How to Cook a Steak





Introduction: How to Cook a Steak

Here's a simple way to get the most flavor out of your steak. Anyone can do it.

Step 1: STEP ONE: Buy the Best Steak You Can

No matter where you live, you can get top quality meat. There are butcher shops out there, even in smaller cities. Take a minute to find one. Or you have a number of mail order options. Wherever the source, buy the best steak you can afford. Life is too short to eat cheap meat. Okay, you've found your source, get a 12-16 ounce New York steak, sometimes called a shell steak. If you look at a T-Bone steak, the smaller side is the filet, the larger is the New York. Take it out of the fridge and let it sit uncovered for 30 minutes to an hour.


While your steak is sitting out, take a cast iron or stainless steel pan, put it on the burner and turn it up as high as it will go. (Open a window, it's going to get smokey). Preheat your oven to 400. Dab your steak with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Season one side generously with salt and pepper (1 teaspoon or more). Wait until the pan is smoking, turn on your exhaust fan.


On one of the narrow sides of the steak, there's a fatty side. Put that down first. Sear for one minute. Flip, and sear the other narrow side for one more minute. Holding the steak with tongs, sear the ends for about 20 seconds.

Step 4: STEP FOUR: Cook in Pan

Place one wide side down, cook for 2-3 minutes. Get fresh tongs, flip, steak, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 5: STEP FIVE: Into the Oven

Place steak on a rack (see video for how to make one) and cook for around five minutes. Use meat thermometer to test. 125 Rare, 135 Medium Rare. Anything more than that, you're overcooking it. You can also use the poking method to test for doneness. (see video)

Step 6: STEP SIX: Let It Rest, Then Slice and Serve

Whenever you're cooking a protein, you want to let it rest. This will help the juice in the meat, making it more tender and tasty.

Watch the video and see how we did it:

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    If you let it rest for 10-15 minutes, it would be cold when you went to eat it. Do you need to then reheat it again before serving?

    4 replies

    I forgot to mention you should cover the steak loosely with foil. Let me know if that makes a difference.

    Still, it's not going to be hot like right off the griddle. We just went out for steak the other night and my filet mignon was cooked perfectly and steaming hot. So I wonder how restaurants do it, as I can't imagine they have steaks sitting around "resting."

    Think "sous vide"

    In the restaurant where I work, steaks are pre-grilled over charcoal every second day, then vacumized and put in the fridge (1 celsius, just over freezing). This could be done a la minute as well, but we can't let the grill burn all day..

    After that, they are taken out of the fridge again, and put on a baking tray, together with some tomatoes, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. a slice of herb butter is placed on top of the steak as well, and it is put in the oven at 200 degrees celcius. It's left in there for 10-16 minutes, depending on how it's ordered. (raw/medium/overcooked)

    After that, it just goes on the plate, and is either taken directly to the table, or is put under a heat lamp. (especially meant to keep dishes hot) It is however served as soon as possible.

    I hope this helps!

    So, is there any "technique" involved with the thermometer? Like, where to poke and how deep?
    Any recommendation on a thermometer? Thansk!

    1 reply

    I like to insert the thermometer in the side of the steak, getting the needle to the middle. I have a Thermopen, which I'll tell you up front is very expensive ($100). But I love it because it gives a very accurate temp in two seconds so you're not losing a lot of heat from the oven while you're waiting for a read, and it's waterproof. But the dial thermometers are $5-10 and there are digital thermometers in the $20-30 range.

    So that's what I'm doing wrong - I don't "seal" the steak, just cook it. What herbs are most appropriate to add to the steak?

    3 replies

    I like rosemary. If you're using fresh rosemary, use it sparingly. To make a pan sauce, wipe out the pan, crank up the heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add one minced shallot, saute until softened about a minute or two, add a half cup of red wine, a quarter cup low sodium chicken stock, a pinch of salt and pepper, boil and reduce by half. Add 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, taste, whisk in two tablespoons of butter and you're done.

    Wow, sounds a bit difficult for my expertise xD But I'll give it a go anyways. No one is born with knowledge about everything. At some point we all have to learn. Thank you :)

    It's like anything. Best way to learn is by doing, adjusting, and doing again. If I can do it, you can do it.

    Hey Everyone. This is the End-All of steak cooking methods. I have been cooking my steaks exactly this way for a while and it has yielded (IMHO) without a doubt the best tasting steak I have ever had. Great Instructable! Now I'd love to hear peoples cast iron seasoning methods!

    3 replies

    When I bought my cast iron pan, I preheated the oven to 400, then poured about two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the pan. Using a paper towel, I coated the entire inside surface of the pan, then placed the pan upside down on a baking sheet and put that in the oven for two hours. Take it out, let it cool, wipe the pan with paper towel or cloth and you're done. I'm not going to get into the cleaning methods, because I don't want to start a war. People usually fall into two camps, either 'never wash it, just use coarse salt' and 'wash it with soap and water, reseason as needed'. Also, Lodge cast iron sells preseasoned pans if you want to skip this step.

    Thank you! Great steak! Cheers!

    You're welcome, and thanks so much for the endorsement! More instructables from us on the way.

    Excellent info on searing, I've reclaimed/restored multiple antique cast iron pans over the last few years for friends/family and I love them. This will work great out camping (yes, I bring steaks on every trip!)
    When it comes to searing, My favorite 8 min dinner (2-4 times a week) is steak/baked potato (microwaved while the grill is heating) and 4 min of that is cooking the seasoned steak in a clamshell foreman grill - (the ones with removable plates) - for 4 min at 400 degrees... they come out perfectly seared and juicy.
    A few min resting and they are fantastic.

    1 reply

    I love your efficiency!


    I've seen one method that 'reverses' the process. Put in oven FIRST - heat to temp desired (93 if I remember) using a 'leave-in' thermometer - THEN 'sear' to the desired interior temp - this method offers more control over the final product. I like this idea.

    Great method, though I think I'm going to make it on my side burner on my grill next time. The house had a great smell but visibility was poor with all the smoke. Also, will have to get a better cut and quality of meat and you're right, the teflon coated pan didn't give an even searing. Altogether though, one of the best home-cooked steaks I've had in a while.

    1 reply

    Cast iron pans are great. They're inexpensive, and if you treat them right, you can give them to your grandkids years from now. Just follow the instructions on the pan for seasoning it in the oven before your first use.