What You Need to Know About Cooking Steak as a Beginner
Is there anything more intoxicating than the smell of a steak, the look of a golden brown sear, and the sizzling sound of flame and flesh? Just thinking about it probably makes your mouth water. What if you could have the steakhouse experience without leaving the comfort of your own home? If you want to enjoy a perfectly cooked piece of meat but need a few tips on cooking steak as a beginner, this article is for you. Continue reading to learn how to cook a steak in the oven or on the grill and ideal steak temperatures.
Methods of Cooking a Steak
There are many different ways to cook a delicious steak, almost none of which are wrong. Depending on the type of steak, how many inches thick it is, and other factors, some techniques may be more beneficial than others. No matter what method you use, it would be best if you did a few things before preparing a steak dinner.
An hour before you start cooking, take your beef out of the refrigerator to let it reach room temperature. This helps the meat cook evenly and maintain a consistent internal temperature. If you're a novice, keep the seasoning simple. Start by patting your steak dry with a paper towel and generously seasoning with salt and pepper.
All you need, especially with premium American Wagyu beef, are the basics. As you progress in your mastery of home cheffing, you can look to add additional seasonings or marinades. After taking the meat off the grill, it's critical to let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute. Without this step, you have a pool of delicious juices on your plate rather than in each bite.
One of the most challenging aspects of cooking steak for beginners is learning when a steak is ready. To ensure your steak turns out exactly as you hope, we recommend using a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of your cut and track the temperature to avoid over or undercooking your steak.
Now that we've discussed the vital pre- and post-cooking steps, let's explore some of the fundamentals of making steak for beginners.
How To Grill a Steak
The essence of grilling is high heat and short cooking times, which is a perfect combination for many types of steaks. One of the easiest ways to avoid a burnt outer crust and raw inside is to have an area of your grill set up for high heat and another for indirect heat. You do this by arranging your natural lump or briquettes on one side of the grill and leaving the other half with little or none.
Light the coals and let the flames heat up until the top layer of charcoal ashes over and turns gray. You'll know the grill is hot enough when you can only hold your hand about one inch above the grate for about a second. Once the fire is ready, put your steak on the side with the charcoal.
How Long To Cook Steak on a Grill
If medium rare is your desired internal temperature, we suggest cooking cuts like ribeye, NY strip, and tenderloin for four minutes per side. If you want to try your hand at upping the visual appeal of crosshatch grill marks, turn the steak a quarter rotation at the two-minute mark. After four minutes, flip the steak and repeat the process.
If your meat thermometer isn't reading the temperature you're looking for at this point, move the steak over to the cooler side of your grill. There's still plenty of heat to cook your meat further, but you eliminate the risk of flare-ups transforming your perfect crust into a thick layer of burnt, inedible char. After transferring the steak to the cooler side, flip it every minute until it reaches the internal temperature you're looking for.
How To Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet
If a perfectly developed crust is what you’re after, a hot skillet or pan may be what the butcher ordered. Much like you preheat an oven for baking, you should preheat your skillet over high heat on the stove. The goal is to get the pan incredibly hot, so you should do this for at least five minutes, if not longer. Once the skillet is blazing hot, add enough high smoke point cooking oil (canola, peanut, or avocado) to coat the bottom lightly.
Quickly (but carefully) add your steak and sear for one minute per side. A common mistake in cooking steak for beginners is underestimating just how hot cast iron skillets can get. This method can result in a charred exterior and a nearly raw interior. To combat the risk of a burnt steak, we recommend flipping your steak every 30 seconds (after the initial one minute per side) until your meat thermometer reads your target temperature.
How To Cook a Steak in the Oven
There are two common ways to cook steak in the oven—broiling and reverse searing. Each can produce a delightfully tender, perfectly seared steak, but broiling may not be the method of cooking steak for beginners. If you're unfamiliar with your broiler, it can quickly take your steak from delicious to dreadful.
Reverse searing combines the methods of cooking steak in the oven and a cast iron skillet. This technique is beneficial for thicker cuts, like tomahawks, but is appropriate for anything from flat irons to sirloins.
Start by preheating your oven to 275° with the rack in the middle section. Once ready, place the steak in a cast iron skillet and put the skillet in the oven. Wait until your probe thermometer reads 10° below your desired doneness. When it does, remove the skillet and steak from the oven and put it on the stove over high heat.
Sear until you have a beautiful, golden brown crust and the internal temperature reaches your target. Flipping every 30 seconds to 1 minute is the safest way to ensure you don't burn the outside of the steak while searing. It's also important to note that when reverse searing, there's no need to rest the steak before slicing. The low, slow cooking in the oven doesn't cause the juices to flow like the high temperature, fast cooking style of cooking steak on a grill.
Hit Your Ideal Steak Temperature Every Time
Whether you're a person that loves a 130° medium rare steak or one that prefers the less pink center of a medium well 150°, hitting your ideal internal temperature is a must. Unfortunately, it's one of the most challenging things to do right when making steaks as a beginner; that's why we strongly suggest using an insertable meat thermometer.
Here's a simple breakdown of what to expect from various steak temperatures:
- Rare: If you prefer a cool, red center with a tender texture, a rare 120° internal temperature is what we suggest.
- Medium rare: Ask any steak connoisseur, and they'll tell you the warm reddish center of a medium rare steak is the only way to enjoy a quality piece of meat. However, we say to go with whichever way you like the most. If you're aiming for medium rare, 130°-140° is the target range.
- Medium: At 141°, you enter the medium zone. The center of your steak is still pink, but it's slightly warmer and a bit less tender than medium rare.
- Medium well: At 150° you hit medium, which results in a uniform brown center with a firm texture.
- Well done: Once you reach well done, you can expect a brownish color throughout each slice, with a very firm and dry texture. You shouldn't expect to see any steak recipes call for well done, but again, to each their own.
Good Silver Steak Co. Offers the Best Steaks for Beginners and Pros Alike
Good Silver offers a selection of 17 magnificently marbled, sensationally savory, and terrifically tender American Wagyu Steaks. Our beef's high intramuscular fat content gives it a melt-in-your-mouth quality that exceeds any prime beef or local steakhouse cut you've ever experienced.
Now that you have a better understanding of how long to cook steak on the grill or prepare it in the oven, we invite you to shop our selection of steaks. We have a wide variety that includes well-known favorites and less familiar but equally delicious cuts. Good Silver provides free next-day shipping on steak orders over $200 and is always available to answer any questions you have using the chat feature on our website.