The Steak

—ou complainte de ceux qui ont le ventre vide considérée comme une gaudriole par ceux qui ont le ventre plein.
                                                                                    Maxim Leforestier

I prepare my steak by washing, patting dry, salting with Kosher salt, peppering with fresh-ground pepper, and annointing with a little olive oil. The oil helps prevent sticking to the grill, glues the seasonings in place, etc.


I remind myself that a ¾-inch ribeye steak will sit on my grill fired up to its hottest for 6 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes on the second to reach rare to medium-rare.

Flat iron

A ½-inch flat iron will sit on my grill fired up to its hottest for 3 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second to reach rare to medium-rare.


It is possible to do 1+ inch steaks in a very hot skillet, however. This is best for leaner steaks like sirloin, I think. I would prefer to do ribeyes, chucks, flat irons and other nicely marbled steaks on the grill.

Tenderloin (filet mignon) and peppercorn encrusting

Buy very thick, at least 1½". To make a pepper steak, which holds for any other of these cuts on this page, use the following procedure from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen:

1. Using the bottom of a skillet, crush a good quantity of peppercorns. Steep them over medium-low heat in olive oil for 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Note: Doing it this way is dangerous, may possibly damage something, messy (sending bits of pepper all over the kitchen) and just plain not the best way. I use a coffee grinder that I bought for grinding spices. I just don’t grind the peppercorns into fine powder is all.

Steeping in oil transforms the pipertine, the chemical that gives pepper its spicy hot aspect, into an isomer that isn’t hot to the taste.

2. Add Kosher salt to make a paste, encrust the steaks, all surfaces, but especially top and bottom, cover with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for an hour.

3. When ready, heat oil in a skillet to very hot and sear the steaks for 3-4 minutes on one side (once placed in the skillet do not move the meat), then 3-4 minutes on the other. Transfer to a 350° oven until internal temperature reaches desire point (medium-rare would be 130° and will coast up a bit thereafter). Remove from oven and tent for 15 minutes before serving with the Port reduction sauce. Or...

...follow my article on cooking steaks here.


I might serve my steak with a little butter and parsley garnish and a side of French fried potatoes or, if a pan steak, with a pan sauce over the top. I serve a side of potato and/or vegetables, but little else and I certainly never any kind of tomato-based sauce (barbecue, etc.) on a steak.

A mushroom pan sauce is nice when accompanying with garlic-mashed potatoes.