A perfectly cooked steak is what many people – with good reason – think of as a perfect meal. This rib-eye recipe is an extremely classy take on a restaurant-quality steak dinner, but other than remembering to salt the steak ahead of time (which is not a deal breaker, just recommended), it’s 30 minutes from start to finish.
Here are the five things that often help make a good steak great, and a great steak marvelous.Tweet This
5 Tips for Cooking a Perfect Steak
1. Salt the Meat
Salting the meat a day before cooking it draws out excess liquid (concentrating and developing the flavor) and gives the meat more ability to form a nice caramelized exterior. You can salt it an hour ahead, but the longer time allows the seasoning to get past the surface into the middle of the meat.
2. Allow the Meat to Come to Room Temperature (or Not)
For most of my life I’ve bought into the “rule” that it’s important to allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking. The thinking is that otherwise the inside will take significantly longer to warm up and cook, and by that time the outside of the steak will be overcooked. I’m actually much more flexible about this now, and think that steak expert Elizabeth Karmel’s theory that it’s ok to cook a steak right from the fridge is right. A thinner steak does better going from fridge to grill or pan or broiler, as the outside will have a chance to brown before the inside gets too well cooked.
3. Pat the Meat Dry
Pat the meat dry before putting it in the pan. If the meat is wet, it won’t sear well.
4. Use an Oil with a High Smoking Point
You should use an oil with a high smoking point—like canola or vegetable—to cook steaks on the stove, as butter or an oil with a lower smoking point will burn at a lower temperature. And burnt fat will cause the steak to have a burnt taste, even if it is not overcooked itself. Butter is a lovely thought, but add it at the end and just allow it to melt in the hot pan.
5. Turn on the Exhaust Fan!
This doesn’t affect the quality of the steak, but turn on the exhaust fan! The odds are that there will be a lot of smoke, so prepare by turning on the fan, opening windows and doors as you can, and thinking of this as a potential test to see if your batteries in the smoke alarm are still in working form.
And there you have it. Roast some potatoes once the oven is preheated, add a little sautéed spinach (cooked up while the steak is in the oven) or a green salad, and you’ve got that perfect steak dinner in your own home.
Rib Eye Steaks with Thyme-Garlic Butter
- 2 rib-eye steaks about 1 ½ inches thick, and 1 to 1 ¼ pounds each
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- The night before cooking the steaks, salt and pepper them liberally, and put them on a plate (if you have a wire rack, place them on the rack over a plate). Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
- One hour before cooking the steaks take them out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large skillet (big enough to hold both steaks) over high heat. Pat the meat dry and the steaks to the pan. Sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip the steaks and brown for another 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 120° to 125°F for rare, 125° to 130°F for medium rare.
- Remove the steak from the pan to a cutting board, pour off any fat that has accumulated in the pan, and place over medium low heat. Add the butter, garlic and thyme and stir just until the butter has melted and you can smell the garlic (this will be quick as the pan will be quite hot). Brush half of the seasoned butter over the resting steak and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour the rest of the butter into a small bowl.
- Slice the steak with a large, sharp knife, and fan out the slices on a serving platter. Brush the slices of meat with the remaining melted butter.
Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved