How to Create the Perfect Steak at Home
What cut do I buy?
Let's start at the very beginning with the biggest dilemma of the whole process of preparing a steak at home. Cut is very important as well as quality, so it's essential that you start with a great steak.
First off, try to work past your preconceived notions that fat is bad. Sure, a really fatty cut of meat is less healthy and often lower quality, but fat is also what helps give moisture and flavor to a steak. Seeing fat well-marbled and distributed within the steak is a great thing to see when you're choosing your cut.
Experts say the best steak is a bone-in ribeye, which gets plenty of flavor from the bone and marbling of fat within the meat. Our Editor Dan likes the filet mignon, because it's a perfect serving you avoid the bone. Both of those make great dinner steaks. If you're thinking of making a dish like Steak and Eggs or Steak Fajitas, where tender steak is of the utmost importance, a flank steak is a great budget-friendly option.
Grass-Fed, Grain-Fed, or Corn-Fed?
Two things must be considered here - the environmental question and the taste question. Environmentally speaking, cows naturally eat grass and that's best for their health. It also doesn't produce as flavorful of meat. Corn-fed often gives a rich, buttery flavor to steak that many wouldn't pass on. It's a personal choice,
How to Season It
Bone-in ribeye and flank steaks have plenty of flavoring on their own, so a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and garlic powder is all they really need. For a leaner cut like a filet mignon, adding a rub or sauce can bring back the flavor that is compromised by having a lower fat content.
Cooking the Steak
Steaks are not an item you want to slow-cook. The ultimate goal in cooking a steak is to retain as much moisture and thereby flavor as possible, while getting it to reach a really high internal temperature. Restaurants use grills heated to 1,000° F to achieve a perfectly seared outside while losing little inner flavor. Since you can't replicate that at home, do your best by putting your grill on high or using a cast iron skillet indoors. Cook steaks for only a few minutes on each side, making sure not to flatten them as you would a burger to remove juice. Also, don't flip your steak more than once or twice, as getting a nice char and sear on the outside is crucial to a great-tasting steak.
Try adjusting how you prepare steak if you like it medium-well -- the most flavorful steaks are on the medium-rare to medium spectrum because this cooktime retains flavor.
Serve it Properly
Let steaks sit for 5 minutes before serving so that they reabsorb the moisture instead of having it run on your plate. Enjoy, and remember that practice makes perfect!