The Steak II

Especially if you’re serving thick-cut steaks and even if you’re going to grill them, you might want to look at this article.

I use this method (adjusting the time to the thickness) even when I’m cooking thinner (< ¾") rather than than thicker (> ¾") steaks.

Thinner steaks are more common around here because Utahns are frugal, more likely to plan dinner around ground steak or chicken, so thin steaks tend to sell better. The problem has a vicious component to it: thin steaks are quickly turned into inedible shoe leather especially if medium or well done is desired. This in turn chases disappointed diners toward hamburger and chicken.

Don’t miss the part about peppersteaks recounted in the earlier article.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 275°.

2. Wash and pat steaks dry. Season with salt and pepper (or with peppercorns—see above).

3. Position steaks on a wire rack on a half-sheet. Put them into the oven with a thermometer if desired. You are looking for 20-30 minutes in the oven depending on thickness. With the thermometer (more accurate), you are looking for 90° (rare), 95° (medium rare) or 100° (medium). (Steaks at right are fresh out of the oven at 95°.)

4. Remove and tent steaks.


Heat oil in 12" skillet until almost smoking. Place two steaks in the pan or more if smaller, but keep at least 1" between them or they will braise in their juices which is not what you want. Sear until well browned and crusty, about 1½ to 2 minutes. Lift once during each side to allow fats to redistribute.

Turn steaks and do other side for 2 to 2½ minutes. If the steaks are thick enough, use tongs to brown their sides. However, do not squeeze any harder than necessary or you’ll lose juices. Set cooked steaks on a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes before serving.


Grill steaks 1½ to 2½ minutes or more per side depending on grill temperature. Plate, tent and let rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.

I reposition mine halfway through grilling on each side to get the grill-mark “diamond” pattern.

The perfect accompaniment

What’s perfect with steaks is very simple: a pile of fries and a daub of fresh creamery butter (unless you’re keeping Kosher in which case leave off the butter).

When an American sits down to a quick, simple meal, it’s usually a hamburger. Steak-frîtes is the French equivalent.