Steak in the United States of America is an iconic entrée that elicits passionate responses and opinions in consumers that like to enjoy beef. Sirloin, strip steaks, and carne asada are some of the top-selling items at restaurants nationwide. Looking to try your hand at creating the perfect meal at-home? Figuring out the best ways to cook steak will yield the most delicious, mouth-watering cut of meat to serve to your loved ones.
Temperature or doneness of a steak are a deeply held personal opinion for consumers that can even potentially cause conflict. In fact, a new survey finds that Americans are steak afficionados. In a poll of more than 1,000 adults across the U.S., commissioned by Meats by Linz, 70 percent consider themselves meat-lovers, with steak being one of their favorite foods. Three in four men love a good steak, compared to 65 percent of women.
The study also reveals people are even more judgmental about how others like their steak. That being said, watch what you order. One in three Americans say they’d judge a date if they order their steak well-done. Nearly the same number of men (37%) and women (32%) feel this is a dating faux pas.
In seeking an amazing steak dinner experience, some consumers have decided to take matters into their own hands. When cooking a great steak, home-cooks have a wide variety of options to achieve beefy deliciousness. StudyFinds has gone to our sources to discover the top five best ways to cook steak. What is your favorite way to cook up steak? Let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Ways to Cook Steak, According to Pro Chefs
Steak cooked over red hot charcoal is a vision of iconic Americana. From images of Dad cooking in the backyard for his family, to grand summertime cookouts, outdoor grilling is nearly synonymous with great steak. “Grilling is a favorite, classic cooking method for steak, from steak connoisseurs and BBQ pit masters to first timers. Whether grilling up a fine dinner for two or hosting a family cookout, grilling makes for excellent flavor guests will want to rally around. And, you don’t have to be a grilling guru to get it right—it’s easier than it seems!” says Aspen Ridge Beef.
There are many resources available for home-cooks with an interest in perfecting their steak game. YouTube, SkillShare, and other social media platforms have a wide selection of instructional videos. “Of course, before you get sizzling, you’ll want to know how to cook steak to perfection. Whether you’re a kitchen rookie or a culinary extraordinaire, there’s no harm in reaping a few pointers. For that, we’ve hand-selected some of the best recipes on YouTube to bring you a step-by-step guide on how to cook steak,” writes Man of Many.
Grilling imparts char, smoke, and flame to the steak. “The Grilled Steak. This one is easy but very effective. Charcoal grilling cooks not only your steak, but it also adds smoky, charred flavors to it that you can’t live without. The secret is starting your steak on the hottest part of the grill and then moving it to a colder spot to get cooked through. Your thermometer will come in handy again. If your grill has a lid, leave it open, and always go for coal over gas, the results might be similar, but there’s no way of substituting the flavors from burning ambers(sic),” says Five Star Home Foods.
2. Pan Seared
Pan searing a steak requires less equipment compared to grilling, but it can also be intimidating for cooks who have never tried this method. All you really need is a heavy bottom pan like cast iron. However, once mastered, this technique will allow home-cooks the opportunity to enjoy steaks year-round. “Pan-searing is a great way to satisfy that craving indoors. Cooking steak on the stove: Produces in a yummy brown crust thanks to the Maillard reaction,” says Painterland Sisters.
A summary of this method is as follows: “The traditional method is one of the best ways to cook a steak for beginners. Additionally, this is the method that many steakhouses often utilize. It involves searing each side of the steak alternatively on a ripping-hot surface until the center is cooked to your liking. While this is one of the simplest and best ways to cook a steak, it is not perfect. It does not work with bone-in cuts of steak (if done in a pan) because the meat must have contact with the heated surface. The traditional pan-sear method also relies on the diffusion of high heat to cook the center of the steak. Unfortunately, this results in an overcooked exterior ‘ring’ or ‘band’,” explains Your Steak Guide.
“Pan frying a steak is not dissimilar to grilling, except it doesn’t require you go outside. Just like the grill, you want to make sure your pan is hot. A cast-iron pan or a similar heavy-bottomed skillet works best because they hold more heat. And when you drop a steak into a hot one of those, the Maillard reaction has no excuse not to do its best work. Martha Stewart recommends that instead of oiling the steak like you would for the grill, you simply salt and pepper the steak, then drop a lump of butter in the pan, and immediately cover it with the steak. Cooking times are similar as for grilling, but you may want to have a mesh splash guard handy and get your ventilation going. Otherwise, your kitchen will be covered in grease spots and your home will smell of fried meat for way longer than your ability to enjoy it,” adds Mashed.
3. Sear Roast
Sear roasting is a two-part cooking method. As the name suggests, first heat a pan to brown the steak on both sides, and then transfer the steak to the oven so it can finish cooking to the desired temperature. For best results, “Don’t cook a cold steak. To ensure the steaks cook evenly, it’s important to let your steak come to room temperature before cooking it (if you have time). You don’t need to wait until the meat is exactly 72 degrees. And you certainly don’t need to take its internal temperature with a meat thermometer. I usually try to leave my steaks out for an hour or so before cooking,” according to Heartstone Farm.
Here is a more detailed look into the steps required: “Preheat oven to 375°F. Add a few tablespoons oil to a large cast iron skillet, and heat over a high flame until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the steak and sear each side (including the thin, fatty sides to render) for two to three minutes each without disturbing, until browned. Transfer to oven with a tablespoon of butter to finish cooking until 130°F(rare) is reached,” writes Food 52.
This method can also be used when cooking game or other types of meat like lamb. “Oven-Baked. It is currently the perfect time of the year to turn on your oven and cook some wild game or steak the old-fashioned way. By setting your oven at just the right temperature, you can easily have your steak rise and sizzle to the best of its ability. We suggest searing the steak quickly over a hot pan before placing it in the oven, and then using a meat thermometer to make sure that it is cooked to your liking,” says Yo Ranch.
This legendary cooking method seems oddly difficult despite being the most primitive and primal way to cook a steak. All you need is white hot embers from either charcoal or wood. With the caveman method or the dirty steak, steaks are placed directly atop glowing coals. “This one is our favorite way to cook a ribeye. Also called the ‘caveman method’ or the ‘naked-charcoal method’, it’s just what you imagine: placing the steak directly on the burning coals. Here’s a pro tip, use a hairdryer to remove the excess ash from the ambers(sic) before placing your steak. Flip it just once, and you’ll be in front of the most beautiful caramelized, thick crust you’ve ever seen,” says Five Star Home Foods.
A breakdown of the direct coal cooking method is as follows: “Good with: Any proper, thick steak. Equipment: Charcoal, tongs. Pros: Simple, versatile, excellent flavor. Cons: Takes slightly longer, slightly uneven cook, can burn, must use a thick steak. The caveman method of cooking a steak is generally less-known than the others. However, I believe that its simplicity earns it a spot in my list of the best ways to cook a steak. It works well with most steaks and requires a minimal amount of equipment. All you will need is some charcoal (and something to start the charcoal). This method is unique because it sears the steak over direct coals (900-1300°F) and imparts a wonderful smokey, char flavor. The Caveman Method: Ignite a bed of coals and let it burn until white, Set the steak right on top of the coals and cook for 4-5 minutes, Flip, cook for 4-5 minutes, Remove steak from coals and season with salt and pepper, Rest for 8-10 minutes. The steak should be seasoned only after the cook,” says Your Steak Guide.
Celebrity Chef Alton Brown has also lauded this method in his popular cooking instructional videos, “There are days when you want to be the master of technology and technique, using complex recipes and equipment and amazing your friends in the process. And there are other days when you just want a nice, hot chunk of charred meat as soon as humanly or Neanderthally possible. And for those days, Alton Brown has your back. Start with a couple of (relatively thin) skirt steaks, season thoroughly with salt, and leave out of the fridge on a rack to warm up for an hour. Start enough charcoal to easily cover the bottom of your grill, Alton recommends natural lump charcoal, and when it’s about ready (no flame, just glowing and ash) place the steak directly on the coals for 35 to 40 seconds a side. Remove from the heat, wrap well in foil, and put aside for 15 minutes to rest. Then slice across the grain, and consume immediately without silverware or table manners,” writes Mashed.
5. Sous Vide
Sous-vide is a French term that translates to ‘under pressure.’ It involves vacuum sealing steak in plastic and then cooking it over time at very precise temperatures. This is achieved with the use of a water bath that is heated by an immersion circulator. The circulator maintains an exact temperature for the water bath, and this in turn ensures that the steak will be cooked to the desired doneness. “Cooking beef sous vide is perfect for taking your gathering up a notch. Whether serving a special family dinner or inviting over friends, sous vide will deliver a mouthwatering, chef-level steak, evenly cooked and simple to make. Which steaks are best for sous vide? Use the sous vide method with Filet Mignon, Ribeye, or New York Strip for a restaurant-worthy steak,” says Aspen Ridge Beef.
Once again, an overview of the method is as follows: “Pros: The most precisely and evenly cooked centers possible, The best tasting steaks, Easy for anyone to use. Cons: Long cooking times, Expensive equipment. Minimal cooking experience. The number two slot goes to sous vide cooking. Sous vide involves vacuum sealing you steak, cooking it for upwards of an hour in temperature controlled water, then finishing it off with a sear. As weird as this method might sound, if you asked a 3-Star Michelin chef, they might think we were crazy for not slotting sous vide at number one. Without a doubt, sous vide leads to the most evenly cooked and best tasting steaks out there. What really hurts sous vide, though, is the lack of a cooking experience. Outside of the two-minute sear at the end, you don’t get the sensory experience of cooking with sous vide. The smoky, aromatic smell of a strip getting cooked on high heat? The relaxing, mouth-watering time you spend flipping your rib-eye? Neither happen with sous vide cooking. But make no mistake, the end results are exceptional,” assures My Chicago Steak.
Indeed, praise for this method always comes down to being able to achieve the exact level of doneness for any cut of beef. “Why we love it: Super accurate and evenly cooked steaks. Sous vide may sound fancy, but thanks to today’s technology, it’s actually quite easy. Not to mention, it creates very little mess and results in steak cooked to perfection. Why sous vide your steak? The meat is sealed with its juices, keeping moisture and flavor in the meat. It results in big flavors from your preferred spices thanks to being sealed in. It’s easy enough for anyone to do at home. Timing isn’t as important. What you’ll need: Sous vide machine, Vacuum sealer and bags or heavy duty freezer bags, Large pot, Steaks: Best for steaks with great marbling and at least 1.5 in thickness, Kosher salt, pepper, and any other dried spices, aromatics, or pastes you like,” explains Painterland Sisters.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Meat Thermometers
- Best Seasonings for Salmon
- Best Burgers in America
- Best Ways to Cook Chicken Breast
- Aspen Ridge Beef
- Man of Many
- Five Star Home Foods
- Painterland Sisters
- Your Steak Guide
- Heartstone Farm
- Food 52
- Yo Ranch
- My Chicago Steak
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.