- Let the steak come to room temperature. This is true for almost any piece of meat you're going to cook (at least it's true for steaks, chops, cutlets, etc.) regardless of how you're going to cook it.
- Make sure the pan is hot when you put the steak in. Again,this is true for whatever you're cooking. Not smoking, but hot. If you're scale goes from "0-10" you would probably want to cook at a 7-8. The pan should have been on the stove for a bit before putting in the meat.
- Use some oil in the pan. Yes, you want the meat to sear. But if you don't use oil, it will stick to the bottom of the pan with a vengeance. You will never get it free from the pan without destroying it. Any kind of oil will do, but some will add more desirable flavor than others. Bacon fat works particularly well, as does butter.
- Don't keep turning and turning. Cook one side, cook the other and take it off the stove and eat it. You might think you're getting a more even product by turning, but it's not true. 3-4 minutes per side and eat it.
- Baste the steak. This one is optional for those who are not as concerned with the fat. Basting a tenderloin in melted butter and/or bacon grease as it cooks makes it absolutely heavenly. Of course this adds to the calorie count significantly. This technique works especially well on leaner meats (like bison) and leaner cuts of meat (like sirloin) which can go quite dry if they're overcooked. Basting helps ensure that meat never gets dry or tough.
- Don't overcook! This goes without saying, but we always say it anyway. Don't overcook. If you do, it doesn't matter whatever else you do, your steak will be sub-par. It's like the old saying, "If you don't overcook your steak, nothing else matters. If you overcook your steak, nothing else matters."
- Give it a rest. Never, never, never cut into any piece of meat right off the heat. If you do the juices will run out and sit in a puddle in your plate. If you rest the meat 5-10 minutes, the juices have time to migrate back into the cells of the meat, making it more juicy. If you don't give it a rest, you are certain to have a dry, tough piece of meat.
6 Critical Steak-Fry Tips
It wasn't that long ago that when you cooked a steak, you fried it in a heavy fry pan. Hence, the term "steak fry." With the advent of barbecue grills in the 1960's, frying a steak in a pan fell out of favor. Today most people have a grill, but for those who have yet to buy one or whose circumstances aren't ideal for grilling, you needn't miss out. The fact is, if you do it right, you can still enjoy a great steak even without the grill. Here are 6 tips to a great pan-fried steak.