There’s nothing like a perfectly cooked steak, with a crispy outer layer and a juicy, tender middle, seared to perfection in a cast iron skillet. If you’ve never tried cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet before, fear not – with the right technique and a little bit of practice, you can master this culinary art in no time. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to cook a steak in a cast iron skillet, and provide answers to some frequently asked questions about this cooking method.
First, let’s talk about why cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet is such a great option. Cast iron skillets are known for their even heat distribution, which means that they heat up quickly and stay hot, allowing you to get a great sear on your steak. They also retain heat well, so you can transfer the skillet from the stovetop to the oven to finish cooking your steak without losing any heat or moisture. Cast iron skillets also develop a non-stick surface over time, making them easy to clean and maintain.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet:
1. Choose the right steak.
For the best results, choose a steak that is at least 1 inch thick, with good marbling and a strip of fat running along one edge. Ribeye, sirloin, and filet mignon are all great cuts for cooking in a cast iron skillet.
2. Bring the steak to room temperature.
Take the steak out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help it cook more evenly.
3. Preheat the skillet.
Place the cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Let it heat up for a few minutes until it is hot but not smoking.
4. Season the steak.
Rub the steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add any other seasonings you like, such as garlic powder or herbs.
5. Add oil to the skillet.
Once the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil. Swirl it around in the skillet to coat the bottom evenly.
6. Sear the steak.
Using tongs, place the steak in the hot skillet. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on one side without moving it, until a crust forms and it releases easily from the skillet. Flip the steak over and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side, until it is browned on both sides.
7. Cook the steak to the desired doneness.
For a medium-rare steak, transfer the skillet to a preheated 400°F oven and cook for another 6-8 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak registers 130°F. For a medium steak, cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 140°F. For a well-done steak, cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 160°F.
8. Let the steak rest.
Once the steak is done, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing it against the grain and serving.
Q: How do I clean my cast iron skillet after cooking a steak?
A: Wait until the skillet has cooled down completely, then use a non-abrasive brush or sponge to scrub away any bits of food or residue. Avoid using soap, as it can strip the seasoning off the skillet. Rinse the skillet with hot water and dry it thoroughly with a clean towel. You can also re-season the skillet by rubbing a thin layer of oil onto the surface and baking it in a 350°F oven for an hour.
Q: Do I need to use a thermometer to check the doneness of my steak?
A: While it’s possible to judge the doneness of a steak by touch or by using a visual method, it’s best to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure that it has reached your desired level of doneness. This will help you avoid undercooking or overcooking the steak.
Q: Can I use a cast iron skillet to cook other types of meat?
A: Yes, you can use a cast iron skillet to cook chicken, pork, or other meats. Just adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the meat and the desired level of doneness.
Q: How often should I season my cast iron skillet?
A: It’s a good idea to season your cast iron skillet every few months, or whenever the surface starts to look dull or sticky. To season the skillet, rub a thin layer of oil onto the surface and bake it in a 350°F oven for an hour.
In conclusion, cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet is a great way to achieve a restaurant-quality result at home. With a little bit of practice and the tips outlined above, you can become a pro at cooking steaks in no time. So go ahead, fire up that skillet, and impress your dinner guests with a perfectly cooked steak!