The Secret to Grilling the Perfect Steak (Indoors and Out)
Let's talk steak. Just the thought of a thick, juicy slab of perfectly cooked beef will make the mouths of enthusiastic carnivores water. (Those who don't eat meat may want to just move along to the next post.)
New York Times dining reporter Julia Moskin fills in her readers on her tried-and-true method for cooking steak on the stovetop: Forget the talk about dry rubs and marinating, she advises. Buy your meat from a butcher. Choose thinner, boneless cuts — marbled, about 1 inch thick. Keep the meat refrigerated until about a half-hour before you're ready to cook, then pat it dry with paper towels. Use a cast-iron skillet (unoiled) and turn the heat up "insanely" high. Salt the pan (not the steak) and heat it some more. Lay down your meat, wait about a minute, then flip it every 30 seconds until – 4 or 5 minutes later – you have a perfectly cooked steak. It'll be crusty on the outside, pink on the inside.
"If it's good quality steak and you don't cook it for more than five minutes per inch, you really can't mess it up," Richard Schatz of New York City's Schatzie the Butcher reassures Julia's readers. "Steak is nothing to be scared of."
Good to know. But given that the weather is finally warming up and grilling season is moving in, you might want to save Julia's stovetop steak tips for a rainy day and fire up the grill.
Food Network's Grilling Central gives you step-by-step instructions for grilling steaks like a pro: Pick a nicely marbled cut that's at least an 1 1/2 inches thick. Trim off some (but not all) of the fat. Let the meat reach room temperature as you prep, oil and heat the grill. Pat the meat dry, season it with salt and pepper (both sides), and when the grill is smoking-hot, place the meat on the hottest part of the grill. After a bit, reposition 90 degrees for pro-worthy grill marks. Flip. Reposition. Check the temp. When the steaks are done (130 to 145 degrees F), remove them from the grill and let them "rest" for 5 to 10 minutes, giving the juices a chance to "settle." Slice and serve.