Broiling steak is a fantastic cooking method that’s perfect for beginners. It requires no special equipment and only takes about 10 minutes to cook a perfect steak.
However, while some steaks are well-suited for broiling, others are not. These steak cuts are best both for beginners and more advanced home cooks.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through all the steps you need to know to broil steaks to perfection. As a chef, I perfected this method over the years. I’ll cover everything from choosing the right cut of steak to seasoning it, preheating the broiler, cooking it, and serving it. So if you are unfamiliar with this cooking method, read along to learn more.
What is broiling?
Broiling is a cooking method that uses high heat from above to cook your chosen piece of steak. It’s a popular method for cooking steak, especially among less experienced home cooks, as it can create a delicious caramelized crust on the outside of the meat while keeping the inside juicy and tender.
The broiling process involves placing the steak on a sheet pan and positioning it directly beneath the broiler element. Usually about 3-5 inches away from the broiler. The broiler element, which is usually located at the top of the oven, emits high heat that cooks the steak quickly and efficiently. The intense heat causes a Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that creates the characteristic browned and caramelized crust on the steak’s exterior.
One of the advantages of broiling is that it’s a simple and easy cooking method that doesn’t require any special equipment beyond a broiler and a sheet pan. It’s a great option when you want to cook steak without the hassle of setting up an outdoor grill or if you do not want to wash a greasy pan.
Choose the right cut of steak
Some of the best cuts for broiling include ribeye, New York strip, and filet mignon. These cuts are well-marbled with fat, which helps to keep the meat juicy and tender during the cooking process. If you’re unsure what marbling is, read this article to get familiar with it.
I would recommend avoiding cuts of beef packed with connective tissue. Yes, they are more affordable, but they are chewy, and there’s no way to make them tender when broiling them.
When selecting a steak, it’s essential to look for one that is evenly thick throughout. This will ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t become overcooked or undercooked in certain areas. It’s also a good idea to choose a steak at least 1 inch thick since thinner cuts can be challenging to cook properly without overcooking. However, it might not be an issue if you’re comfortable with cooking steak.
Additionally, the quality of the meat can make a big difference in the final result. I have a detailed steak-buying guide article explaining what to look for. However, when looking for steak, look for one that is either bright red or slightly pinkish with marbling throughout. Avoid discolored meat with a strong odor, as this can be a sign of spoilage. Depending on the diet of the cow, the color may differ. For instance, grass-fed beef is bright red, while grain-fed is slightly pinkish
- Ribeye: This well-marbled cut of beef is rich and flavorful, and it’s a favorite for broiling. Ribeye steaks are typically cut at least 1 inch thick, which makes them ideal for broiling.
- New York Strip: Another popular choice for broiling is New York strip steak. It is tender and juicy with a bold, beefy flavor. It’s also well-marbled with fat, which helps to keep the steak moist during the broiling process.
- Filet Mignon: This cut of beef is known for its tenderness and buttery texture. However, it’s one of the most expensive cuts. It’s not as well-marbled as some other cuts, but it’s still an excellent option for broiling, especially if you’re looking for a leaner alternative.
- Sirloin: The sirloin steak is a versatile cut that can be broiled despite having a slightly chewy texture. It’s leaner than some other cuts but still has a great flavor.
- Porterhouse: This large, thick steak is a favorite for grilling but can also be broiled to great effect. It’s a combination of the tenderloin and the New York strip, which means you get a variety of textures and flavors in one cut of meat.
How to broil steak
Here’s a perfect broiled steak recipe:
- 1 lb of ribeye steak
- 1 tbsp olive oil rub the steak
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Baking pan
- Wire rack
- Paper towels
- Sharp knife
Step 1: Season the steak
To season your steak, pat it dry with a paper towel. This will help to remove any excess moisture, which can interfere with the searing process. Next, generously season the steak with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. It’s important to season it well on all sides, as the seasoning will form a crust on the outside of the meat and enhance the flavor of the steak.
Additionally, you can use other seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or dried herbs. Steak marinades and dry rubs are often used to season the steak. Marinades can help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with additional flavor, while dry rubs add a delicious crust to the outside of the steak.
Step 2: Bring steak to room temperature
Before you start broiling your steak, bring it to room temperature. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. How long it takes to let the steak rest depends on the thickness of the steak and other factors.
Bringing your steak to room temperature is essential because it allows it to warm up slightly, which will help it cook more evenly and result in a more tender, flavorful steak.
If you cook a cold steak, the inside will take longer to heat up, resulting in uneven cooking. At the same time, the outside can cook too quickly, resulting in a tough, chewy texture.
Step 3: Preheat the broiler
To preheat your broiler, start by setting your oven to the broil setting. Make sure the oven rack is in the highest position. Some ovens may have a high and low broil setting, so make sure to select the high setting for the best results. Once you’ve selected the broil setting, allow your oven to preheat for at least 5-10 minutes.
Note: broilers can vary in heat output, so keeping an eye on your steak as it broils is a good idea. Some broilers may take longer than others to achieve the desired sear, so monitoring the cooking process is important to ensure that your steak doesn’t overcook or burn.
Step 4: Broil the steak
Place your steak on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. It will allow the heat to circulate the steak and ensure it cooks evenly throughout. Position the steak about 3-5 inches away from the broiler.
Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip it over using tongs and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. This should result in a medium-rare steak, but cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your steak and the strength of your broiler. Keep in mind I’m broiling a 1 1/2-inch thick ribeye steak.
Check the doneness of your steak using an instant-read meat thermometer. For a medium-rare steak, the internal temperature should be around 135°F. If you prefer a different level of doneness, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Step 5: Rest the steak
After your steak has finished cooking, it’s important to let the steak rest for a few minutes before cutting it. It will allow the juices to redistribute and ensure your steak is juicy and flavorful. Place it on a cutting board or a plate and cover it loosely with foil to keep it warm and prevent it from cooling too quickly. During this time, the temperature of the steak will continue to rise slightly and will increase by about 5-10°F during the resting period. It’s known as carryover cooking. Resting will allow the juices to redistribute and ensure that your steak is juicy and flavorful.
Step 6: Slice and serve the steak
To slice your steak, cut against the grain with a sharp knife. This means cutting perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers, which will make the steak more tender and easier to chew. Here’s an excellent guide explaining how to cut the steak.
How to store and reheat leftover broiled steak?
If you have leftover broiled steaks, it’s essential to store them properly to ensure it doesn’t spoil and maintains their flavor and texture. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following guidelines for storing and reheating cooked meat:
- Store leftover steak in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking it.
- You can store cooked steak in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- To store cooked steak, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container.
- If you don’t plan on eating your leftover steak within 3-4 days, you can freeze it for 2-3 months.
- To freeze leftover steak, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in a freezer-safe container.
When it’s time to reheat your leftover steak, there are a few options you can use. First, the oven method. Preheat your oven to 275°F. Place the steak in a baking pan and cover it with foil. Heat the steak in the oven until the steak is warm throughout.
The following method is reheating on a stovetop. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan. Once hot, add the steak and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Last is the microwave method; however, I recommend using either the oven or stovetop method because there’s less chance of overcooking the meat. Place the steak on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals until the steak is heated through
What’s the difference between broiling and grilling steak?
Broiling and grilling are two different methods for cooking steak. Broiling involves cooking the steak in the oven under high heat, while grilling involves cooking the steak over an open flame on a grill. Broiling is a good option when you cook thick steaks and have less experience with meat cooking. On the other hand, grilling can give the steak a distinct smoky flavor and charred exterior that some people prefer.
How do I know when the broiler is preheated?
Most ovens have a preheat light or sound that indicates when the oven has reached the desired temperature. Generally, you should preheat the broiler for about 5-10 minutes before cooking your steak. To test if the broiler is ready, you can hold your hand about 6 inches away from the broiler element. If you can only keep your hand there for a few seconds before it becomes too hot, then the broiler is preheated and ready for use. However, be careful when using this method.
Can I broil frozen steak?
Broiling frozen steak is generally not recommended as it can result in uneven cooking and a less desirable texture. However, if you have no other option but to cook frozen steak, use a pan-frying method instead. When a steak is frozen, the moisture inside the meat forms ice crystals which can cause the steak to become tough when cooked. Additionally, cooking frozen meat at high heat can cause the outside of the steak to cook too quickly while the inside remains frozen.
Do I need to flip the steak while broiling?
It’s a common question whether you need to flip the steak while broiling, and the answer is yes! Flipping the steak halfway through cooking allows both sides to cook evenly, giving you a nice crust on both sides. This is especially important if you’re cooking a thick steak, as it may take longer to cook through.