Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pan Seared Rib Eye Steak

It's COLD... My Grill is buried in snow.

But I still want a steak dinner...

Sometimes you just want a great steak. No fancy marinades, no fancy sauces, no fancy spices... And much as I like my Grill... Sometimes you just want to have pan to serving plate in less than 15 minutes. Give this a shot and you may never eat a steak another way... The technique comes a bit from Alton Brown. Although he finishes in the oven (which I would do if using a thicker slice of meat). Here's the key... HOT HOT HOT pan. Not a hot pan with oil, but a HOT pan. I use my cast iron skillet for this. Heats evenly, retains heat and is so much fun to hear the sizzling steak when you start cooking. Fair warning, the process will cause smoke. No, it is not burning, but you do want to have a window open or the fan over your stove top running.

OK, here we go...
2 - 1 inch thick Boneless Rib-eye Steaks (about a 8 oz each)
1 teaspoon Canola Oil
1 TBS Kosher Salt
1 TBS freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp freshly Ground Sea Salt

Allow steaks to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
Heat your skillet... High for 5 minutes. No oil, no seasonings... just cast iron and heat. You want the skillet to be about 500 degrees.
Lightly coat steaks with conola oil, then liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the steaks in the pan and do not touch them for 1 minute. Use a kitchen timer. (Note: expect a lot of smoke, turn the fan on your hood).
Flip the steak with tongs (note: NEVER use a fork, never put holes in your meat when cooking, always use tongs) and cook for another 1 minute. Your steaks are now temped @rare.
Repeat each side for 1 minute each and your steaks are @medium rare (perfect for me)
Repeat each side for 1 minute each and your steaks are @medium (perfect for Jackie)
OR... Check the internal temperature of your steaks. Medium Rare steaks are done when they reach an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees (mine took 4 minutes to cook). Medium Well steaks (shudder) are done when they reach 145-150 degrees (Jackie's took 6 minutes).
Rest the meat for 5 minutes (Note: this step is VERY important. Have you ever seen steak served in a pool of blood? This step will fix that unsightly problem. The juices will collect in the meat and remain if you rest the meat uncut for 5 minutes. Actually, I rest mine in a double layer of aluminum foil. This also keeps the meat hot the entire time, so you can serve a HOT medium rare steak at the same time you are serving a HOT medium well steak. Just trust the temperature prob, and DO NOT EVER CUT INTO THE STEAK TO TEST DONENESS!
Alton does explain the proper way to check for internal temperature (from the side, not the top. You want to measure the temp at the thickest part of the meat, in the center. When you check from the top, it is hard to find the center).

He also explains a complicated set up for resting. I confess that aluminum foil works for me, and I did not follow his resting collection method for collecting juices. Buy the book and take a look for yourself if you want to get complicated.

Here's a shot of a medium rare steak and a medium steak (trust me, medium rare is better), but notice no dripping juices, they are all in the rested meat.



  1. Sometimes you just have to get out the cast iron pan! I usually like my steaks without fancy sauces or marinades. I remember when I was back home over Father's Day and we were going to make dinner...everyone brought their own steaks and just a couple of us were grilling. My BIL was getting a knife out to check for doneness...I told him to step away from my steaks...he wasn't going to stick my steaks with anything! If he wanted to ruin his that's another story!

    I have always done the grilling in our house, my husband with lite the charcoal chimney! ;D

  2. That steak looks wonderful Dave. You think it's cold now??? I caught a glimpse of the forecast over the next few days. We're going to be in the deep freeze. I grew up on many wonderful steaks and we didn't own a grill. My mom was the broiler queen. I've been craving steak with bernaise...I have no idea why.

  3. Curious, why the two types of salt? I know you don't do anything without having a reason, so I had to ask.

    It's been one year since I pan seared a steak. It might be on the agenda this week.