What’s the best way to cook a steak?

thimes, like a number of other hounds, prefers pan-searing the meat before placing it in the oven. This method “does a great job with most cuts,” thimes says. Karl S agrees: “At home, pan sear [and] oven wins out over the grill”—the only time a grill is better is if it’s a charcoal one, and the cut involved is skirt steak.

But EWSflash would rather cook a steak “salt grilled in cast iron or charcoal grill,” although the “gas grill is okay if it’s especially hot out and nobody wants to mess with charcoal.” Why is cast iron preferable to so many hounds? “[Its] heat retention qualities allow for even cooking temperature without hot spots,” ipsedixit says. “Plus, and it might be only my imagination, but I think it imparts a certain je ne sais quoi to the food from all that seasoning and patina on it.”

Veggo is partial to cooking steaks outside. “I have to have charcoal and wood and an outdoor grill with char, smoke, and red center,” says Veggo. “I can’t fathom ‘cooking’ a good steak indoors. I would pan fry a fish, instead.”

steakman55 suggests a best-of-both-worlds combination of cooking methods: “Default method, after grilling steaks at home for more than 50 years: Get good prime dry-aged NY strip or rib eye and cook over real charcoal, not briquettes. For a change of pace, place a cast iron frying pan directly onto the hot coals and put a well salted ribeye in and cook for 5 minutes each side. Perfection,” he says.

Then again, ipsedixit thinks that in the end, the cooking method “makes little difference” because it’s really about the quality of the meat. “The grade (and quality) of beef will matter more than any type of cooking method, so long as it is hot, dry, direct heat,” says ipsedixit.

Discuss: Ranking of steak cooking methods?

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