How to Prepare Your Steak

Preparing Your Steak

 

DEFROST

The best way to thaw a frozen steak is to place it in the refrigerator and allow to slowly defrost. Place your packaged steaks on a plate or baking sheet to catch any liquid that might escape during the thawing process. Our steaks range in size from 6 ounces all the way up to 3 pounds. Small steaks can thaw in a matter of hours and the large ones can take a couple days. While we enjoy a good impromptu grill-fest, planning ahead will ensure you get the best results possible.

SPEED THAW

OK, we get it. Sometimes you just need to eat now and your steak is still frozen solid. Keep your steaks in their package, place in a pot or large bowl and place in the sink. Run a stream of cool water over the steak and fill the container. Some folks like to keep the water running to facilitate thawing, but we’ve had good results without wasting our precious H2O. Once your steak is fully thawed, remove it from the packaging, pat dry with a paper towel, loosely cover and allow to sit at room temperature for up to an hour. While not critical, this is a great way to let your beef warm slightly and improve the end results.

OIL

A neutral vegetable oil is highly recommended for any steak preparation in a skillet. Canola is a common and popular choice. We frequently use grape seed oil in our kitchen because it has a light clean flavor and a high smoke point of about 420 degrees.

SALT & PEPPER

A well-seasoned steak is a delicious steak. Kosher salt is our standby for salt, although we like having a nice flakey finishing salt on hand to shower on our steak before serving. There are many schools of thought on when to salt. Our go-to method is to apply liberally right before placing in the skillet or on the grill. There’s only one kind of pepper in our book and that’s fresh-ground. The fine, dried variety is not as flavorful. You can add pepper when you salt your steaks. Perfectionists wait to when their steak has been removed from the grill or skillet to avoid any chance of imparting a burnt flavor to the meat.

THERMOMETER

A good quality instant-read thermometer is a must for cooking a perfect steak. There are numerous options available, but we use and recommend the high quality and accurate thermometers from Thermoworks.

Steak Temperature Guide

Here are the magic numbers you’ll need to determine when your steak is cooked to the degree of doneness you most prefer. The internal temp is when the steak should be removed from the heat. The steak will continue to cook so the temperature will rise during the rest period.

PREFERENCE, DESCRIPTION, INTERNAL TEMP

Rare Red center, very cool 110°F

Medium Rare Red, warm center 120°F

Medium Pink throughout 130°F

Medium-Well Pink center 140°F

Well No Pink Not recommended

STEAK HOUSE METHOD The classic way to prepare a steak. Works best for steaks 1.5” and thicker.

1. SEASON – Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add a light coat of vegetable oil to the skillet. Season steaks with salt and pepper.

2. SEAR – Place steaks in hot skillet and sear for 4 minutes, turning once. If a steak sticks to the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Wait until it releases on its own.

3. COOK – Place skillet in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes depending on desired doneness. Turn once half way through the cooking time. Remove from oven when preferred internal temperature is reached. See Steak Temperature Guide on page 6 for suggested temperatures.

4. REST – Remove steaks from a skillet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. The steaks will continue to cook and the temperature will rise about 5 degrees.

 

SEARING A fast and easy way to cook steaks 1.25” or thinner

1. SEASON – Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat until hot. Add a light coat of vegetable oil to the skillet. Season top side of steaks with salt and pepper.

2. SEAR – Place steaks, seasoned side down, in skillet and sear 4 to 5 minutes until nicely browned. Season the top side of the steak with salt and pepper. If the steak sticks to the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Wait until it releases on its own.

3. FLIP – Turn steaks over and allow to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. After 2 to 3 minutes, use a thermometer to test the thickest part of the steak. When the temperature reaches the desired level, remove from the skillet. Remove steaks from a skillet and serve.

 

REVERSE SEAR  This method is the darling of many “how to cook a steak” tutorials. The Reverse Sear cooks a steak at low temp, then adds a nice crust as the finishing step. This is a good technique for thicker steaks.

1. SEASON – Heat oven to 275 degrees. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place a metal rack in the middle. The idea is to elevate the steak from the pan.

2. COOK – Place the pan, grill and steak in the oven. Bake until the steak reaches the temperature that matches your preference. See the chart for exact temperatures. For medium rare, cook until 120 degrees. This can take up to 60 minutes, but begin checking the internal temperature at 30 minutes.

3. REST – Remove steak from the oven, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. SEAR – Add a light coating of vegetable oil to a heavy skillet and heat over high heat until hot. Sear steak on each side for 60 to 90 seconds to form a beautiful crust. Serve.

 

 

DIRECT GRILLING – GAS GRILL A great way to cook steaks 1.5” or thinner in the great outdoors

1. SEASON – Turn on grill to medium heat. Season grill with a light coat of vegetable oil. Season steaks with salt and pepper or your favorite rub.

2. SEAR – Place steak on hot grill, close lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Lift steak off the grill, turn 45 degrees and place back on the grill. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes.

3. FLIP – Turn steak over and cook for 2 minutes. Lift steak off the grill, turn 45 degrees and place back on the grill. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes. For medium rare, the total cook time is 8 minutes. Check the temperature of the thickest part of the steak to determine when it is done to your preference. See chart for temperature guidelines.

4. REST – Remove steaks from a skillet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 5 minutes. The steaks will continue to cook and the temperature will rise about 5 degrees. Serve.

 

INDIRECT GRILLING – GAS GRILL Use your gas grill like an oven to cook thick, large steaks.

1. SEASON – Turn on grill to medium heat and allow to come to temperature. Season grill with a light coat of vegetable oil to the skillet. Season steaks with salt and pepper.

2. SEAR – Place steak on hot grill, close lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Lift steak off the grill, turn 45 degrees and place back on the grill. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes.

3. FLIP – Turn steak over and cook for 2 minutes. Lift steak off the grill, turn 45 degrees and place back on the grill. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Check the temperature of the thickest part of the steak.

4. COOK – Turn off half of the burners on the grill and place the steaks on the side so they are not directly above flame. Close the lid and allow to cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Turn once half way through the cooking time. Remove from the grill when preferred internal temperature is reached. See chart for suggested temperatures.

5. REST – Remove steaks from a skillet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. The steaks will continue to cook and the temperature will rise about 5 degrees. Serve.

 

INDIRECT GRILLING – CHARCOAL GRILL Utilize the high heat generated by a charcoal grill to cook steaks 1.5” thick or less.

1. SEASON – Spread coals under half the surface area of your grill and leave the other side empty. Spread cooking oil lightly over the grill. Ignite the coals and keep the grill lid closed. Season steak liberally with salt and pepper or your favorite rub.

2. SEAR – Place the steaks directly over the coals and cook for about 4 minutes, cooking two minutes per side. For the best grill marks, rotate the steak 90 degrees after the first minute on each side.

3. COOK – Move your steaks to the “cool” side of the grill that does not have coals directly under it. Cover the grill and let them cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Remove from grill when preferred internal temperature is reached. See chart for suggested temperatures.

4. REST – Cover steaks loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes, where they will continue to cook, raising internal temperature another 5 degrees. Serve.

 

REVERSE SEAR – CHARCOAL GRILL Your charcoal grill is an excellent tool to prepare a steak with a beautifully charred crust and an even, pink warm center.

1. SEASON – Heat one section of your grill while leaving an area that is not directly heated by flame. Keep the grill lid closed to create an oven-like atmosphere that reaches 350 degrees. Season steaks with salt and pepper or your favorite rub.

2. ROAST – Place your steaks on the “cool” side of the grill, away from the direct flame. Close the lid and cook until within 5 degrees of your desired doneness, 10 to 20 minutes. See chart for suggested temperatures.

3. SEAR – Remove Steaks and turn up the heat on the grill to high heat. Return the steaks to the “hot” side of the grill, with flame directly underneath. Cook for three minutes, flipping the steak over after one and a half minutes.

4. REST – Remove the steak from the grill and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let stand for 10 minutes. The steaks will continue to cook and the temperature will rise about 5 degrees. Serve.

 

TRAEGER GRILL Your wood pellet grill is not just for smoking, it’s also great for cooking a steak.

1. SEASON – Liberally apply salt and pepper or your favorite rub to the steak. Estranger recommends pouring the seasoning onto the palm of your hand and massaging it into the meat.

2. SMOKE – Fire up the grill, set to Smoke and allow steak to take on the flavor for 25 to 30 minutes.

3. PREHEAT – After your steak has smoked, remove it from the grill. Turn control to High and let grill preheat for 10 to 15 minutes so it is running at the highest possible temperature.

4. REST – Return steak to the hot grill and cook until it reaches the desired doneness. Use a thermometer to determine the exact time to remove from the grill. See the temperature chart for specific details. Finish with a pat of butter. Serve.

 

INDIRECT GRILLING – CHARCOAL GRILL Utilize the high heat generated by a charcoal grill to cook steaks 1.5” thick or less.

1. SEASON - Spread coals under half the surface area of your grill and leave the other side empty. Spread cooking oil lightly over the grill. Ignite the coals and keep the grill lid closed. Season steak liberally with salt and pepper or your favorite rub.

2. SEAR – Place the steaks directly over the coals and cook for about 4 minutes, cooking two minutes per side. For the best grill marks, rotate the steak 90 degrees after the first minute on each side.

3. COOK – Move your steaks to the “cool” side of the grill that does not have coals directly under it. Cover the grill and let them cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Remove from grill when preferred internal temperature is reached. See chart for suggested temperatures.

4. REST – Cover steaks loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes, where they will continue to cook, raising internal temperature another 5 degrees. Serve.