4.12.2013

Can It Be? The Perfect Steak?!

For Mike's birthday, we went to Outback. Good steak. Today, I made steak that I liked even better. Mike prefers his with that apple wood- smoked flavor, but I can't really do anything about that. We live in an apartment and have no grill or smoker or anything like that, though my apartment did get pretty smoky in this process. 

One of my 30 Before 30 things to do (I have been slacking on lots of them. For example, I haven't been taking a picture every day. Or a bubble bath once week.  Oh well.) was to "cook the perfect steak." That might not be a big deal to you, but I've botched several steaks. Mike loves steak, and I've gotten some great cuts from Publix and over-cooked them, under-cooked them and then microwaved them (eek.), or over-marinated them. So for me, cooking the perfect steak would be quite a feat.

I did a lot of research. I knew already that searing the meat and then roasting it would seal in the flavor the best. But there were lots of other methods. So I smooshed them all together and this is what I came up with, and it worked. My steak was crispy on the top and bottom, and perfectly medium in the center. It was oh-so- juicy and tender. Mike's was more like medium-rare, and he likes it more medium, but his was a thicker steak. So, if you are like me and struggle to make the perfect steak, try this. You may want to tweak it to make it your own, but this is what worked for me. Please picture me doing this all very quickly and frantically. Because that would be accurate.

Ingredients: 
A pound of sirloin, separated into two fillets (Mike's was thicker and bigger than mine). Get the good stuff.
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Butter
Spray oil
Cast iron pan (regular oven-safe would probably work too, but maybe not as well).
Foil
Paper towels

1. First, bring your meat to room temperature. I had mine sitting out for maybe an hour. Don't worry- we cooked out any potential bacteria.
2. While that's warming up, bring your oven to 500 degrees with your cast iron pan inside, and turn a burner to medium-high (if it's electric like mine. If it's gas, maybe wait so you don't have open flame!).
3. When your oven is preheated, pat the meat dry with paper towels, spray a bit of spray oil onto them (so they don't stick to your hot pan), and season one side with kosher salt and cracked pepper. I was pretty liberal with it, but not crazy-style. 
4. Pull your very hot cast iron pan out of the oven and onto your already hot burner and drop a pat of butter in there so it sizzles. Be sure it gets all over the bottom of that skillet.
5. Put your steaks, seasoned- side down, in the skillet. DO NOT MOVE THEM. Leave them in place for one minute, and season the side that is up. When one minute passes, Use tongs to flip them over onto a part of the skillet that has butter on it. DO NOT MOVE THEM. 
6. After another minute, put them in the oven. When two minutes have passed, turn them over again.
7. After two more minutes, take the pan out of the oven, put one small pat of butter on each steak (optional), and cover with foil. Let it rest there, undisturbed, for another two minutes or so. It will continue to cook a bit as it rests, and the juices will settle in.
8. Eat and enjoy.

Keep in mind: Mike's steak was 1 1/2- 2 inches thick and turned out medium rare. Mine was about 1 inch thick and was perfectly medium. I suggest an additional 30 seconds for every 1/2 inch of steak. You can use the "OK Test" to determine how done your meat is if you don't have a good meat thermometer. Like me-- mine stinks. Put your forefinger and thumb together like the "okay" sign. The fleshy part under your thumb is what medium rare should feel like. If you use your middle finger and thumb, that part will feel like what medium feels like. If you use your ring finger, that's what medium well is like, and your pinky with your thumb is what well feels like. It works! 

So, try this out and tell me what you think! 

xoxo, A