Back to Basics: Perfectly Pan-Seared Strip Steaks

A local market had a great sale on NY Strip steak in the value pack. I froze most, finding some room between the great deal on chicken thighs and my extra turkey. I kept one out for dinner last night. They were a little under a pound each, so I cut it in half and each one was a perfect serving size. Served it with mashed potatoes and gravy and a nice salad. In a weird twist of happenstance, the night before I was flipping around and America’s Test Kitchen was on and they were pan frying strip steaks, so I stuck around.

The first thing they talked about was baking them in the oven to start the process. I thought, no way can that work. But it’s cold here now and grilling is not an option, so I decided to try out their method. After all if I botched it, I had a freezer full, so if one wasn’t great, I’d turn it into salad fixin’s or something and try with another one.

Surprisingly, the method created some of the best steaks I’ve had in a while. Perfectly cooked, with great flavor, which is a trick if you aren’t grilling them, in my experience.

Now I wanted to link to their recipe or even better their video, but their entire site is locked down. You have to register with a credit card to have access. So you’ll just have to do with my version.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat steaks dry with paper towel. I actually seasoned mine the night before and put them in an overly large container with a lid, which helped dry them out. This seems to be key with this method.

They recommended 8-ounce steaks, mine were probably 6 oz. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder (opt). Place a wire rack on a cooking sheet, add the steaks and transfer to the oven. Cook until thermometer inserted in center of steaks registers 90° to 95° for rare to medium-rare (20-25 minutes) or 100° to 105° for medium (25-30 minutes). Mine were there by 15 minutes, so I’d check at 10 minutes, and every 5 minutes until you reach that temperature. Because of the cooking method, at this point you don’t have to worry about the thermometer piercing the meat and letting juices flow out – it’s still basically raw, but still try to use the same hole. If you do this method more often, you’ll probably be able to eye it and know it’s the right temp.

Next, heat oil in a skillet until it is almost smoking. I used olive oil and my cast iron. Place steaks in skillet, press down with your fingers, to make sure the whole side touches the skillet – the oil helps here, filling in the gaps. At about 1 minute, lift to redistribute oil and at the 2 minute mark, flip and sear the other side for 2 minutes, repeating the procedure. Now, with tongs, grab both steaks and sear each side for about a minute (if you’re making more than two steaks, remove all the steaks from the pan, onto a wire rack and sear sides two steaks at a time).

Set steaks on a platter, tent loosely with foil for 10 minutes. When you cut into it, you’ll find a perfectly heated and rare center with a beautiful crust on the outside. And something in this cooking method really brings out the flavors of the meat.

They made some kind serving sauce to go with their steaks, but I didn’t pay enough attention to it to recreate it. I made gravy instead.


If any of that needs clarification, ask in the comment section and I’ll see if I can describe the method better. I really wish I could link you to the video.