As a chef, I was taught the importance of leaving the steak out before service. It helps for the browning process, and the steak cooks evenly. However, when steak sits at room temperature, it must be seasoned with salt – it’s called dry brining, which I’ll cover later in the article. For example, placing a cold steak onto a scorching hot skillet may bring the skillet’s temperature down, and you want to avoid that. It can cause the steak to boil rather than sear.
This article will explain the importance of leaving the steak out before searing it. I’ll also explain why leaving steak rest after cooking is equally essential.
How Long To Rest The Steak Before Cooking
Depending on the steak size and thickness, leave steak rest at room temperature for about 30 mins to an hour before cooking. A one-inch rib-eye, NY strip, or sirloin steak takes a much shorter amount of time to reach room temperature than a big chateaubriand, t-bone, or a tomahawk steak.
Here’s an approximate amount of time each size steak should rest before cooking;
- 6oz steak: 15-20 mins before cooking;
- 8oz steak: 20-25 mins before cooking;
- 10oz steak: 25-30 mins before cooking;
- 12oz steak: 30-35 mins before cooking;
- 24oz steak: 40-45 mins before cooking;
- 30oz steak: 45-50 mins before cooking;
- 45oz steak: about an hour before cooking.
Why Resting Steak Before Cooking Is Important
Resting steak before cooking is essential because it triggers Maillard’s reaction more efficiently and cooks steak more evenly. To start the Maillard reaction, you need to cook meat at high temperatures.
It’s important to season the steak twenty minutes to an hour before cooking with a generous amount of kosher salt and leave it to rest at room temperature. Seasoning with salt is called dry brine. Salt helps to draw moisture out of the steak. When cooking a steak, it goes through the evaporation stage. Seasoning and resting the steak before cooking helps to reduce evaporation time when cooking.
Pad dry the steak with paper towels. After dry brining, there’s a lot of moisture on the exterior of the steak. Paper towels will remove the excess water from the steak’s surface, helping the browning stage. Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add some olive oil and put the steak in a pan.
Another reason for leaving a steak at room temperature before cooking is that it does not cool the pan down. If you put one or more steaks straight from the fridge into the scorching pan – the pan drops in temperature. Searing occurs when the pan is 400 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Putting a cold steak into the pan will significantly reduce the pan’s interior surface, meaning the steak can start to boil instead of sear.
Should You Let The Steak Rest After Cooking
Leave the steak to rest after cooking for five to ten minutes, depending on the steak size. 30oz and 45oz steaks may need even more time to rest – ten to fifteen minutes.
When cooking steak, its protein fibers harden and constrict, squeezing steak juices toward the center of the steak. When the steak is resting, the steak fibers relax, resulting in steak juices redistributing throughout the meat.
If you slice into the cooked steak immediately after removing it from the heat source, the juices end up on your plate, leaving the steak dry and less flavorful.
Note: The steak continues to cook for another few more minutes when taken out from the heat source. So if you want a medium-rare steak (135° F), you’ll need to take the steak out and leave it to rest when the internal temperature reaches 130° F.