Buying from a butcher is not the same as anonymously selecting a pre-cut package of meat out of a supermarket refrigerator case. This is personal. And as in forging any other quality connection, making eye contact and asking questions is a good way to start. Don't point to a steak and ask if it's fresh. Make the inquiry an exchange: "What do you think of the third steak from the front?" When asking for a specific cut, show your enthusiasm and let him know you respect his opinion. The better you listen, the more your butcher will talk. The more he talks, the more you'll learn.
Before cooking, take the steak out of the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then blot with a paper towel before seasoning. If the meat is damp when it hits the pan, it will create steam and interfere with your ability to get a nice seared crust.
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