Winter causes many of us to shut down the grills and bring the manly art of charring slabs of meat into the kitchen. Although it's not the same as getting grill marks and cherry wood smokiness in your steaks, the following steps will allow you to have a steak worthy of being served at your favorite steak house.
- Spice rub & oil - Your choice of spices is completely personal, but should include salt and pepper, at a minimum. I have become enamored with the grinders that have been released in the last year or so. Spice Islands has a Smoky Mesquite Seasoning grinder that is just excellent for beef and poultry. I usually add McCormick's Garlic & Onion Medley, Spicy Seasoning (Blend of Peppers), Black Pepper Grinder, Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt Grinder, and Season All. I make sure to season both sides of the steak and press the seasonings into the meat. If you have 15-45 minutes to marinade it, drizzle a little bit of EVOO onto both sides and let it sit. The olive oil will help the seasonings be absorbed by the meat.
- Pan Fry - Heat an oven safe pan to medium-high heat and lightly drizzle the bottom with EVOO, using only enough to keep the steaks from sticking. I use an All-Clad 13" stainless steel pan that easily accommodates 2 NY Strip or Ribeye steaks, 3/4" - 1 1/2" thick. Place the steaks in the pan and cook them for 5 minutes on one side. Do NOT give in to temptation and start checking the steaks and moving them around. Simply set the timer for 5 minutes and walk away.
- Oven Finish - Once the timer goes off, turn the steaks over and put the pan into a pre-heated 450F degree oven. Before putting the pan in the oven, you can add some worshestershire sauce to the top of each steak. I like to use the convection roast mode for finishing the steaks, but a conventional oven will work just as good. Close the oven up and set the timer again, 5 minutes for Rare-Med Rare, 7 minutes Med Rare-Medium, and 9 minutes Medium-Medium Well. If you need to cook the meat longer, go back to the store and buy a better piece of meat.
- Let It Rest - After the timer buzzes, take the steak out of the pan and stick it on your plate. Do NOT poke it, prod it, or slice it with a knife, no matter how good it smells. Simply walk away and let it rest for 5 minutes. The muscle that is your dinner needs to relax a little bit and pull the juices back into the center of the steak. Although it's tough to do, letting the steak rest before you cut it will make the steak juicier and much tastier. While it's resting, you can add a sliver of regular or compound butter to the top of the steak to make it more like something you'd get at Morton's.
That's it. 4 simple steps for making the best steaks ever. Be aware that the times for the oven are approximates and you will probably need to adjust them to get the perfect doneness for your steak. After a few times through this process, you should know exactly how long it will take. I have used a modified method for cooking a huge london broil recently and was very happy with the results, so don't be afraid to use your imagination with the choice of meat and seasonings you use.