Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amazing Steaks

I love a good steak. Growing up, my Dad always threw them on the grill. Sometimes they were awesome, sometimes they got a little dry, but I loved the way they got that crust on the outside. But grills can be super finicky and its so easy to over cook them. When I lived on my own, I almost never cooked steaks because I didn't want to bust out the grill for just one. When BC and I got married, I became more proficient with the grill, but still, a ton of work for two lil tiny steaks, and, again, so easy to over cook. We went the Georg Foreman route but, no offense George, dang those things things cook so fast, and sometimes they totally char up the outside before the middle is nowhere near being ready.

Enter the cast iron skillet.

Its so simple.

The cast iron skillet is the perfect way to cook food. It can literally go from biscuits in the morning, to grilled cheese sandwiches at lunch, to steaks at dinner!

Naturally, this takes some practice. You work with such high heat, that it requires total focus to make sure you don't (1) burn your steaks right up or (2) start a fire. (Perhaps that should have been #1?) I've used this method once or twice before, and I have to say, my most recent effort was the best yet.

Before I address the recipe, its important to discuss two things:
1. Type of Steak: This is very important. You want to make sure you have a fair amount of marbling, but not so much you get barely meat and not too little that there won't end up being any juice for it to sizzle in. My favorite cut is a chuck eye. Seriously people, it is a rare gem of deliciousness, and usually ends up being pretty cheap. Tonight I made two 4 oz chuck eyes I found on sale at Publix for a little over $4!! They were on sale (and generally go on sale quite a bit) so when I find them, I load up. I've also done this recipe with filet mignons before, which worked out nicely, but cooked a little longer because they tend to be thicker cuts than chuck eyes.

2. Thickness of Steak: This will cause you to adjust your cooking time quite a bit. You'll see here, for my 4 oz chuck eyes, it was 1 minute total in the pan, two minutes total in the oven. They were long and thin. I've done 4 oz. filets before that were small and thick and ended up going a total for 4 minutes in the oven. Its all about watching the steaks, making sure the coloring looks good, and testing the temperature to make sure you don't overcook them.

Amazing Steaks

2 steaks (I used chuck eye steaks here)
peanut or safflower oil

Yep, just four ingredients :)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Throw your cast iron skillet in the oven while the oven is preheating.

While you are waiting for the oven, grab the steaks, liberally salt each side, and grind some fresh black pepper on each side.

At this point you want to add a tiny bit of oil to each side. I put peanut or safflower oil on the ingredient list because they handle high heat the best. They have the highest smoking points. If you don't have this, its ok, but you might end up with lots of extra smoke. I ran out of peanut oil and used a canola blend tonight, which worked fine, just lots of smoke.

I sprayed it on with my handy Misto sprayer. These things are amazing! I found one for cheap at TJ Maxx a while back, but got two really nice ones from the ILs for Christmas!! I LOVE these things because you can use regular oil in them and not have to buy Pam or whatever with all its weird sketchy additives.

Once the oven is done preheating, take our pan out and put it on a burner on high heat for a few minutes. Ideally you want it on there for like 5 minutes. However, my pan had some residue on it and started smoking really bad and I got a lil paranoid I was going to burn down the house. So I didn't make it the full five.

Once you've let it really heat up, throw those steaks on there!!

They will be sizzly and smoky and a little scary at first. Just go with it. Now, this is IMPORTANT: leave them for 30 seconds. DON'T TOUCH FOR 30 SECONDS.

Then flip. 

DON'T TOUCH FOR 30 SECONDS. Seriously, leave them alone.

After 30 seconds are up, throw them in the 500 degree oven for 1 minute.

After 1 minute, take them out, flip, and throw back in for another minute.

After that minute, take them out, temp test them, and see where you are. For me, they were between medium and medium well, which is where I like it. Steak people think that is whack and you should eat them still mooing and super rare or something, but WHATEVER, my steak world.

When you get to the temp you want, make sure you let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before you cut into it. I like to go ahead and put them on plates and cover with tin foil. That way the steak rests and stays warm.

Eat and be merry!

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