Recipe Index

American | How To Cook the Perfect Steak

Posted on June 21, 2011

One of the most valuable things that I learned in a cooking class was how to cook the perfect steak. It was actually covered in a couple of classes. I have combined the notes here and modified to what I found works best.

Yield: as many as you want

perfect steak



kosher sea salt

freshly ground pepper

grapeseed oil

unsalted butter (optional)



Note: cooking time depends on the thickness of your steak. No more than 10 minutes per inch of steak. Also filet migons take a little less time.

Pat steaks dry with a paper towel. Trim off any fat that you don't want. Set steaks out on a plate at room temperature about 3 to 4 hours before you are going to cook them. Right before cooking, season both sides of the steaks generously with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the pan is pretty hot (a drop of water evaporates on contact), add grapeseed oil. Use just enough oil to barely coat the surface of the pan. When oil begins to smoke, quickly and carefully place the steaks in the pan. Remember to turn on your vent or fan as searing the steaks creates smoke.

When the first side is brown, after about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak, use tongs to flip the steaks and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook about 4 1/2 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak.

Remove the steaks from the oven and transfer to a platter. Put a slice of butter on each steak. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.



- Steaks should be at room temperature before they are cooked.

- For best results use a cast-iron skillet.

- Season generously with salt and pepper.

- Time varies with thickness of steak and your oven, use an instant-read thermometer a couple minutes before the steaks are done to check the internal temperature. Remember there is some carry-over cooking, so be careful to not overcook.

- Timings below are for a 1-inch steak.

Doneness Minutes per Side Temperature
Rare 5 minutes 120 - 125° F
Medium-Rare   130 - 135° F
Medium 6 minutes 140 - 145° F
Medium-Well   150 - 155° F
Well 8 minutes 160° F


- Do not cut the meat to check for doneness. All the juices will leak out.

- Do not skip the resting stage. This is when the juices are redistributed throughout the meat.


Note: Try the Garlic-Parsley Butter on top of the steaks.


(Ref. Sur La Table's "Panfried Ribeye Steaks with Garlic-Parsley Butter" recipe, "Steakhouse Classics" class and notes from "Niman Ranch Dry Aged Steakhouse Workshop" class. Also notes from Barefoot Contessa tv program.)