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Cooking steaks at home


SteveW
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Mr. Cutlets, I'm often disappointed that I can't cook a steak at home as good as the steakhouses do. For one thing, I don't have a high powered broiler or grill, that the steakhouses have. Besides that, I need your tips for the cooking up steaks at home. For example: Is a heavy duty cast-iron pan, the best for cooking steaks? After both sides of a steak are seared, should it be finished in the oven? Should the steaks I get, be as thick as possible(to get the best cooking results)? Should the steak be at room temperature, before it's cooked? Thanks for any answers.

-Steve

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Dave and Steve,

Those are good questions, but Mr. Cutlets is equal to the task. It's very hard to get a steak cooked right at home. Even if you have a good broiler, unless you cut the steak very thick, by the time the surface is really good and brown the interior is overcooked. And I don't like very thick steak; at some point it fades off into roast beef. So what I like to do is to heat some olive oil in my cast-iron pan, let it get very hot, and sear the steak on one side for a good 5-7 minutes at medium-high heat. Then I flip it over and finish it in a 300-degree oven. The steak comes out with a brown surface, the interior is cooked perfectly, and you even have pan juices and black bits, should you feel like deglazing the pan with a little red wine and butter. And why shouldn't you? :laugh:

As for burgers, thousands of failed experiments have led me to perfect my method. If I can't buy them as perfect discs (and I can when I get my organic angus beef from the Union Square green market) I form them as best I can by rolling a big meatball and pressing it in wax paper until it has achieved a perfect disclike form. I know they tell you not to ever compress hamburger more than you have to, but this is the way I do it. It's not the last pressing the burger will get, as you will see. I get the cast-iron pan hot and drop the burger on it. I then lay a press on top (a flat weight with a handle). The bun goes in the toaster oven. After about two minutes, or when the surface is good and brown and little drops of warm red blood appear on the surface, I flip it over and lay a thick slice of American cheese on it, and cover that with a pot lid. I spend so much time browning that one side that, although I've pressed it into the pan with a weight, there is a danger of overcooking the burger once it's flipped. It's like an egg over easy -- as soon as you flip it, its basically time to take it off. That's why you need to speed the cheese along. Drop the burger on the bun and you're ready to go! At least until you need another cheeseburger. I don't cook more than a 4 or 5 oz burger, so that's not a long time at all!

does this help?

Mr. Cutlets

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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FWIW a lot of people have good luck with a well seasoned cast iron pan sear on both sides and finish in the oven. You just need to be careful of the oil you'll use (if any) becasue it could burn. The smoke point for olive oil is 400 and change I think. Anyway, that technique is great if you want to fill your house with smoke. Me, I hate cooking odors in the house so I stick with a charcoal grill blazing hot and the grates close to the coals. I sear on both sides and then move the steak away from the coals for an indirect heat finish.

I also get my steaks cut based on preferred temperature of the person eating it. Obviously thinner for well and thicker for rare. That way they all come off at about the same time.

Joe

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