How to Cook a Steak on a Cast Iron Skillet: The Ultimate Guide
You've got your beautiful cut of steak, your cast iron skillet is at the ready, and you're ready to take your culinary game to the next level. But before you dive in, let's go over some tips and tricks to ensure your steak turns out perfectly cooked and bursting with flavor.
First things first - why cook steak on a cast iron skillet? There are a few reasons. Cast iron skillets heat evenly and get extremely hot, which is essential for creating a good sear on your steak. Plus, cast iron retains heat well, so your steak will continue to cook even after you remove it from the heat. And let's not forget those beautiful sear marks that make steak look and taste amazing.
- Choose the right cut of steak
The first step to cooking a steak on a cast iron skillet is to choose the right cut of meat. While you can cook any cut of steak on a cast iron skillet, some cuts work better than others. Here are some popular cuts of steak to consider:
- Ribeye: A ribeye steak is a well-marbled cut of meat that's rich in flavor and tenderness.
- Strip Steak: Also known as a New York strip, this steak is leaner than a ribeye but still flavorful and tender.
- Filet mignon: This steak is the most tender cut of meat, but it's also the leanest, so it can dry out if overcooked.
- Preheat your skillet
Before cooking your steak, you'll want to preheat your cast iron skillet. Place the skillet on a burner over high heat for about 5 minutes, until it's very hot. You'll know it's hot enough when you sprinkle a few drops of water onto the skillet and they sizzle and evaporate immediately.
- Season your steak
While your skillet is heating up, season your steak generously with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or rosemary, depending on your preferences.
- Add oil or butter
Once your skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil or butter to the skillet. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet evenly.
- Cook your steak
Carefully add your steak to the hot skillet, laying it down away from you to prevent any oil or butter splatters. Let it sear for 2-3 minutes without moving it, until it forms a crispy crust on the bottom. Then, use tongs to flip the steak over and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. For thicker cuts of steak, you may need to cook it for longer on each side.
- Check the temperature
To check the temperature of your steak, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Here are the recommended temperatures for different levels of doneness:
- Rare: 120-130°F
- Medium rare: 130-135°F
- Medium: 135-145°F
- Medium well: 145-155°F
- Well done: 155°F and above
- Rest your steak
Once your steak has reached your desired temperature, remove it from the skillet and let it rest on a cutting board or plate for a few minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak.
With these tips in mind, you can cook a delicious and juicy steak on a cast iron skillet every time. Experiment with different cuts of steak and seasonings to find your perfect combination, and don't be afraid to try new techniques to make your steak even better.