Pan-seared flat iron steak in less than 10 minutes

Flat iron steak cooked in a pan
Flat iron steak cooked in a pan

Flat iron steak is an excellent cut for pan searing. Read more about flat iron steak here. It comes from the cow’s shoulder, which is a well-exercised area. Although shoulder meat is often used for slow cooking or ground beef, flat iron steak is versatile. Butchers devised an innovative way to trim the connective tissue resulting in a tender steak cut known as a flat iron steak.

Pan-seared flat iron steak has an exceptionally great crust and flavor. It’s also the second most tender steak cut after filet mignon.

It’s hard to buy flat iron steak at a local supermarket or farmers market. Instead, drop by your local butcher and ask for flat iron steak. Depending on your location, flat iron steak is also known as oyster blade steak, butler’s steak, shoulder top blade steak, top blade steak, or top blade filet. If it’s hard to find flat iron steak, it is available online. Snake rivers farm has excellent grass-fed flat iron steaks on offer.

In this article, I will show you how to cook flat iron steak on a stovetop using a pan. It’s best to use a heavy pan – cast iron skillet or stainless steel. The steak recipe is straightforward. It doesn’t require many ingredients and is easy to prepare.

How to cook flat iron steak on a stovetop?

How to cook flat iron steak on a stovetop
How to cook flat iron steak on a stovetop

Below you’ll find an ingredient list and step-by-step cooking instructions. However, since flat iron steak is versatile, it can be cooked using many different cooking methods. I have an article explaining how to cook a flat iron steak using 6 different methods. For this recipe, I’m using a cast iron pan; however, you can use any other heavy pan. It should be capable of withstanding high heat since searing meat requires high heat (450°F and over).

Ingredients:

  • Flat iron steak.
  • Light olive oil.
  • Kosher salt.
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary.
  • Butter.

Directions:

  1. Season flat iron steak with kosher salt and leave it in a fridge overnight. Salt will draw moisture from the steak and form a brine. The same brine will soak back into the steak and tenderize it by breaking down lean muscle proteins. At the same time, salt will enhance the steak’s natural flavors. However, if you want to use additional flavors, use steak marinade. Flat steaks are great for marinades.
  2. Bring flat iron steak to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll allow steak to cook evenly throughout. At the same time, it speeds up the cooking process.
  3. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the flat iron steak’s exterior. It’ll allow the meat to sear much better, resulting in a crispier exterior. Season it with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Preheat the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat until smoking hot. Add two tablespoons of light olive oil. If you prefer, use any other oil with a high smoke point. It’s essential to have a skillet hot. A hot skillet will ensure the steak starts to caramelize as soon as it hits the hot surface.
  5. Lay flat iron steak into a very hot skillet using tongs. Sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side until brown crust forms. Turn the heat to medium heat and continue cooking to your preferred doneness. Add a knob of butter to the skillet together with the aromatics. Baste the steak with a tablespoon. It’ll allow steak to soak up all the butter, thyme, and rosemary flavors. Using a meat thermometer, check the steak’s internal temperature. It’s best not to cook steak beyond medium doneness. Flat iron steak is the most tender and juicy when cooked to medium rare (135°F/57°C). Remove from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired temperature. The steak continues to cook when off the heat source. It’s called carryover cooking.
  6. Rest the flat iron steak for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cooking pushes steak juice toward the center of the meat. If you were to slice into the steak right after it’s cooked, all the juice would end up on your plate. Resting steak allows steak juice to redistribute evenly throughout the steak’s interior.
  7. Slice flat iron steak against the grains. It’ll reduce the length of the muscle fiber, making steak much more tender.

How to prepare flat iron steak before cooking?

Here are a few flat iron steak preparation tips before cooking:

  • Season or marinade steak overnight. Seasoning flat iron steak with salt will tenderize the meat and enhance the beefy flavor. Marinating will tenderize the meat and add additional flavor to the steak. If you want to learn more about how to tenderize steak using one of the tenderizing methods, click on this link.
  • Bring steak to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking it. The steak will cook faster and evenly throughout.
  • Pat steak dry before cooking. It’ll allow steak to form a perfect crust.

Note: here’s a flat iron steak marinade you can use for flat iron steak fajitas and other recipes.

How to measure a flat iron steak’s internal temperature?

Flat iron steak internal temperature
Flat iron steak internal temperature

To measure flat iron steak temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Wait for 15-20 seconds for the temperature to stabilize. Alternatively, you can use a finger test method. With the index finger, press on to the thickness part of the flat iron steak. Rare steak has no give. It feels soft. Medium-rare steak gives slightly. Medium steak gives quite a lot. Medium-well steak feels firm to the touch. Well done feels firm to the touch with no give.

Here’s the cooked steak temperature chart:

  • Rare steak: 125° Fahrenheit/52°C.
  • Medium rare steak: 135° Fahrenheit/57°C.
  • Medium steak: 145° Fahrenheit/62°C.
  • Medium-well steak: 150° Fahrenheit/65°C.
  • Well done, steak: 160° Fahrenheit/71°C.

Flat iron steak cooking times

Flat iron steak cooking time may vary depending on the steak’s size, cooking temperature, and desired doneness. Here are the cooking times for cooking flat iron steak in a pan:

  • Rare steak: 3-5 minutes
  • Medium-rare steak: 5-7 minutes;
  • Medium steak: 7-9 minutes;
  • Medium-well steak: 9-11 minutes;
  • Well done, steak: 11+ minutes.

Storing and reheating leftover flat iron steak

Store leftover steak in an airtight container. Remove as much air as possible to prevent the leftover flat iron steak from spoiling. Alternatively, you can wrap the steak in plastic or aluminum foil. How long cooked steak last depends on how you store it. However, USDA guidelines state that you should consume leftover steak within 3-4 days of cooking it.

To reheat flat iron steak, preheat the oven to 275° Fahrenheit. Place the steak on a wire rack on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Reheat leftover steak for 15-25 minutes, depending on the steak’s thickness. Learn more about reheating steak by clicking on this link.

Note: USDA provides guidelines for storing leftover steaks.

FAQ

What is the best cooking method for flat iron steak?

The best cooking method for flat iron steak is grilling and cooking in a pan. Both cooking methods are great for extracting the most flavor out of the meat. While grilling is the purest way of cooking steak, pan frying is the faster and most convenient cooking method for most.

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