Cast Iron Cooking-How to Cook A Steak

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We live in Nebraska which is known for 2 things....corn and beef. We enjoy nothing more than a good steak and although summer is grilling season, our preferred method for cooking a steak is the trusty cast iron skillet. This is an ages old method and gives you a wonderfully juicy steak every time, regardless of the weather.

Start with a well-seasoned cast iron skillet in the 8- to 12-inch range. You want to use a flat-bottom, not a grill bottom skillet.

Before we begin, a word on safety: you are going to be working with VERY hot metal. Use a double or triple thickness of potholders. Do NOT use a standard oven mitt, as when the pan heat penetrates, your hand will be trapped in there with it.

This technique will also generate a fair amount of smoke, so turn on your vent fan and crack a window to allow good airflow. Don't worry, though, the only smell that will linger will be that of delicious steak.

First, set your steak out and allow it to come to room temperature. Don't worry about it spoiling, you won't be leaving it at room temp long enough to do any damage.

Now, put your seasoned skillet in the oven and set the temperature to "broil." Allow it to heat for 15 to 20 minutes. While the oven is heating, season the steak on both sides with liberal pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a light coating of oil (not olive oil for this job since it's smoking point is too low). Once your oven heating is done, turn your large stove burner to high. If it's an electric stove, allow the burner to come to full temp. Remove the skillet from the oven and set it on the burner for another three minutes. You will now have an insanely hot cooking surface.

Using tongs, place the steak in the skillet. After 30 seconds, turn it over to brown the other side. Transfer the skillet to the center rack of your oven and cook for three minutes on each side. (NOTE: This cooking time is for an inch-thick steak. Adjust your time for thinner cuts.)

Remove the skillet from the oven, and move the steak to a platter to stand. This is perhaps the most neglected portion of any meat cooking process. If you cut into a steak, pork chop or even chicken before it's had standing time, you will end up with a platter dripping with juices that belong in the meat. Allow your steak to stand, with a tent of foil to retain the heat, for 10 minutes and you'll be rewarded with a steak that is as juicy on the last bite as it was on the first, and leftovers that won't have the texture of cardboard.

During the resting period, I crumble my favorite, Magtag Blue Cheese (from our neighboring state of Iowa) over the steak and it melts into a delicious, cheesy topping. YUM!!

Sharing at Michael Lee's Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.