How many meat puns does it take to drive the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen mad? It doesn’t steak a lot.
But luckily, cooking the perfect steak doesn’t steak much either (sorry): All you need is good seasoning, perfect timing, a hot pan, a little patience, and a beautiful steak. Watch food director Carla Lalli Music as she walks us through it.
From the Top
It all starts at the butcher. Pick out your marbled darling a day or two before you’re planning on eating it so you can season and refrigerate it on a rack overnight. As Carla says, you can choose not to have pepper, but you’ve got to salt your steak. You may even be feeling coffee-rub adventurous…but that’s another story.
Sell the Sizzle
Preheat your pan over a medium heat for about five minutes to ensure that when the steak touches the oiled pan it’s sizzling, not steaming. Otherwise, the meat will stick, and you and your steak will be sad.
When the edge of the steak (where it touches the pan) is golden brown, it’s time to flip. The goal is a uniform pink interior and wrap-around crust, so even cooking is essential. After about 10 minutes, when you think you’ve reached perfect steak nirvana, test it with a thermometer (inserted horizontally into the meat in order to reach the center). When you get to 125-135 degrees, you’ve reached medium-rare territory. Steak will continue to cook a bit after you let it rest, so it’s important not to overcook it.
Time to Baste
The key to next-level steak flavor is butter (the answer to every question is always butter). Spooning melted unsalted butter, thyme, rosemary, and garlic over the meat for about 30 seconds ensures a richer flavor and more sophisticated crust as the butter mixture and steak juices mingle. Once you’ve finished the butter bath, put the steak on the cutting board and let it rest for five to ten minutes. The juices need to redistribute—we cannot emphasize that enough.
Cut thickly, and enjoy. As if not enjoying that would be an option.