People, let’s talk about steak. I used to use the method I wrote about here: I started by seasoning the beef, then searing it in a hot cast-iron skillet, finishing the steak in the oven, and allowing it to rest. And I really liked that method. But then Cook’s Illustrated was all:
And I was like, whaaaaaat, no thank you, I don’t want anything to do with that Wonka monster, pass. (Sidenote: I think Willie Wonka may be the reason I don’t play the lottery. You get a golden ticket and you will be sought out by a super creepy candy mogul who has nothing better to do than stalk otherwise-lucky children. Then you meet another creepy candy mogul who spends a whole day lying to you — starting with that stupid walking-with-a-cane-pretending-to-fall-and-actually-somersaulting because he has NO RESPECT for human beings with hearts and empathy. And THEN your body is either terribly disfigured (turned into a berry, miniaturized), or you are murdered by a deceptively functional/beautiful setting (chocolate lake, golden egg scale), or all of your friends are disfigured/murdered and you and your grandpa get in trouble for drinking scary floating bubble water that almost got you decapitated by a gratuitous fan on a ceiling and also WHAT KIND OF MANIAC KEEPS HIS MAGICAL FLOATING BUBBLE WATER IN THE ONLY ROOM THAT RANDOMLY HAS A MURDEROUS FAN INSTEAD OF A CEILING?!??!! So, yeah, anyway, no golden tickets for this gal. No siree, no thank you.)
Back to the steak, though, and how my world (read: method for cooking steak) got turned upside down. I heard Christopher Kimball and Bridget Lancaster talking about how they now cook steaks in a low oven first, and then sear them on the stovetop. So you wind up with a perfectly medium rare steak and a delicious, nutty brown crust on the meat. It’s makes total sense — at least more sense than an umpaloompa. The real key here is the wire rack on the cookie sheet in the oven — it keeps the steak off the cookie sheet and lets the warm air circulate all around the meat. That way, the surface of the steak dries out a bit and you get a better sear on the stovetop. Brilliant, right?
- 1 lb. sirloin steak
- Salt and pepper
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- Let the steak come to room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Pat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Place your steaks on a wire rack on a cookie sheet (you want to keep space between the steak and the cookie sheet so air circulates under the bottom of the steak). Cook the steak for 20-25 minutes in the oven, until the internal temperature of the steak is 90-95 degrees.
- Heat a skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. Turn on the vent over your stove! You won't regret it. You will know the oil is hot enough if you run water over your fingers and flick it into the oil -- if it sizzles, it's ready.
- Once the oil is ready, sear the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side. Just set the steak in the oil and don't move it for a few minutes. Flip it over and don't move it -- don't press it, don't shake it, don't flatten it with a spatula. Just leave it alone.
- Once the meat is seared, let it rest for 10 minutes under a tent of aluminum foil. Then slice and serve warm.
But also, if you don't have a thermometer, or don't have a fancy Thermapen, you can totally eyeball this steak. Cook it in the oven for 20 minutes if it's thin (less than 1 inch thick) and 25 minutes if it's thicker (1 inch thick or more). Then sear and just cut into the meat to check the color inside. It won't be as pretty, but it will be fine.