Pan Seared, Thick Cut Steak

I am a steak fan, so when ever I come across a new recipe for steaks I give it a try. The previous recipe I posted here gives great results, but I am always up for trying something new. When I came across this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated I had to try it. The recipe guarantees perfectly cooked, thick cut steaks. A steak with a brown crust and a pink center… and without a gray band between the two.

This recipe is pretty much the opposite of the previous one. Instead of finishing the steaks in the oven, you start out cooking them in the oven. This allows you to raise the internal temperature of the meat more even. I think when the steaks were put in the oven after cooking the exteriors were already much hotter and lead to a more uneven cooking as the center got up to temperature. Cooking the steaks in the oven first also dries out the exterior of the meat, allowing for the perfect crust when you sear it later. When you sear the steak first, it is much tougher to get the perfect crust because the steaks are releasing more moisture.

This recipe worked out great. I tried the recipe with one steak that I portioned. It wasn’t even that thick. I cooked them for a few minutes less in the oven and went by their temperature. The recipe still worked and the steaks turned out great. It is the perfect way to get Steak House like results at home. It does produce a bit of smoke, as do all good steak recipes, but much less than cooking it the entire time on the stove. This method is definitely worth a try!

Next steak related test? Salting! Actually I already sort of do this. I put a healthy amount of salt on and then let the steak sit out to get to room temperature. This big difference with this technique is that you put a LOT more salt on and then wash it off.


From: Cook’s Illustrated – May ’07


  • 2 boneless strip steaks (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick (about 1 pound each) (see note below)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Cut each steak in half vertically to create four 8-ounce steaks. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt and pepper; gently press sides of steaks until uniform 1 1/2 inches thick. Place steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; transfer baking sheet to oven. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of steak registers 90 to 95 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes, or 100 to 105 degrees for medium, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place steaks in skillet and sear steaks until well-browned and crusty, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, lifting once halfway through to redistribute fat underneath each steak. (Reduce heat if fond begins to burn.) Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer all steaks to wire cooling rack and reduce heat under pan to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 steaks on their sides. Holding steaks together, return to skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
  3. Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes while preparing pan sauce. Arrange steaks on individual plates; serve immediately.

13 thoughts on “Pan Seared, Thick Cut Steak

  1. Pingback: Recipe: Steak Night

  2. My husband is a grill lover. He loves to grill steaks, chicken, ribs, and vegetables. Sometimes we even cook breakfast on the grill. However; tonight, changed the way we cook steak for quite sometime. The flavors of the steak were wonderful. We not only added salt, but a little Goya seasoning. My oh my. Delicious.

    Our most sincere thank you from St. Louis.

  3. We are trying the recipe right now, hope it works out well! I’ll let you know. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pingback: Best of Cookography: 2007

  5. I’ve made this now maybe 3 times, with any thickness of steak, since I can’t grill in Western NY in the winter (well I can but it’s not fun). Turned out great every time, really really really great. Thanks for all the recipes, I enjoy them!

  6. i thought this recipe was for thick steak… to me,anything less than 2 inches might as well be a steak sandwich… i would like to try this,and see how it works,anyway…thanks.

  7. I know! As I was putting this together I realized I was missing the most important photo. It definitely looked (and tasted) pretty damn good!

  8. Oh I HATE that sickly grayish color in the steaks I cook at home!! My husband and I are quite the carnivores – I’ll keep this in mind next time we make steak (which will be soon!)

  9. Thanks Jaden! I have been reading your website after I saw it on Taste Spotting. You have some great photos too, do you use natural light? I have been playing around flashes.

  10. Hey! I hope you do try the salting trick – let me know how it turns out.

    BTW, you’ve got a great blog – I’ve already browsed through several of your recipes. Great easy-going writing style and beautiful photography….