We rarely eat red meat, so when we do, we make sure it is high-quality and delicious. My favorite cut is filet mignon…when cooked correctly, it is just so darn tender and tasty. When Nate’s mom was here last November, she made us a fantastic dinner, which included some filet. While we were debating about how to cook our beautiful hunks of meat, she mentioned that she and my father-in-law had used a technique from America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated that worked beautifully. We dug around the Internet, found the recipe and…
Sorry for the not-so-pretty photos. Truth is I wanted to eat the steak more than I wanted to photograph it!
…PEOPLE. This is the perfect way to cook steak. Seriously. Perfect. It comes out medium-rare and is so juicy and tender. For those of you scared of red/pink in your meat, please believe me when I tell you medium-rare is the way to eat your steak. REALLY. The flavor and texture are so much better than medium or well-done, but it’s still hot and cooked through just enough. The first time I ate a medium-rare steak was at Donovan’s Steak House and I have never eaten it another way since. It’s the only way to go!
So, back to the Cook’s Illustrated technique…you salt and pepper the steak and then bake it in the oven BEFORE searing it on the stove. The reasoning is that your steak will cook evenly throughout and that the final sear will give the steak a nice, caramelized crust. We found another blogger who had used this recipe and he said that it’s been consistent every time. I love reliable recipes like that!
The Perfect Steak
Method & recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I’ve written it out here in my own words, so if something goes wrong blame me
- 2 boneless strip steaks 1 1/2″ – 1 3/4″ thick, about 1 pound each (filet mignon or ribeye may be substituted)
- Salt & Pepper (I like to use coarse versions of both)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (2 tablespoons for filet mignon)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.
Cut steaks vertically in half so you have four 8-ounce steaks. Let rest outside of the fridge for about 15 minutes. Dry off steaks with a paper towel then pat liberally with salt and pepper. Place steaks on a wire rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet so steaks are not resting directly on the pan. Insert an instant-read, oven-safe thermometer into one of the steaks, then put steaks in the oven until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 90 – 95 degrees for medium rare (20-25 mins) or 100 to 105 degrees for medium (25-30 mins). GO WITH MEDIUM RARE!
Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat on your stove. We used one of my copper-core heavy bottom frying pans – I think a cast-iron skillet would be ideal, but mine is buried in storage somewhere. When oil starts to smoke, sear the steak in the pan ~ 2 minutes per side. Sear the edges as well, ~ 1 minute per edge.
Place steaks back on rack on cookie sheet, tent with foil and let rest ~ 10 minutes. Eat!