1. Choose the Right Cut of Steak
The first step in cooking the perfect steak in a pan is choosing the right cut of meat. While there are many cuts of steak to choose from, some are better suited for pan cooking than others.
For pan cooking, it’s best to choose a cut that is relatively thin, such as a flank steak, sirloin steak, or ribeye steak. These cuts cook quickly and evenly in a hot pan, allowing you to achieve a delicious sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
It’s also important to consider the marbling and fat content of the steak. A well-marbled steak with visible fat will have a better flavor and tenderness than a lean cut of meat. When selecting a steak, look for one with even marbling throughout the meat.
2. Preparing the Steak for Cooking
After selecting the right cut of steak, the next step is to prepare it for cooking. Before you start cooking, you should take the steak out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This allows the steak to cook more evenly.
Next, you should pat the steak dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Moisture on the surface of the steak can prevent it from getting a good sear.
If the steak has a thick layer of fat on the outside, you should score it lightly with a sharp knife. This will help the fat render during cooking and prevent it from curling up.
Finally, if you have time, you can season the steak with salt and pepper about 40 minutes before cooking. This allows the seasoning to penetrate the meat and gives the steak more flavor.
3. Seasoning the Steak
Seasoning is an essential part of cooking a delicious steak in a pan. While some people prefer to keep it simple with just salt and pepper, others like to experiment with different seasonings to enhance the flavor of the meat.
If you’re using just salt and pepper, be sure to season the steak generously on both sides before cooking. Use your hands to rub the seasoning into the meat, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
If you’re using other seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika, or herbs, mix them together in a small bowl and rub them onto the steak in the same way. You can also add a little olive oil to the seasoning mix to help it stick to the meat.
Remember, seasoning is all about personal preference. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors to find your perfect steak seasoning.
4. Cooking the Steak in a Pan
Now that your steak is prepared and seasoned, it’s time to cook it in a hot pan. Here’s how:
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for a few minutes until it’s very hot.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom evenly.
- Place the steak in the pan and let it cook for 3-4 minutes on one side without moving it. This will allow a crust to form on the surface.
- Flip the steak over and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. For a medium-rare steak, the internal temperature should reach 135°F.
- If you like your steak more well-done, you can cook it for a few minutes longer on each side until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
- When the steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Remember, the key to a perfect steak is a hot pan and letting the steak cook without moving it too much.
5. Resting and Serving the Steak
Resting the steak after cooking is an important step that is often overlooked. Resting allows the juices inside the meat to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.
After removing the steak from the pan, let it rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes. This will also give you time to prepare any side dishes.
When you’re ready to serve, slice the steak against the grain into thin strips. This will help to break up any tough muscle fibers and make the steak more tender.
Serve the steak with your favorite side dishes, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad. Enjoy!