak and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Once your steak is almost done searing, add a bundle of fresh herbs (thyme or rosemary are best) and two tablespoons of butter to the pan. Carefully tip the skillet towards you with one hand, and spoon melted butter over the steak repeatedly with the other hand.
Step 4: Give it a Rest
Once the butter is toasty and brown, transfer steak to a cutting board, sprinkle with a bit more salt (such as flaky Maldon sea salt), and let rest for at least 10 minutes. It is important to let the steak rest before serving, as the proteins in the meat will seize, rendering a tough, chewy result. If you are feeling extra indulgent, top with another pat of butter and extra fresh herbs. Serve steaks whole for an impressive presentation, or slice against the grain with a sharpened knife.
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