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Old 10-25-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
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Pan frying steak?

Hello, this weekend I'm going to make my very first attempt at cooking a steak. I don't have a grill so I'll be pan frying it using a non-stick pan. Is there a particular cut I should look for since I'll be pan frying? Also, I like my steak medium rare, so what's the best cooking method? I thought about trying a marinade or something but I guess it's best to stick to the very basics first, take baby steps.

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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Hi noob.

I'd recommend a ribeye or strip steak. They both have great flavor and are tender. Also good would be a filet mignon (tenderloin steak). The most tender cut but has less beef flavor.

The key to cooking steak in a pan is to get it super hot. A little oil in the pan, enough to coat the bottom. Salt and pepper the steak and lay it in the hot pan when the oil is hot.

It will get a nice dark brown crust in 3-4 minutes, then turn and repeat. Depending on thickness, it could be done after 8 minutes.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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Building on what Andy said, do you have any stainless steel or cast iron pans? Non stick in not the best for cooking steak. You want to get the pan as hot as possible to get a great crust and non-stick are not usually pans you want to get screaming hot. You can make it work if that is your only option, but if you have other options then look at those.

Make sure you have plenty of ventilation because you are going to get a lot of smoke. You might even want to take the batteries out of the smoke detector while cooking the steak.

As for marinading or something, I would highly highly recommend a dry brine. It is super easy and gives amazing results. To dry brine your steak all you do is liberally salt both sides then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put back in the fridge for a day or so. What happens is the salt draws some of the moisture out of the steak initially, but then it mixes with the salt and reabsorbs so you end up with a steak that is seasoned from the inside out instead of just on the outside.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:51 AM   #4
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I also highly recommend a pan other than nonstick. Cast iron is best.

Salt it, sear it on one side in a very hot pan and then finish in a 450 degree oven.

Dont do that with a nonstick pan.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:46 PM   #5
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Welcome to DC! You could also try broiling the steak in the oven if your oven came with a broiler pan. Turn on the broiler, let it heat, and then put the broiler pan with the steak (you can dry rub the steak or not).The oven rack should be at the top and leave the oven door open about 1 inch (this is one thing my mother could always do until recently--broil a perfect med-rare steak). Depending on how thick the meat is, it will take about 4 minutes each side. If too rare, you can also put it back and cook a little longer--if overcooked, well, not much to do there except eat it. Her thing was to put a little dab of butter on the top when she plated it. When I was young, she always warmed the plates too, but that might have been habit because we ate venison steak almost as often as we ate beef steak (which steak = Friday nights on my mom's 7-meal rotation plan).

I'm partial to tenderloin...but the cuts mentioned above are all good. Good luck!
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone, the only pan I have is nonstick unfortunately. I'm moving in a couple of weeks and I don't want to buy anything else while I'm in my current home. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best lol. I'll post a picture of it if it isn't a complete disaster.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:02 PM   #7
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Make sure you have plenty of ventilation because you are going to get a lot of smoke. You might even want to take the batteries out of the smoke detector while cooking the steak.


Thanks for mentioning this "little" fact. I pretty much gave up trying to pan fry steak due to the smoke factor. I thought I was doing something wrong! Now I'll give it another try.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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You can pick up a small cast iron skillet, pre-seasoned, at your local hardware store for less than you'd pay for a decent steak, which will make cooking one pretty much idiot proof. Preheat oven to 425F, brown the steak on each side and then finish it in the oven to the degree of doneness you prefer; 130F to 135F for medium rare and 140Fto 145F for medium on an instant read thermometer. Cast iron is also relatively easy to care for.

Top sirloin steak is low fat, yet very flavourful. Hanger steaks are also very good. I usually have top sirloin, filet mignon and rib eye steaks in the freezer at all times and I thaw and cook each as the desire hits me.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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You really shouldnt use nonstick pans for very high heat cooking.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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Since you are moving in a couple of weeks and don't want to buy anything new before that I think the best thing do to would just be to wait until you move and then get a cast iron pan. You will undoubtley have much better results that way.
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