Intro: How to Make the Perfect Steak (Steak Frites)
If you are looking for a meal that is a sure fire way to impress your guests it's cooking a steak dinner. Specifically Steak Frites, which means steak and fries in French. When I was in Belgium, Steak Frites are served in many if not most restaurants. This meal is a guarantee hit unless your guests are vegetarians or vegans.
We are going to do a reverse sear method of cooking the steak. It involves cooking the meat at a low temperature for a period of time and then searing or "finishing" the meat. What I like about this method is you get a perfect crust on the outside and an even cook on the inside to what ever "doneness" you want.
The browning (Maillard reaction) over high heat is what will give the steak that wonderful complex and savory flavor.
So it's entirely up to you what you want to serve with the steak, it doesn't have to be fries, this Instructable will concentrate on showing you how to cook the perfect steak,
I like a medium steak so my cook times will be based on a 1" thick steak. It will change depending on your cut of steak and equipment. Cook is an art and science so you have to adjust to your conditions.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
- Rib Eye Steak or another cut of beef that makes for a good steak like a T-Bone. You want it nice and thick, at least 1" to 2" thick.
- I prefer a rib-eye as it's got a good combination of fat and meat. If you like you can use rib steak (it's a rib eye with the bone) too. I personally don't like filet mignon, it doesn't have much flavor or taste in my opinion.
- General rule of thumb is the more tender the cut of meat the less flavor the meat has. So we want a cut that has a good combination of tenderness but not so tough that it's hard to chew, those cuts are best left for other methods of cooking like low and slow or marinades.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil)
- Pan and Wire Rack
- A Heavy Cast Iron Pan
Step 2: Video
Check out my video on cooking the perfect steak. Written directions and pictures follow.
Step 3: Method - Oven Cooking the Steak
- Pre-heat an oven to 200F.
- Dry the steak with paper towels and if you have the time leave it uncovered in the fridge on a wire rack over night or a few hours. This will keep the surface nice and dry and will aid with getting a nice crust.
- Place the steak on a wire rack in a pan.
- Season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes, I like my steaks medium. So through trial and error a 1" steak cooked at 200F for 45 minutes with my equipment is perfect.
- You can adjust the oven temperature and the cook time, depending on if you need to speed up the cook time. It's best to cook at a lower temperature as the steak will cook more evenly.
Step 4: Searing the Steak
Things are going to get smoky, so I suggest doing this outside on the BBQ as a heat source or on a portable induction cooker. You need a heavy cast iron pan to do the sear, avoid using a thin pan as it just won't hold the heat or Teflon pan as they can't stand high temperatures very well before the Teflon breaks down (they also warp).
- Heat the cast iron pan over high heat and add some vegetable oil, I like canola oil as it has a high smoking temperature. Do not use Olive oil.
- Once the oil starts smoking, add a big glob of butter.
- Remove the steak from the oven and place it in the hot pan. Sear for about 40-60 seconds. Baste with the oil and butter in the pan if you like.
- Flip and sear for another 40-60 seconds.
- Once you achieve a nice golden to dark brown crust remove from heat and plate the steak.
- Serve with french fries or other starchy side right away.
- Optional: Cook some sliced onions in the left over oil and butter and serve with the steak.