Often in restaurants, we use these cuts of meat for pan-frying. Grilling these cuts of meat is also fantastic; however, it’s more time-consuming. Most home cooks love pan frying since it’s not difficult, and you can cook a juicy steak in a matter of minutes.
All you need is a few ingredients and a frying pan for steak with a thick base. You can use a cast-iron skillet or a high-quality multi-ply construction non-stick pan. A pan with a thick bottom will distribute and retain heat well. It’s essential when pan-frying steak. I highly recommend HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Stainless Steel Frying Pan for the steak lover. It’s versatile, easy to use, and maintain. However, if you’re on a budget, Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is another great steak option.
In this article, I’ll explain why these fantastic cuts of beef are so great for pan-searing. I’ll also give you some tips on how to cook them.
Best Steak Cuts For Pan-Frying
Below you’ll find some of the best steak cuts you can use for pan-frying.
Pan-frying is a quick and easy way to cook steak with a few ingredients. Salt, pepper, a knob of butter, and some fresh herbs are all you need. Most of these ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, and if you don’t, you most certainly can find them in your local supermarket or farmers market.
If you want to learn more about different steak cuts for different cooking methods you’ll find a list below:
Let’s start with the best cut of meat: a rib-eye steak.
Rib-eye steak is a boneless cut of meat from a rib section. It has more fat when compared to other types of steak. However, this cut of beef is packed with flavor.
Thicker cuts are better for pan searing. First, it’s more forgiving since it’s easy to overcook a thin cut of meat. Thick steak requires more time to cook to your preferred doneness. Here’s an article on how to cook rib-eye steak in a frying pan.
One to one and a half-inch thick is the best rib-eye steak thickness for pan-frying.
T-bone steak is a cut of beef from the short loin. It contains a strip of top loin and a small chunk of tenderloin.
T-bone steak packs many unique flavors and is fantastic for pan-frying. However, some home cooks find it difficult to cook it in a skillet or any other type of pan. Since it’s a thick cut of meat with a bone – it cooks slower than a boneless steak. Here’s an article on how to cook t-bone steak in a frying pan.
A great alternative to a t-bone steak is porterhouse steaks. It is cut from the rib end of the sirloin. It’s a big piece of meat; therefore, it’s usually cooked to serve two people. Non or less, you can pan fry it as well.
Sirloin steak is a cut from the rear back portion of the animal. It’s divided into two types of steak. The top sirloin is a premium cut since it’s more tender and flavorsome. You’ll find this cut of beef marked as a “top sirloin” in the supermarket or farmers’ market. The bottom sirloin is larger; however, it’s less tender. You’ll find it for sale marked as a “sirloin steak.”
Sirloin is a boneless and tender cut of beef that is perfect for pan-frying. It does not pack as much flavor as rib-eye steak; however, it contains less fat.
The perfect cut should be about an inch thick. Thinner cuts cook faster; therefore, it’s easy to overcook them.
Fillet steak comes from the lower middle of the back and forms part of the sirloin. It’s one of the most tender cuts of meat. It’s also very lean and one of the most expensive cuts.
Fillet muscle is the least active; therefore, it’s so tender. Filet mignon and chateaubriand are the most common steak cuts from the fillet.
Both filet mignon and the chateaubriand are excellent for pan searing. However, the chateaubriand is usually a little over one pound, making it hard for an amateur home cook to cook it well. I recommend finishing it off in the oven most of the time.
Here’s an article on how to cook a fillet steak in a frying pan.
On the other hand, Filet mignon is a small cut of meat. It’s usually cut to about one and a half inches. It’s easy to pan-fry, unlike the chateaubriand.
Rump steak is a cut between the leg and the chine cut right through the aitchbone. It has a firmer texture, and some people find it chewy.
It is usually cut to about an inch thick. It does not contain much that; however, this meat cut is still packed with flavor.
It’s easy to pan-fry rump steak. Since it’s a thin cut of meat, it tends to cook fast.
Hanger steak is a cut from the short plate on the underside of the beef. It’s undoubtedly one of the most underrated cuts of meat.
Hanger steak is tender and packed with amazing flavors. It has some fat, and it does melt in your mouth because it’s not an active muscle.
Hanger steak is a long and thin cut of meat. I recommend cutting it in half or using a large skillet for pan-frying it.
How To Cook a Steak In a Frying Pan
Cooking steak in a frying pan is effortless. Unlike grilling, pan-frying is easy. It only takes a few minutes and a few ingredients to cook the most delicious and juicy steak.
First, before you even start pan-frying steak, you’ll need to determine the doneness of the steak. You can do that with a probe thermometer which is the easiest way. Although it’s not ideal because it releases juices when sticking a thermometer into the meat. A great alternative is a finger test method. Most chefs rely on finger tests only and do not use thermometers. However, if you do not feel comfortable with the thinger test, use a thermometer.
Follow a step-by-step guide below on cooking any steak cut in a frying pan. Since we will be using beef cuts, the same cooking method applies to all types of cuts: rib-eye, t-bone, sirloin, fillet, rump, hanger, or any other cut of steak.
- Any steak cut
- Olive oil or any other oil with a high smoking point (canola and vegetable oils works well)
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh herbs
- Crushed garlic
- Take the steak out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before cooking. Season it with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Leave it to rest at room temperature.
- Prepare everything in advance. Peele the garlic. Wash fresh herbs. Have a thermometer and tongs on a countertop ready to be used. It’s essential to prepare everything in advance since the steak cooking process is fast.
- Put a frying pan on high heat and let it sit there until it starts to smoke lightly.
- Pour two to three tablespoons of your preferred oil (make sure it has a high smoking point). Spread the oil throughout the entire cooking surface.
- Place the steak in a frying pan. Do not drop in the pan. Place it gently.
- An extremely hot pan will make a nice crust on the outside of the steak. I’m cooking a rib-eye steak medium-rare; therefore, I’ll cook two minutes on each side twice. Be aware that boneless steaks require more time to cook. If you are searing a t-bone steak, leave it for a longer time. When checking the doneness, check the thickest part of the steak. Generally, thick steaks cook longer, while thin ones take less time.
- Halfway through cooking, add butter, herbs, and garlic. Baste it with butter to add more flavor.
- When a steak is cooked, take it out and leave it to rest. Leaving it to rest will allow the stake to remain juicy on the inside.
What is the most tender steak to pan fry?
Fillet steak is the most tender steak to pan fry. Since fillet comes from the lower middle of the back and forms part of the sirloin, it’s the least active muscle; therefore, it’s the most tender.
Is Top Sirloin good for pan-frying?
Yes, top sirloin is good for pan-frying. Top sirloin is a premium cut. It’s tender and packed with flavor; however, rib-eye or t-bone is even more tender because it’s not as lean.
What kind of steak can you cook in a pan?
You can cook any steak in a pan. However, boneless steaks are best since steak with bones is very thick. The ideal cut of steak for pan-frying is one to one and a half inches thick.