Cooking steaks in a cast iron skillet on stovetop

Linda WaymanAugust 21, 2008

How high should the temp be and is there a secret to having a tender steak? I tried it once a few years ago. I marinated the steaks then cooked them in a skillet that has ridges in it. The only thing I remember is that they weren't very tender. What did I do wrong? Should I have a lid on the skillet?



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I've been cooking mine this way, every since Lala posted it years ago:

Preheat oven to 350F
Get cast iron skillet good & hot, put seasoned steak(s) in... 2 minutes per side. Put whole skillet in oven, do steaks another 2 minutes per side... put them on a plate and cover. Allow to sit in juices 5-10 minutes before eating...... I am talking Y-U-M-M-Y!!!!!!!!!!!

(Shoulda done it this way the other night! LOL)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 2:34PM
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Dang if I know! I am sure someone else will though.
BUT I think I have seen recipes where they just brown the steak on the outside and then put the entire thing, steak,skillet and all into the oven and bakes it. I wonder if that helps?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Linda, the most important thing you can do to get a tender steak is to BUY a tender cut, LOL. Seriously, for so many years I bought cheaper cuts and tried marinating them in various things to make them tender, but I was never really very happy with the result. Now, we eat steak less often, so I splurge on a really good cut and it makes all the difference, marinade or not. Our favorite is rib eye, 1.5"-2" thick. We like them rare. Another thing is to use very high heat. And don't keep turning them. Sear them good on one side, then do the same on the other. Flatiron steaks aren't as expensive and although they usually have a line of gristle down the middle the rest of the steak is extremely tender.

Last year we watched a steak cook-off on TV and there was a grumpy old guy who gave my husband a great tip to test for doneness: touch the tip of the index finger of one hand to the tip of the thumb on the same hand. Poke the ball of the thumb on that hand with the index finger of the other hand. See how that feels? That's rare. Then touch the tip of the thumb with the middle finger of the same hand instead of the index finger. Poke it. That's medium. Then the ring finger. That's done. Then the little finger. That's TOO darn done!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 3:21PM
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Linda Wayman

Thanks Angela. I didn't put them in the oven. I just cooked them on top. They were rib eyes. I used to buy New York Strips and KC Strips, but I rarely see them in the grocery store anymore.

Donna, I'm trying to do the doneness test, but it's not making sense to me. I'm going to read it again in a little while and maybe it will sink in then. LOL!!!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Linda, think of it as making the "okay" sign and touching the "meat" below your thumb with the index finger of the other hand. Then make the "okay" sign using the middle finger instead of the index finger, and so on. Sorry, I guess I'm not a very good 'splainer.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:38PM
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I watched Alton Brown do this on Good Eats. Thought I would have to do that some time!
BE SURE AND LET STEAK REST as Alton says is a must!

Pan Seared Rib Eye Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Steak Your Claim

1 boneless rib eye steak, 1 1/2-inch thick
Canola oil to coat
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.
When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 5:52PM
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The step Donna L left out was to tell you that when you pressed the center of the steak it should "feel like" the tests she described for doneness. (if you want it rare it feels like example #1, etc.)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:05PM
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Thank you, Miss Pris. I did indeed leave that important step out. Thanks for catching that.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 7:21PM
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I fryed two filet mignons on Sunday using Alton Brown's method. Salt and pepper the steaks, then cook in a little canola oil. Cook three minutes per side, no peeking. I made a Steak Diane Sauce-two tablespoons each Worschestire sauce, ketchup, yellow mustard, and red wine. Add a can of sliced mushrooms cooked in butter. Add any herbs you might like-I used chives from my herb garden. Serve the sauce over the steaks. My husband loved it, his only complaint was the steaks were small.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:42PM
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Linda, that is the way I cook steak almost all the time. I like to use sirloin, because it has good flavor and is fairly tender. I rub some flour on it. I use self rising flour, so that is what I put on the steak. I heat the skillet with a little oil. Sprinkle a little Tony's on the steak, drop it in, let it cook about a minute, flip it over, and that's it. I like it rare but I cook it medium for my husband.

I like the flour on it. Browns quickly and makes a bit of a crust, but not like breaded.

I don't like beef cooked past rare, and I prefer it extra rare (cold in the center), but I cook it more for Jody.

I also cook ribeyes this way, and sometimes t bones. I will even cook round steak this way if it has been tenderized.

I grew up eating steak cooked like this. Same way I cook pork chops, except cook them a little longer. I don't like beef or pork "finished" in the oven. It cooks it too much and nothing is worse than dried out beef...unless it is dried out pork.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I love to watch Alton Brown's Good Eats! I drooled when watching him cook those steaks!
He said one of the most important things was RESTING the meat!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:05PM
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Get a couple of 3/4" thick Flat Irons and generously rub both sides with your favorite seasoning, using 1/4 tsp. of salt per steak if your seasoning has no salt in it. Let them stand at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat a skillet (I use a heavy, high-quality nonstick) over medium to medium-high heat. Add a little oil, fry the steaks for 5 minutes on each side, flipping only once (tongs - no fork.) Take pan off heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

They'll be tender, juicy, bursting with flavor . . . guaranteed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 11:10PM
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Poke the tip of your nose with your index finger - that's well done.
Poke your chin - medium.
Your cheek - rare.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 9:55PM
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What do you use to marinate?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 7:54AM
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I grew up with steaks cooked as Marilyn mentioned. I hardly ever cook them that way now, although I do love them prepared that way. I like mine medium well.

Mom would then use the drippings to make gravy. Delicious!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 9:07AM
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Linda Wayman

Thanks everyone. I knew you would have some good suggestions.

Ivemae, I use different marinades. The one I use most often is Italian Dressing made from Good Season's dressing mix.

I also marinate them in pineapple juice and minced garlic.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 9:16AM
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My favorite meat marinade is a bottle of red wine vinegar salad dressing, any brand.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 12:19PM
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Marcia Thornley

My favorite marinade for beef:
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of salt
several cloves of garlic minced

Steaks come out so tender and tasty after marinating in this.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 1:49PM
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My favorite seasoning is Dale's seasoning! Beef or pork!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Linda Wayman

Glenda, whenever my dd comes to visit I bring out the Dale's. She loves it with everything.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 2:22PM
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