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savvysearch

broiling steak.

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I must cook about 5 steaks (filet mignon) this weekend. What I plan to do is pan-sear it for about a minute each side and then in the broiler for about 4 minutes each side.

Can I have some opinions on the differences between finishing it off in the oven vs. broiler? Also, my biggest constraint is that I have only 1 cast iron frying pan.

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For me, that's way too long to cook any steak, unless it's about 2 inches thick. I'd just do the pan sear for 2-3 minutes per side, then rest for 10. If you've got to do three first, then the other two because of pan space constraints, the first ones will just get a little longer rest. Won't hurt them a bit. Be sure to preheat your pan for a few minutes. Deglaze with shallots and red wine, finish with butter, pour over steaks and enjoy.


Edited by Dana (log)

Stop Family Violence

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It sounded too long for me as well, but I like a bloody steak.

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I like to sear in cast iron pan to build a crust on one side then slide in a very hot oven to finish. I like my steaks medium to medium rare. I don't use the broiler just on bake at a high temperature to cook the steak through. The pan is hot enough that you will get a good crust on both sides this way. I understand your dilemma of not having enough pan space. Although cast iron is my favorite for this type of cooking a large frying pan with oven safe handle will work. Just broiling would work as well as long as you have the oven good and hot before you put them in. One of the reasons I don't broil often is the oven is a mess after broiling and the smoke is harder to control than stove top.

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I agree with scubadoo and I would not finish the steaks under the broiler. I think it's just too likely to burn them. An oven at 500 or so will finish the steaks nicely once you have seared them on the stovetop.

With filets I sometimes sear them only on one side and then I finish them in a hot oven without flipping. They get a nice crust on the business-end while keeping the rest of the steak quite tender and rare.

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I would agree with the sear advice, but I wouldn't put it under the broiler or in an ultra hot oven. I would put it in an oven about 300-350. Might take a few extra minutes, but you should end up with a more even doneness throughout the steak, a nice medium rare or medium depending on what you like/want.

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I would agree with the sear advice, but I wouldn't put it under the broiler or in an ultra hot oven. I would put it in an oven about 300-350. Might take a few extra minutes, but you should end up with a more even doneness throughout the steak, a nice medium rare or medium depending on what you like/want.

I agree--but--I'd sear 2 min/side on a 2 inch steak and put in the oven 4 min at 350. I'd have to have a sauce on a filet--maybe a tarragon butter.


Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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One problem I'm having is the surmise, that all of your guests want their steak cooked to the same degree. This would be highly unlikely or you not asking them, might turn a few noses.

I think you at least need another cast iron skillet as it would only be a fraction of the cost of 5 filets

just a thought. :wink:

I do agree with the sear/high heat oven method vs. the broiler

woodburner


Edited by woodburner (log)

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Why put it into a high heat oven? What are the advantages to doing so, provided that a crust has already been formed by a sear? If you put it into a 500 degree oven, you will most likely get the striation effect where you have different "rings" of doneness around a perfect MR center. If you use a lower heat oven, you will most likely get a nice even doneness throughout more of the meat. A lot of cooks have the tendency to blast their food like that and I just disagree with it. My opinion, nothing else.

The advantage to a sear/roast are debateable. A nice, woodburning or charcoal grill is a great way to cook any steak, obviously imparting a smoky charred taste. The sear will give you a nice crust, good browning, and the oven finish should give you a nice even cook. Gas oven you might as well be putting it in the oven IMO.

An obvious reason to cook indoors is that some people don't have access to a charcoal or wood grill, and have to cook steak indoors. I actually really like my steak pan seared, I think that it is a great way to develop flavor and texture. Finish with some whole foaming butter, some fersh herb sprigs and a nice baste to both sides. Mmmmm. Proper resting is of course required, no debate there :)

Another reason is a pan sauce. Get a nice fond in the pan and it leaves the residue to turn into a quick sauce for the steak. I usually prefer a butter baste, or just a compund butter melted slightly on top, but a quick demi/redux sauce is a nice treat as well.

Also, for some people, it's easier to control the heat in an oven and over a stove than on a grill.

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Yeah, I'm generally baffled by broiling.

It throws out your precious pan juices, it doesn't give any smoky flavor like charcoal or hardwood, and it's really hard to control (I once set a mountain of nachos on fire in the broiler, thanks to a moment of inatention. The spectacle was brilliant, i thought, but there was nothing left of the chips and the guests almost ran for their lives when i brought the flaming platter into the living room).

Also most home ovens have lousy, uneven broilers. I wouldn't even consider it unless you can get predictable even heat from yours. My friend's wolf range broils things nicely; my frigidaire (odd name for an oven, granted) has a useless broiler, in spite of a quite good oven.

What's wrong with doing it all on the stove? You don't need a cast iron skillet. Any heavy pan will do. I actually prefer pans with shiny insides, so I can see how browned the fond is. I hate to saute all that beautiful meat and not have at least a basic pan sauce. Especially with fillets, which typically have quite a mild flavor. The sauce is an opportunity to focus the flavor.

One other thought: if the fillets aren't already cut, you can cut them to slightly different thicknesses. this makes it very easy to cook them to different degrees to please different guests, while getting them evenly browned on the outside. People who like them bloody get thicker ones--they deserve them!


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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Not planning to do anything with the pan juices. I'm just using a garlic herb butter that I previously used on snails.

So I guess broiling is out. Can I start a new debate? pan fry vs. sear+oven. which is better?

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I use the oven to finish if the steak is greater than 1 1/2". To be honest I do most steaks on the outdoor grill which gets lots of year round use but on occasion I will do tenderloin steaks inside.

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Looks like a good place to stick this:

Mark Bittman - The Boring Old Broiler Turns Out to Be a Superstar

And, FWIW, add me to the sear-on-stovetop-finish-in-oven camp...


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I do the sear + oven technique and am pleased with the results. Due to budgetary constraints I often end up with ribeye's or NY Strip steaks that are thinner than I'd like (it's the way my local grocer cuts and packages all of them when they have a good sale on those two cuts).

My girlfriend prefers her steaks medium-well and I like mine on the rarer side of medium rare. It's far from an ideal system but I pan sear both for about 90 seconds on one side and 60 seconds on the other. The cast iron skillet is intially coated with a wiped on layer of melted lard - just a very, very thin coating.

The steak to be done medium-rare then goes onto a pre-heated dinner plate on the counter with a piece of foil tossed loosely over the top and her steak goes in the oven at 350 in the cast iron pan.

Once her steak has cooked for 3 or 4 minutes (depending on thickness) I toss mine into the pan and then take them both out about 2 to 4 minutes later (again - depending on thickness). Both steaks rest after leaving the oven - each on their own pre-heated plate - for about 3 to 5 minutes on the counter before being served

It's not an ideal system but with a bit of practice it does allow multiple steaks of differing thicknesses to be cooked to different doneness levels and all served simultaneously.

Oh - and I use McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning rubbbed into the meat before searing. If I could find and afford much higher quality beef I'd leave that out but on these steaks it does add an element that I really enjoy.

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The steak to be done medium-rare  then goes onto a pre-heated dinner plate on the counter with a piece of foil tossed loosely over the top

Don't you find that the foil ruins the crust you have so lovingly built? I wouldn't contain it in any way, I find that the steaming action makes the crust soggy. I would time it so that you add the MR steak to the oven after the MW steak has been in there for a while, so that you may time the resting/serving accordingly.

Or convince your GF to eat MR steak :)

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What type of oil are you guys using to sear the steaks with? Does a cast iron pan use the same type as a stainless steel?

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I rub my steak with whatever oil is on hand (grapeseed or canola) before I put it in the cast iron pan. There is no oil in the pan to start (other than what's been seasoned into the iron).


-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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Sear with oil then baste all the way with foaming butter, its the only way if you ask me.

Yes, but crush a garlic clove and throw in a couple sprigs of thyme. People call this the Ducasse method. I call it tasty. Going back to the original post, even if you only have one pan you can sear in oil, move to roasting pan, throw in foamed butter with said additions, roast while basting until doneness.

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Savvysearch, are you going to salt the steaks hours in advance of cooking ?


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Sear with oil then baste all the way with foaming butter, its the only way if you ask me.

Yes, but crush a garlic clove and throw in a couple sprigs of thyme. People call this the Ducasse method. I call it tasty. Going back to the original post, even if you only have one pan you can sear in oil, move to roasting pan, throw in foamed butter with said additions, roast while basting until doneness.

Thanks for pointing that out. Forgot to mention the flavorings for the butter. Rosemary or thyme, garlic and foaming butter is of course the preferred method.

As for searing, you can still do it in 1 pan if you pour the oil off from the pan and then add the butter. Works the same and keeps the dishes to a minimum.

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Savvysearch, are you going to salt the steaks hours in advance of cooking ?

Not hours in advance, but an hour and half. Everyone requested medium-rare which made my job so much easier.

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Thanks for that. Your guests have style, clearly :smile:


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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