Cooking steaks on a cast iron

How to cook steaks. There is no other way (though variations are expected). [ul][li]Start with good steaks (e.g., rib eyes, porterhouses, NY strips). [/li][li]Take them out of the fridge an hour to two before starting to cook. [/li][li]Apply a light coat of oil, enough so that the meat has a sheen to it. [/li][li]Apply a rub or other seasoning of your preference. Do not apply ketchup. [/li][li]Put a cast iron pan on the range top. (You do have a cast iron pan, don’t you?)[/li][li]Turn the heat to high. [/li][li]Leave it on high for fifteen minutes or more. [/li][li]Put the steaks in the pan. DO NOT TOUCH THE STEAKS![/li][li]After a few minutes, flip the steaks. DO NOT TAUNT HAPPY FUN BALL![/li][li]A few minutes later, move them to a finishing rack. [/li][li]Let them rest for at least five minutes before cutting them. [/li][li]Reflect on how good it is to eat meat. [/ul][/li]This method can produce a little smoke, so it’s good to be ready to open a window. Since our smoke detector will occasionally go off, I’d like to experiment with this on the grill. Aside from asking how you’d vary from the above (especially if I forgot a step!), I thought to collect opinions before playing.

Do I put the pan out on the grill and leave it like that for the same fifteen minutes? Or do I light the grill and put the pan on the range top as before, carrying the hot pan to the grill at the last minute? When I’ve preheated heated the grill similarly, the temperature gauge on the grill hood reads close to 550, but I’m not sure I trust it. It’s about 30 degrees outside at the moment, so ambient temperature will likely make a difference.

Also, do I throw open all the burners on the grill or just the one under the pan? The grill is a Blue Ember i-Que, with 4 burners at 14,000 BTU each. I have no idea how that translates to range top temperatures or what that means in grill-dom.
Any thoughts?



Why bother with the cast iron? Skillet cooking is for indoors. If you are going to go outside and use the grill, just go outside and use the grill.

That’s pretty close to my method. For oil I use Sesame, and for a seasoning I like Chipotle and ancho powder.
Except I go for a couple minutes each side, not a few. However for really think ones there is enough time to sear grill marks(sue me I find the grill marks aesthetically appealing) on each side before panning and still leave the rare side of medium rare. Also you need to put butter on top to melt during the rest period.

Pretty close to mine too, albeit on the grill. A little olive oil, fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And yeah, salted butter as it relaxes.

on a related note, I have 2 cast iron pans, because when I sear steak on my cast iron pan it destroys the seasoning. so now I have one for regular cooking and one for searing.

is there a way to season one of these pans to avoid this issue?

my method is very similar indeed, usually I only sear for about 1min per side then move the whole pan into a 500Degree oven for 3 more min per side or so depending on thickness and all that.

unless its fillet Mignon in which case it gets 1 min per side then moves to finish, kinda like a seared ahi tuna.

Gotta be careful with the ‘few minutes’ guideline… too open to interpretation.

If the steak is about an inch thick, 3 1/2 minutes to 4 minutes per side should get you a medium rare. Use a timer!

Went to dinner at a friends house one night -

London Broil.

That he grilled for 19 minutes.

Per side.

Petrified elephant hide would’ve been easier to chew. Blech!

I cook mine the way you do, but I’ve been wanting to try this method. Going by those pictures it makes for one fine looking steak. Now I just have to work up the nerve to buy a steak that thick and risk trying something new with it.

How high are you setting your stove top? If it’s too hot the seasoning will burn to ash. The only thing you can really do to prevent that is turn the temp down some.

Not quite the same thing, but for small roasts, or thiiiiick steaks

the point of searing is to cook on an inferno, the high heat quickly cooks the outside while leaving the inside mostly untouched.

I also use it for searing the ahi tuna I already mentioned. both methods require high temps.

that all said a friend of mine brought over his brand new Traeger grill and smoked up some steaks…holy crap delicious.

I know what searing is but it’s possible to get a good sear at temperatures that don’t reduce cast iron seasoning to ash. If you want it hotter than that it’s fine but you’ll have to keep using the dedicated skillet. After a certain point there’s nothing you can do to keep the seasoning from burning off.

It’s the flat surface – more contact with the meat. Beauty aside, there’s flavor hiding in those grill marks. With a pan you’ve got a lot more surface contact.

Wow, that looks fantastic but nerve-wracking. Leave a steak on a heat source for how long? I’d be standing over it the entire time fretting that the insides are slowly slipping past medium rare and into wellnowyoudoneit. Given the timing it would probably only work with very thick steaks. But man does that look good.

As for oil, I’ve done well with avocado. It has a very delicate taste (if any flavoring makes it though the small amount) and a high smoke point.

I used to think cast-iron pan cooking was for people who couldn’t be bothered to start up the grill. Now, I disagree. While I still like my grilled steaks, cast-iron pan cooking can be just as good if not better for certain dishes (like steak au poivre.) Plus you can make some nice sauce reductions using the bits left stuck in the pan.

As for method, I’ve been converted to the reverse method: start low in the oven, finish with a hot sear on the cast iron. I find the cooking to be much more even this way. I do about 20-25 minutes at 275 for a steak straight from the fridge, and finish on a blazing hot cast iron pan for about 2 minutes a side. I was turned on to this method by Cook’s Illustrated. Seriously, give it a shot and I think you will be convinced the start low, finish high method is better.

Mine are simple. Garlic salt and coarse black pepper on each side, stabbed into the meat with a fork. I go to the corner market for the a rib eye, which they get from Costco.

Heat up the skillet on medium-high, turn heat down to medium, toss the steak on, turn after a few minutes, cook for a couple more minutes, serve rare to medium-rare… Serve with corn.

My cast iron pan is plenty hot enough after about 5 minutes on high (gas flame stove). Fifteen minutes on high seems far too long to preheat, unless you’re trying to reshape it into a cannonball or something.

Have any of you master steak grillers ever tried the sous vide method for cooking them? I was just reading about this method and they make it sound like a foolproof way to make perfect steaks. The basic approach is to vacuum seal the steak, and cook it in water at the temperature you want the inside to be at, then sear them at the end. I’m curious if it works.

I’ve done it once using the vacuum seal zip lock bags. You know what? To me it’s not worth it, in terms of time or results. The Cook’s Illustrated method I have up there is foolproof, as is the method in the OP.