The Good Foods' Blog

How to Cook Great Steak

By: Johnny Livesay

Johnny Livesay demonstrates two of the most common ways to cook a great steak: pan-searing and grilling. With tips like what equipment to use and how to test for levels of doneness, you’ll see how easy it can be to cook a great steak at home.

Find more Co+op Kitchen videos featuring information and easy recipes for making delicious meals at home, as well as handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food.

Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Johnny Livesay from Austin, Texas. Today we’re going to go over how to grill the perfect steak.

Before you start, you want to make sure that your steaks are completely thawed out, if they’ve been frozen, and also at room temperature. Otherwise, they won’t cook very evenly, and you may have trouble getting them to the doneness that you’re looking for.

To start, you want to take your steak and coat it pretty liberally in olive oil. This will allow the salt and pepper to adhere to it a little bit better and help give it a nice, even sear.

There’s an easy trick you can use using your hand to tell how done a steak is. Relaxing your hand and touching this muscle in between your forefinger and your thumb should give you the feeling of what a raw steak feels like. It’s very squishy. Closing your forefinger to your thumb it’s going to give you what a rare steak feels like. Squishy but not too much. Closing your middle finger down to your thumb is going to give you the medium-rare. It’s still a little bit squishy, but it’s starting to firm up a little more. Your ring finger to your thumb, a little bit more firm, and that’s going to be what a medium steak feels like. Medium-well would be what your pinky feels like against your thumb. If you really clench your hand, and it tightens up a lot, that’s how a well-done steak will feel.

So, before you want to pan sear your steak, you’re going to want to get your pan smoking hot— hot enough that when you pour a little bit of water into it, it bubbles up and evaporates instantly.

So now that our pan is smoking hot, we’re going to add just a tiny, little bit of oil to the pan. There’s already a good amount of oil on the steak. Just kind of move it around so it coats the bottom of the pan. Gently lay the steak in over the oil, away from you.

One of the major differences between pan searing and grilling steaks is the crust that you’re going to get off a pan-seared steak. For a steak that’s this thick, about an inch or inch-and-a-half, you’re going to want to cook it about 3 minutes per side for a perfect medium-rare.

Now that we’ve cooked the steak long enough on this side, we’re going to go ahead flip it over. Be careful when you’re doing this not to splatter any fat on yourself.

So while it’s searing on the second side, we’re actually going to add a little bit of butter, thyme and a clove of crushed garlic to the pan to baste the top of the steak.

Tilt the pan back toward you, and just gently spoon the fat up and roll it off over the steak. Doing this allows you to get a really nice crust on the top of the steak, but be careful not to burn yourself.

We’re cooking this steak to medium-rare, and I think that this one is getting pretty close, so we’re going to go ahead and pull it off and let it rest.

So, before you start, you want to make sure that your grill is nice and clean and really hot. You want to make sure and coat the grill with oil, so that there’s less chance of your steak sticking to it.

If your grill is capable of doing this, you’re going to want to have an area that has really high heat, so you can get a really good sear on your steak. And preferably, there would be another area that has a little bit lower temperature that will allow you to cook the steak without risking overcooking.

So this area of the grill is really hot, so we’re going to go ahead and put it right down on there for about 45 seconds to a minute, just to get a really nice, intense caramelization on the meat.

After you’ve done that, you can go ahead, using a pair of tongs or your hands, if you feel comfortable, and rotate the meat 90 degrees, and put it over your cooler side to finish cooking on this side. This is going to give it a nice crosshatch or quadrillage.

Now that the steak has cooked on this side long enough, we’re going to flip it to the other side. This is the only time we’re going to flip the steak while it’s cooking. If you flip it too many times, you may lose some important juices.

Resting the steak is just as important as cooking it properly. When you cook a steak, the heat drives all the moisture into the center of the steak. Allowing it to rest allows the meat to relax and evenly redistribute all the moisture throughout the steak, giving you a really juicy, tender finished product.

My name is Johnny for Co+op, stronger together.