The romanticized union of fire and meat on a grill is most people's version of an ideal steak.
Growing up, we would grill during all seasons and through all storms, and somehow, the smell of beef on the grill when there was snow on the ground was even more savory, perhaps because it seemed like an outright defiance of the negative temperatures.
Either way, we would have never considered cooking a steak indoors - sacrilege!
Little did we know, pan-searing steak - hold your breath - in a frying pan, can create one of the best steaks you've ever experienced. The crux is in the crust.
When seared on a hot charcoal or gas grill, beef usually takes on the smoky taste of the charred grill marks branded onto its surfaces. While delicious, the flavor and heat aren't always evenly distributed.
Pan-searing - because of the flat cooking surface - evenly distributes heat and flavor...resulting in a caramelized crust that is to die for.
Here's how to make one of the best steaks you've ever had.
- A New York Strip or Ribeye works best for this type of preparation
- Peanut or vegetable oil (avoid olive oil; it has a lower smoking point, causing a burned flavor)
- 3 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
1. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the S&P absorb, locking in internal juices.
2. Place meat on counter so that it comes to room temperature to ensure even cooking.
3. Heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over high heat for about 5 minutes, then coat it with oil. Lay the steak in the pan and cook for one minute on each side or until the outside is light golden. It will likely smoke a little bit - this is okay!
4. After the steak has been seared on both sides, flip it every 30 seconds to develop a deep-brown crust and even cooking.
5. When the steak is close to done - about 5 minutes for medium rare - add the butter. Tilt the pan and continuously spoon the butter on top of the steak for a minute or two, until the butter browns.
6. Remove the steak from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes to keep juices locked in. Feel free to serve with the butter drippings ;)