How to Cook Perfect Steaks


There’s nothing quite like a juicy steak from a fancy steakhouse—that crisp, flavorful crust surrounding a uniform, evenly cooked interior.

Believe it or not, those perfect steaks can be easily achieved at home with the right know how and equipment.

Home-cooking steaks can be daunting and sometimes produces less-than-stellar results. Many of us can relate to being disappointed by a beautiful steak coming out looking like a bullseye, with a thick layer of brown, over-done meat surrounding an undercooked center.

The key to getting both a great crust and an evenly cooked steak: a combination of low-and-slow roasting and high-heat searing.

Here’s how to do it:

Start by drying the surface of the steak. The night before you plan to cook the steaks, season them generously on all sides with kosher salt. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place steaks on a metal rack on the baking sheet. Pop baking sheet in your refrigerator uncovered. When you’re ready to cook the steaks, they should have a dry, jerky-like exterior, which will help create a perfectly browned crust.

Let the steaks come to room temperature and roast in the oven at 225 degrees. How long will depend on the size and shape of your steaks. You’ll want to pull them out of the oven when the center is about 10 degrees below you’re desired final temperature. That means taking them out at about 115 degrees for rare, 125 degrees for medium-rare or 130 degrees for medium.

Here’s where a good instant-read thermometer is essential. Start checking the temperature after about 10 to 15 minutes and make sure to take the pan out of the oven at just the right temperature to avoid the tragedy of an over-cooked steak.

Once the steaks are out of the oven, get a cast iron pan screaming hot over high heat. Swirl some neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point—such as safflower or sunflower—in the pan and sear the steaks for about a minute on each side. Depending on the number of steaks and the size of your pan, you’ll likely need to work in batches. Don’t overcrowd the steaks or they’ll steam.

This method also works on the grill. Light half the burners or put all the charcoal to one side. Roast the steak away from the heat and then finish by searing directly over the flames or coals.