Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

How to cook a perfect steak indoors

When the barbecue isn't an option, take your steak indoors

Barbecuing on your outdoor gas grill is not always convenient or fun when there’s snow on the ground, and even less when there’s a wind chill.

But does this mean you have to give up on a decent home-cooked steak for months at a time? Not at all, says Joshua Ward, a Culinary Arts educational laboratory technologist at NAIT.

“There are other ways to do it,” he says. “If you wait for barbecue season, you’re only going to have 3 months of the year.”

Here are Ward’s secrets for making a perfect steak – indoors.

NAIT Culinary Arts lab tech Joshua Ward shows how to properly grill a steak on the stovetopIngredients

  • Steak of your choice. Ward recommends a rib steak, like rib eye, simply because this cut has more marbling – or fat – which helps keep it juicy and flavourful. For those concerned about fat content, he suggests sirloin. He likes them cut about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick.
  • 5ml (1 tsp) coarse salt
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) of canola oil. Use canola rather than olive, corn or peanut oil. It has a higher smoke point, which means it burns at a higher temperature (you’ll be cooking your meat on high). Burned oil will ruin the taste of your steak.
  • Half a sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) of butter
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Pepper
     

Method

Remove the steak from the fridge and bring it to room temperature. A cold steak will cool the cooking surface when you place it in your skillet.

Place a cast iron skillet on your stove top and turn the heat to maximum. Use cast iron because it holds heat better than aluminum or Teflon.

Wait a few minutes for the skillet to properly heat up. You can test for this by sprinkling a few drops of water on the cooking surface; when the water sizzles, you’re ready to go. 

Sprinkle salt evenly on both sides of the steak.

Drizzle canola oil on the skillet, wait 5 seconds or so for the oil to heat up, and then place the steak on the cooking surface.

Sear the steak for approximately 4 minutes per side. Then continue to flip every minute or so until it’s caramelized (in other words, there’s a golden brown crust on the outer surface).

Lower the heat to medium-high and move the meat to the back of the skillet (opposite the handle). Add the butter, garlic and rosemary to the front of the skillet.

As the steak continues to cook, spoon the liquid in the skillet on to the meat. This baste will add additional flavour.

A steak perfectly grilled on a stovetop with rosemary and butter

When cooked to desired taste (you can check this with a thermometer – medium rare is 60 C or 140 F), remove the steak from the skillet and let it rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board. It will continue to cook as it cools off.

Add pepper to taste. If you do this while cooking, the pepper will burn, adding an unpleasant taste. You can also add additional salt if required.

Cut and serve.



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