A gentleman’s guide to: cast-iron seared steak

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There are few things in this world better than a good steak. That being said, every gentleman should know how to properly cook one. Whether you’re dining alone after work, or cooking for a big date, a perfectly cooked steak is always going to hit the spot.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with grilling a steak, but there are a few benefits to cooking on cast-iron that might make you want to pick one up. Cast-iron provides an amazing sear that you can’t replicate on a grill. Because it gets so hot, and because it makes full contact with the meat, you’ll get a perfectly charred crust every time.

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When using a cast-iron skillet, you can also sear your steak in butter, herbs, and garlic; something you can’t do on a grill. Another benefit is that you can cook a steak indoors. Not everybody has a grill and nobody wants to be grilling steaks in the middle of winter. By using cast-iron, you can cook indoors all year round. Just be sure to open a window, things might get a bit smoky.

A good steak can stand on its own, it doesn’t need anything to go with it, but if you’re going to add anything, you should give this candied bacon butter a try. It’s also great on toast, pancakes,and waffles.

For this recipe, I used a bone in rib eye. If you’re not into that, feel free to sub it for your favourite cut. Just get something thick, ideally 1½ – 2 inches.

Ingredients

For the candied bacon butter

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1 stick of butter (at room temperature)
3 slices of bacon
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper

For the steak

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1 bone-in rib eye (or steak of preference)
2 cloves of garlic
Small handful of fresh thyme
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil

Method

To make the candied bacon butter, preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay down the bacon and evenly coat in the brown sugar and black pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from oven, allow it to cool, then finely chop it. Add the butter and chopped bacon to small bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix it together until evenly combined.

To roll the butter, tear a square piece of parchment paper and place the butter on top in a log shape. Fold one end of parchment paper over the butter and using a straight edge (ruler or baking sheet) tuck the parchment paper under the butter and form into cylinder. Continue to roll fully then twist the ends shut. Store in fridge to firm up.

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Take the steak out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking it – you want it to be at room temperature. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat your skillet over high heat and add the canola oil. Carefully lay the steak in once the pan is smoking. Allow it to sit untouched for a minute, then flip and do the same thing on the other side. Continue to flip every minute for 6-7 minutes (for medium rare). It’s a myth that you should only flip once. Multiple flips actually promote even cooking.

For the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the butter, garlic and thyme to the pan. Continually baste the steak in the butter, flipping halfway through. When you take your steak off, allow it to rest for at least 5-7 minutes before slicing. Cut off a piece of the candied bacon butter and put it on the steak while it’s resting so it starts to melt.

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The exact cooking times will depend on the size of your steak. This is based on a 1½” thick steak. Adjust cooking time accordingly. If you are unsure, feel free to use a meat thermometer. You’ll want it at about 135°F/57°C for medium-rare.

Words and pictures by Daniel Siedman. Follow Daniel on Instagram, and find more of his recipes here

Further Reading