The Best Way to Pre Sear A Steak

Pre-searing a steak is a great cooking method when you are short on time. Use this method when you are crunched for time in the kitchen. This is also an awesome method because when you start by pan-searing your steak, it gives the meat a nice crispy crust. 

On top of that, when you finish the cooking process by popping your steaks into the oven, this gives you better control of their final temperature, giving you a smaller window for error and over-cooking your steaks. 

Here are the simple yet significant steps and tips to pre-sear your steak like a pro. 

1.Thaw Your Steak:

Thawing your steak is vital to it’s delicious outcome at the end of your cooking adventure. Not taking the proper precautions and steps when thawing a steak can result in unevenly cooked steak, and worse - food poisoning. Whether you start the day before, or are crunched on time, there are different ways for you to properly and safely thaw it. The safest and easiest way to thaw your steak is to place it in the fridge 12+ hours before you’re going to cook it. Check out our list of dos and don’ts for thawing your steak

2. Preheat Your Oven and Bring Your Steaks up to Room Temperature:

At this point, be sure to preheat your oven to 425°F in anticipation of finishing it off in the oven. 

Also, be sure to bring up your steak to room temperature before cooking it. It will cook unevenly if you cook it when it’s cold, and could ruin the outcome of all of your hard work. Checkout our list of the biggest mistakes to avoid when cooking steak

3. Season Your Steak: 

Seasoning your steak is imperative to your steak’s outcome as well. This is done before cooking your steak, and the longer you let the seasonings (especially salt) work their way into your steak, the more enjoyable your steak will be. After all, keep in mind that the inside of the steak is unseasoned, so we really need to pay attention to the out layer of the steak and give it enough flavor so that the seasonings on the outside are enough for each delicious bite! 

However, when it comes to this cooking method, you can season your steak either ahead of time or right before. For this specific process, we recommend seasoning your steaks right before you put them in the cast iron, but it’s up to you.

Seasoning is easy - check out our to-do list for how to season your steaks like a pro. Want to embark upon an even bigger kitchen adventure and up your steaks a notch? Check out our list of easy-to-do amazing steak crusts, with everything from a coffee rub to garlicky goodness to a melty gorgonzola steak crust. 

4. Start by Searing Your Steak on Cast Iron:

We recommend using a cast iron skillet when searing your steak. You can use a stainless steel one as well, but there’s something remarkable about using a cast iron skillet and the perfectly seared crust that you get from it (just make sure that whatever you choose is oven-safe because you will be placing the entire pan in the oven). 

Start the searing process by taking your skillet and placing it on the stove on medium-high heat and allow the pan to get hot. Once the pan is white-hot, add a little bit of cooking oil to the pan - just enough to barely coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil starts rippling, the pan is ready to sear the steak. Take your steak and season it at this point, if you have not ahead of time. 

Place the steak season-side down. (When placing the steak in the pan, place it away from you as the oil is extremely hot and you don’t want to get burned!)

After it’s seared undisturbed for 4 minutes, liberally season the other side (if you have not done so previously) and flip the steak in the pan, searing that side for 4 minutes as well. 

Place your pan with your steaming hot steak in the oven.

5. Finish Your Steak in the Oven:

After placing the pan in the oven, keep in mind that the cut of meat you choose and its thickness determines how long your steak will finish in the oven.

Keep in mind that the thickness of you cut will determine how long you want it to finish off in the oven. For example, a ribeye and a filet will vary with their times.

Here is a guideline to follow for each of the cuts:

Follow These Guidelines for the Amount of Time to Keep Ribeyes in the Oven:

At a temperature of  425°F , 

For Rare Steaks:

  • Cook for 6-7 minutes until the internal temperature is 120°F . The result will be soft and tender steaks.

For Medium Rare Steaks:

  • Cook for 7-8 minutes until the internal temperature is 130°F. The result will be a perfect steak texture, with a nice brown crust.

For Medium Steaks:

  • Cook for 9-10 minutes until the internal temperature is 140°F. The result will be slightly firmer steaks. 

For Well Done Steaks:

  • Cook for 11-12 minutes until the internal temperature is 160°F. The result will be very firm and dry steaks. 

Follow These Guidelines for the Amount of Time to Keep Filets in the Oven:

At a temperature of  425°F , 

For Rare Steaks:

  • Cook for 9-10 minutes until the internal temperature is 120°F . The result will be soft and tender steaks.

For Medium Rare Steaks:

  • Cook for 10-11 minutes until the internal temperature is 130°F. The result will be a perfect steak texture, with a nice brown crust.

For Medium Steaks:

  • Cook for 12-13 minutes until the internal temperature is 140°F. The result will be slightly firmer steaks. 

For Well Done Steaks:

  • Cook for 14-15 minutes until the internal temperature is 160°F. The result will be very firm and dry steaks.

6. Rest Your Steak

Don’t skip this step of letting your steak rest for at least 5 minutes when pre-searing it. It’s one of the most common steak cooking mistakes that are made, so be patient! We know your mouth is watering, but waiting the extra few minutes will pay off because if you cut into your steaks too soon, they will lose juices that you want to stay in there. 

7. Slice Your Steak:

After your steak has rested, you’re almost to the finish line! There’s one final step that you may want to do - slicing your steak. While this might seem like a minuscule detail, it actually makes quite an impact on your steak because, when done correctly, it cuts through the muscle fibers of the steak and shortens them, resulting in steak that is much easier to chew. This is the final step to perfectly tender pieces of steak that won’t hurt your jaw to chew. 

To slice your steak correctly, slice against the grain. The grain is the direction of the steak’s muscle fibers. Look closely at your steak, and you will see lines in it that are parallel to each other - that’s your grain! Depending on the cut of meat, sometimes they are easy to spot and sometimes more difficult. Just be sure to not confuse grill marks with the grain. Merely make perpendicular slices that make a “T” with the grain of the steak, and there you have it. Your masterpiece is ready to indulge in. 

Conclusion:

Now that you’re pre-searing steak like a pro, it’s time to take it up to the next level. If you want more flavor then just salt and pepper for your steaks and wants to get down with some serious steak rubs, check out our list of the best steak crusts.


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