Well, I started posting “How To” articles with How To Make Your Own Bacon and a lot of people came back to me and told me it changed their entire lives. With unlimited custom bacon at their disposal, people are claiming nothing can hold them back and they are able to now conquer any task imaginable. This led me to believe that if I keep posting “How To” articles, we could probably solve all of the world’s problems, one post at a time. Welcome to the new weekly series here at The Paleo Fix – How To Tuesdays.
Each Tuesday I will be posting new articles and guides on how to accomplish a task that will help you cook, prep, feel, look, perform and live better. If you have any suggestions for posts, email them to me at [email protected], or comment on the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.
Welcome to Part II in this newly emerging saga: How To Cook The Perfect Steak.
For a long time, I was stuck with the idea that the best and only way to cook the perfect steak is to grill it. While grilling is an excellent option, especially for a nice fatty rib eye, there is a better way. This certain technique can be done year round using a cast iron skillet and an oven.
Step One: Find a Good Cut of Meat
This conversation about how to cook the perfect steak shouldn’t even exist without mentioning first you need to start with some excellent beef. If you’re not sure where to source your meat from, check out the previous guide I wrote on Source Matters: A Guide To Buying Red Meat.
You’ll find if you get a fattier cut of conventionally raised beef that the fat is white white, waxy and sometimes even grainy. There are no nutrients here and the fats are of a lower quality. If you can’t find any grass-fed beef, either look harder or choose a leaner cut such as filet. Not only are you going to get a lot more vitamins and minerals in a grass-fed cut of beef, it will also taste better. Can’t go wrong with that.
Step Two: Bring the Meat To Room Temperature Before You Cook It
This step is pretty simple, let the steak rest at room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes before you cook it. Contrary to popular belief, the WHOLE cut of meat doesn’t need to be at room temperature, just the outer parts that are going to be seared. Going from such a sharp increase in temperature from a steak that is refrigerated to the hot cast iron skillet will dry out the steak.
This is also a great time to season the steak. Salt and pepper liberally on each side. No fancy spices are needed here, you want to be tasting the meat here and will be flavoring it with butter and herbs later.
Step Three: Heat Cast Iron Skillet and Oven
If you don’t already have a cast iron skillet – get one. They are ridiculously versatile and last forever. You can use them for plenty of recipes already on this site as well from breakfast to dessert. It is indeed a fact that you can’t learn how to cook the perfect steak without one. So get one. Turn the oven on at 450F and heat the cast iron on medium high to high.
Step Four: Sear
The general rule of thumb I use in the sear portion is if you have a fatty cut of steak, don’t use any oil. If you have a lean cut of steak, then use some oil. You want to choose an oil with a high smoke point so you can get it really hot without it burning – think avocado oil. Olive oil doesn’t hold up that well, so don’t use it. Coconut oil may make your steak taste a little too tropical, so skip it unless you’re into that sort of thing.
You want to to create a nice seal to lock in the moisture of steak and create a nice crusty exterior, so make sure that your pan is extremely hot and that the oil has warmed up as well.
The searing should take 2-3 minutes each side. The myth that you can only flip one time is overblown, so don’t worry about flipping the steak multiple times. I usually only flip once due to convenience sake as I’m typically cooking a side dish or doing something else other than staring at my steak waiting to flip it.
Step Five: Add butter, herbs and throw in oven
Remove the cast iron skillet from the flames and top the steak with a pad of grass-fed butter and herbs of your choice. This butter will melt over the steak as you cook it and the herbs will infuse into the fat as it cooks. Be creative and use whatever you’d like for herbs. Basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary are all classic staples.
Once the butter and herbs have been added, pop in the oven at 450F for roughly 4-5 minutes. This will vary depending on the thickness of your steak and your desired level of rareness, but the general rule of thumb is 3-4 minutes per inch of meat for a medium rare finish. Don’t go overly thin with the steak here or the sear will cook the thing entirely through. Not good.
Remove steak after allotted time and baste with the butter and herb mixture.
Step Six: Let meat “rest”
After you remove the meat from the oven, it is best to let it rest. Remove from the cast iron skillet and place on the plate. Cast iron holds heat very well, and your steak will continue to cook if you don’t place it on a plate and leave it in your pan. If you want to be a complete pro at this, toss your plate that you are going to be using in the oven for about 1-2 minutes or until it warms up anywhere between room temperature and the temperature of the steak. It is thought that the contrast of very hot meat and a cold plate will dry out the steak too quickly.
It is debatable how resting the meat exactly this helps retain the juices (aka flavor), but there is no denying that it works. This results in a much more tender, flavorful and juicy steak eating experience, which is the best kind of steak eating experience there is.
Step Seven: FEAST
Here is the culmination of all of your hard work. What is the point learning how to cook the perfect steak without getting to eat it?! Enjoy!
Hope you liked the latest installment in How To Tuesdays. If you did, make sure to share on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tag The Paleo Fix so I can see your creations! If you have any suggestions for How To guides, reach out on social media or email at [email protected]
Do you like learning how to take care of yourself from a food and fitness standpoint? Excellent! You can find more awesome resources for taking your movement and physical performance to the next level each week over at The Movement Fix by Dr. Ryan DeBell with Movement Fix Mondays.