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Make It

The Perfect Steak


Whether you're making a simple weeknight meal or cooking dinner for someone special, you can't go wrong with a good steak. And while no one will argue that grilling a streak adds all sorts of flavor, sometimes it's too cold out to grill or you don't have the time. With this simple pan-seared technique, you get a restaurant-quality steak on your stovetop in about ten minutes. A juicy and flavorful piece of meat enveloped in a dark, delicious crust. All you really need is a cast-iron pan and a quality cut of beef. You don't even need a marinade. All that a well-marbled cut like a New York strip requires is some salt and pepper. And you need to know what you're doing. But fear not, the secret is not doing too much.


New York strip steak
(1 to 1 ½ inches thick)

Coarse salt and pepper

Unsalted butter

Optional: Aromatics like cloves of garlic and sprigs of thyme or rosemary

    Look for a steak that has a uniform thickness (so it cooks evenly) and flecks of fat (for added flavor).



Lodge cast iron cookware makes a heavy oven-proof skillet that will last a lifetime. The 10-inch is a practical size for the home cook.

$23, at Amazon


A sturdy set of tongs with scalloped edges that won't tear the meat. Long enough to keep your hand out of the heat and short enough to rotate a heavy steak without bowing.

$14, by Oxo




Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for at least four minutes to let it get nice and hot.


Blot steak dry with paper towels and season abundantly with salt and pepper. (Much of it will fall off during the cooking process.)


Seconds before adding a steak, drop ½ teaspoon of butter into the pan and immediately top with the meat.


Leave the steak be for about four minutes. Don't move it or press down. This forms the crust so no peeking either.


Flip and cook for three minutes, then top with a teaspoon of butter (and any aromatics) and cook for two to three more minutes for medium rare.


Remove from pan and tent loosely with foil. Allow it to rest for at least five minutes, then top with the buttery pan drippings and serve.

    Don't cook a cold steak: Take the steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking and let it come to room temperature.