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Have you ever wondered how to cook a steak in a pan? Perhaps you’ve recently enjoyed a delicious juicy steak at a restaurant and want to recreate the experience at home. Maybe you just got your hands on a new cast-iron skillet and want to test its amazing cooking abilities.
The good news is that whatever the reason for your pan-cooking experiments, you should be able to enjoy a fantastic, cooked steak with nothing but a standard hot pan.
Learning how to pan-sear your steak will ensure you can bring restaurant-quality steak into your home and impress your loved ones the next time you want to cook.
How to Pan-Fry a Steak: Knowing the Essentials
Learning how to cook a steak on the stove isn’t as complicated as it seems. Most of the time, the perfectly cooked steak you get when you’re in a restaurant will come from a cast iron pan. There are tons of steak recipes that rely on the versatility of these kinds of pans.
Choose the Perfect Pan
To cook a steak on the stove, you’ll need a few essential things. First, you’ll need your pan – preferably cast iron, well-seasoned to ensure your steak doesn’t stick to the metal. You can use compound butter in your pan to help with keeping the metal from sticking too.
Prepare the Seasoning
You’ll also need to decide how to season your steak. While there are various steak recipes, most people will stick with kosher salt and pepper, olive oil, and a little fresh thyme. But, of course, you can always look at experimenting with other ways to season steak as you become more confident using your pan.
Choose the Right Type of Meat
Choosing the right kind of meat is fundamental when learning how to fry a steak. For instance, a boneless steak will be easier to pan-fry than something with a bone. Look for a New York Strip, Filet mignons, rib eye, or something similar, as thicker steaks are often easier to cook in a pan.
The Seasoning Process
Once you have your steak, follow these simple steps for the seasoning process.
• Place it on your cutting board and pat the steak dry with paper towels. This will help to prevent the moisture from damaging the pan-seared effect.
• Apply your seasoning to the meat. Usually, salt and pepper will do well for most people, but you can consider other seasonings.
• Leave your seasoning to sit for at least ten to fifteen minutes so it has a chance to absorb into the exterior of the meat.
Cooking Your Steak: How to Cook Steak in a Pan
Before pan searing your steak, turn your exhaust fan on to reduce the risk of smoke building up in your kitchen. This can be a common problem if the perfect steak for you has a lot of saturated fat and fatty areas that can create steam.
Step 1: Heat the Pan
If you want to create a restaurant-quality steak, place your pan on the stove and allow it to heat up. Add your oil to your pan when the skillet is searing hot. Note that stainless steel and cast-iron pans are generally the best for steaks. If the cast iron pan is hot enough, you should see the oil or compound butter sizzle.
Step 2: Add the Steak
Place your rib eye or fillet steak into the centre of the skillet over high heat, then leave the meat alone. Flip the steaks after about 2-3 minutes, when the bottom is a deep brown. If you want the perfect steak, you’ll need to be careful not to fiddle with or flip the steak constantly while it’s browning. As you cook steak, it needs to stay still for a few minutes to develop a good crust.
Continue the cooking process for rare to medium-rare “doneness” for another few minutes. You may need to remove the steaks from the heat quicker than dealing with a thinner cut.
Step 3: Add Some Flavours
Add around one tablespoon of compound butter and some fresh thyme during the last minute of cooking for a finishing touch.
If you’re serving your steak unsliced, place it on a plate and allow it to rest for just a few minutes before serving. If you plan on slicing your steaks, transfer the meat onto the cutting board, and rest them for five to ten minutes, covered with aluminium foil.
How Long to Cook the Perfect Steak?
Cooking time for the ideal steak depends on your desired doneness. If you like a well-done steak, you’ll need to wait until your steak is firm to touch before you stop cooking. On the other hand, a rare or medium-rare steak will be a lot springier and softer than a steak that’s well done.
Remember that cooking times for the best steaks will vary depending on your desired ways to cook a steak and how thick the steak is.
Check the thickness when blotting your steaks with a paper towel before pan-searing. If you’re not sure whether you need to cook your steak for longer or add steak butter into the mix, you can try using a thermometer.
A meat thermometer will allow you to test your steak’s internal temperature to see whether the right amount of juices is remaining. Usually, the temperatures will be as follows:
• Well done – 75 degrees
• Medium – 71 degrees
• Medium rare – 63 degrees
• Rare – 57 degrees
• Blue – 54 degrees
Remember to remove your steaks from the heat as quickly as possible when they reach the desired internal temperature, as they can continue to cook in the pan even when the heat is switched off.
Can I Cook Steak in a Regular Frying Pan?
You can cook the best steak in a frying pan, provided you know how to remove the moisture with a paper towel and get the pan to the right temperature. You’ll usually get the best-cooked steaks when using a cast-iron skillet or a stainless-steel pan.
Prime your pan in advance. Remember to remove any plastic wrap from your steak and allow the meat to rest for a moment before placing the steaks in your cooking utensil.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to let your steak rest once your steaks are cooked with any cooking method, and you’ve added the hot butter into the mix. Most of the best steak fillets and other steak recipes online recommend resting your steak to allow the juices to redistribute through the meat and any remaining compound butter.
If you remove your steaks from a pan and immediately cut into them, the juices will pour out, and you may lose some of the flavours of your new cooking method.
Do You Need Oil to Cook a Steak in a Pan?
Oil or hot butter will be necessary if you want to cook your steak in a frying pan. This will stop your steak from sticking to the pan. Avoid compound butter and other butter forms if you want to keep your steak as lean as possible.
Make sure to season your steaks in your pan before placing them correctly. Ideally, you’ll want to apply freshly ground black pepper and salt and leave the steak for about 15 minutes before putting it in the heat. This will ensure the steaks can soak up some flavour before you start cooking.
For the best results, use oil to season the pan and provide additional support to stop your steaks from sticking; then, about a minute before your steaks are cooked, add a small amount of butter for extra flavour. You can also add extra herbs and flavours with the butter, like thyme.
Remember to Rest Your Steaks
If you’re not planning on slicing your steaks, you don’t necessarily have to let your steaks rest before you eat them. However, allowing the meat to rest can add to the flavour of the steaks. After you’re done cooking, place your steaks away from the heat to sit for around five minutes.
As the steaks rest, you can add them to some tin foil or plastic wrap to keep them warm. However, a well-cooked steak will usually stay warm for a while after cooking.
Cooking a Steak is Now Easy-Peasy!
Are you excited to try your newly discovered dish?
Remember to wash your pan thoroughly after cooking a steak, as it’s easy for the salt and pepper to burn onto the pan if you’re not careful. The same is true for butter.
You may need to re-season a cast iron pan if you notice some scratching at the bottom of the pan or you think the pan might not be as slick and stick-free as it used to be. Pay attention to how long each steak takes to cook and keep notes for the next time you’re cooking with your pan.
This concludes our article on how to cook a steak in a pan at home. After this, you should have mastered the art of steak cooking!
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