Pan Grilled Steaks! This is something that every good home cook should know how to do. These days, with the meat shortage during Covid-19, it is more important than ever to buy your meat from a responsible meat perveryor. As a personal chef, I am often asked for at-home cooking tips, which I love to share. These days, with so many people turning to meatless meals, when they do eat beef, they want a really good cut of the highest quality.

When you are going to make a steak, the best advice I can give is to start with really good meat. (If you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful meat market in your neighborhood like I do, buy your meat there instead of at the grocery store!) These were really good prime filet mignon steaks from Wheaton Meat Company, which is in my neighborhood. As a personal chef, I usually hit 2-3 stores on my way to cooking in my client’s homes. It is worth the extra stop to get the meat from a good meat market. See if there is a good neighborhood butcher near you. It makes a huge difference!)

I just learned that one of the big-box store actually puts their prime meat through a “blade tenderizing” process.  Good meat markets do not treat their prime beef that way!

Ok, onto the how-tos for cooking a steak at home: the first thing I do is let the steaks come to room temperature for 20 minutes or so. Season them liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and rub them with a little extra virgin olive oil. Heat up the grill pan. When it is hot, add a neutral oil with a high smokepoint  (I use grapeseed oil)  to the pan and spread it around with a paper towels that you are holding with a pair of tongs. Put the steaks in the pan and leave them alone! Don’t start moving them around. That is a rookie mistake; people get nervous when cooking a steak at home, and start lifting it up. looking at the underside, fiddling around with it! Just leave it for 2 minutes and let the grillpan do it’s work!

After 2 minutes, rotate the steaks 90°. After two more minutes flip them over and repeat. If you don’t already own a meat thermometer, get one! You’re shooting for 120 degrees for rare. Don’t forget, the temperature will continue to rise a little, up to 5 degrees or so, after you remove them from a pan. (If you are serving them as a dinner party entree, and you have someone in your crowd who does not like rare meat, have your oven pre-heated, so that you can put theirs in the oven for a few minutes while you are plating the others. There’s one in every crowd. Don’t try to change their mind, just give them their almost well-done steak!) 

One more thing: don’t forget to let them rest a few minutes before serving. That’s it! It takes a little practice, but your confidence grows every time you do it!

Of course, not everyone wants to learn how to make a pan-grilled steak! They hire a personal chef to do it for them, luckily for me! I have a client who originally called me to ask about an in-home cooking service, because he was on a high-protein diet and needed LOTS of steak, cooked, sliced, and ready to eat on the run! I stacked up pyrex dishes full of sliced filet, which is what he ate during his weight training that he was tackling! We have a one-on-one cooking lesson coming up, where I plan to show him how to grill a steak on his new charcoal grill! 

Pan Grilled Steak and Charcoal Grilled Steak: two different ways to cook a good steak and both are delicious!