Cooking a perfect steak requires experience and some specific knowledge. There are countless methods and techniques to choose from. From pan-searing to grilling to sous vide, each cooking method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
In this blog post, I’ll share my years of experience as a chef and will take a closer look at some of the best steak cooking methods and explore what makes them effective. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of which cooking method is best suited to your taste preferences and skill level.
Best steak cooking methods
Below you’ll find six different ways to cook any steak. It’s in no particular order. Every method has its pros and cons. For example, sear-roasting requires less effort; therefore, it’s a more convenient cooking method for a busy home cook. In comparison, grilling involves a lot of time and effort.
Grilling is the purest way of cooking steak. You can use a gas grill or a charcoal grill. However, if you want the best and most flavorsome steak packed with a smoky flavor, then cooking it on oak is the best option.
Tender and more fatty cuts of meat like rib-eye steak are best for grilling. Fat in a hot grill drips onto the charcoal, producing smoke that is absorbed by the steak.
Grilling became a staple in most households because it’s an enjoyable experience. Not only does it lead to an excellent, flavorsome, properly cooked steak, but it also brings everyone together on warm summer evenings.
By the way, here’s an excellent article on grilling steak. It’s easy to follow and has all the information you’ll ever need.
- Great cooking experience;
- The smoky flavor of the meat;
- Purest way of cooking meat;
- Gathers everyone together;
- Steaks can cook unevenly. One area of the grill produces very high heat while others tend to be colder; therefore, steak can cook unevenly. Spread the charcoal evenly so the stake is evenly cooked;
- Grilling requires time to set up.
Pan frying on the stovetop
Pan-frying steak is a quick and straightforward cooking method. It involves cooking steak in a very hot pan. It can be a cast iron pan or any other pan suitable for pan-searing steak. A cast iron skillet is one of the favorite choices among home cooks and chefs because it’s cheap, durable, and conducts heat extremely well.
Pan-frying cooking process produces a nice crisp crust on the outside of the steak. With a few ingredients for steak seasoning, you can have a perfect steak in a matter of minutes.
You can use all types of steak cuts for pan-frying: rib-eye, sirloin, t-bone, filet mignon, NY strip, and rump steak.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to cook steak in a pan. It’s packed with useful information for both beginner and advanced home cooks.
- Pan searing creates a nice crust on the outside of the steak;
- Steak cooks fast;
- Butter adds a nice flavor.
- Pan searing relies on a lot of butter and oil.
Sear-roasting is a method when steak is seared in a scorching hot skillet and finished off in a preheated oven.
You should preheat the skillet on a stovetop over high heat until it starts to smoke lightly. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Add steak to a very hot cast iron pan and give it a nice sear on both sides. Place a skillet in the oven and finish the steak to your liking.
This method is less accurate because you’ll need to rely on your instincts to cook a steak to your liking. In this regard, grilling, pan-frying, or sous-vide are much more reliable, meaning you can accurately determine the steak’s doneness.
However, this cooking method is excellent if you’re sear-roasting big pieces of steak like t-bone, porterhouse, or chateaubriand.
- The crisp crust on the outside of the steak
- Easy, since you don’t need to flip the steak every few minutes.
- It needs a lot of oil;
- Less reliable method when it comes to steak doneness.
Sous vide is a method in which the steak is vacuum-sealed and cooked in temperature-controlled water.
For a steak cooked using the sous-vide method, you’ll need to have a vacuum sealer and sous-vide cooker.
Season the steak and place it in a vacuum bag. Seal the bag and place it in temperature-controlled water for at least an hour, depending on the steak’s doneness. Once cooked, sear the steak in a hot pan or on a grill to get a nice crust (similar to reverse sear).
It’s one of my favorite cooking methods. It’s widely used in many high-end restaurants. Many chefs, including myself, love sous vide because the steak cooks evenly and precisely. Not only it’s one of the most precise methods, but it also tenderizes even the toughest cuts of meat. One downside for home cooks is that you need special equipment.
- Sous vide is the most precise cooking method;
- It tenderizes even the toughest cuts of meat;
- It doesn’t need cooking oil;
- It’s easy.
- Long cooking times;
- Need special and expensive equipment.
Broiling is a steak cooking method when steak is placed in a hot oven and cooked using radiant heat from above.
Season the steak with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper for about 40 minutes before broiling. Place the steak onto the baking sheet lined with baking paper and transfer the steak into the preheated oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the baking sheet is sitting on the bottom rack. Radiant heat coming from above will cook the steak to your liking. Remember to flip the steak so it cooks evenly on all sides.
This method is highly inaccurate. Most home cooks will overcook the steak when broiling. It takes practice before you get the steak cooked to your liking. Sous vide, pan-frying, and grilling are way more accurate steak cooking methods.
The problem is that most home ovens fail to reach the temperatures needed for cooking a steak using the broiling method. You’ll either end up with overcooked or undercooked steak without a nice crust.
Here’s an excellent article explaining how to broil steak in detail. It has lots of useful information both for home cooks and chefs.
- It doesn’t need much cooking oil;
- Easy to clean after cooking the steak.
- Highly inaccurate cooking method;
- No nice crust compared to grilling or pan-frying.
Is it better to broil or pan-fry a steak?
Pan-frying steak is better than broiling because it’s more accurate. Pan searing produces a nice crust on the outside of the steak, while it’s hard to achieve the same result with broiling.
Is it better to grill or bake steak?
Grilling is the purest way of cooking the steak; therefore, it’s much better than baking. Grilling gives the steak a nice smoky flavor which is impossible to achieve when baking.
What’s the best way to cook a steak without a grill?
Pan-frying and sous vide is the best way to cook the steak without the grill. Both frying and sous vide are excellent methods.