How to cook a perfect steak indoors

The barbecue may be hibernating, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a break from grilled steak.

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Charcut smoked flatiron steak

I’ll be the first to sport a parka and boots and face the elements on a cold January night if it means a juicy steak for dinner. However, there are times when you just want steak without having to bundle up.

The classic method of pan-cooking a steak involves searing it for about two minutes per side in a hot pan, then sliding that pan into a hot oven to continue cooking. This method works reasonably well, but when dealing with thicker cuts they tend to cook unevenly; dry on the outer edges and undercooked in the centre. In order to correct this, it’s time for a little rethink.

The method below begins in the oven and finishes in the pan. Slow-roasting the steak first allows heat to evenly penetrate the meat, giving the interior a chance to begin cooking without overcooking the outside. It’s crucial that the meat is roasted on a rack, allowing all the surfaces to be exposed to air. This helps to dry the surface in preparation for pan-searing, which will result in an unbelievably delicious crust on the steak. Give it a try, you’ll love it. And who knows – maybe next summer you won’t even bother dragging the barbecue back out again.

Perfect Grill-less Steak
Prep: 10 min
Total time: 35 min

Ingredients

  • 2 10-12 oz strip loin steaks, 11/2-inches thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • PREHEAT oven to 250F. Place steaks on a rack over a baking sheet. Rub with 1 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast steaks in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven.
  • HEAT oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add steaks and sear until deep brown and crisp, about 3 minutes a side. Hold the steak on their sides and cook the edges for 1 min per side. Remove to rack and let rest for 10 min. Slice and enjoy.

This brings up the issue of properly browning or searing meat. The purpose of browning meat is to create flavour. Whether you’re browning steak or ground beef, you’re building flavour with that caramelization. Here are a few essentials when it comes to properly browning meat:

  • Preheat the pan: If you don’t hear a “tsssss” when you add your meat to the pan, it isn’t hot enough. Remove the meat and wait until your pan is hotter.
  • Avoid cold meat in a hot pan: We aren’t always comfortable bringing meat to room temperature, but at the very least take your meat out of the fridge 15 minutes before you intend to cook it. If the centre of your meat is cold, it will be undercooked when the exterior is cooked.
  • Pat your meat dry: Oil and water don’t like each other. When meat is wet and enters a hot oiled pan, a layer of water between the pan and the meat prevents it from colouring. Pat your meat as dry as you can get it before seasoning it and adding it to the pan.
  • Season, season, season: Salt serves two functions when it comes to browning meat. First, salt brings out the flavour in the meat. Second, the salt helps caramelize the meat, forming that crispy crust you’re looking for. Pat your meat as dry as you can, then rub it with oil to form a seal. Season well with salt and pepper, then add to pan.
  • Use high heat: We are often too intimidated to use the high setting on our stovetop for anything other than boiling water. This is that time. You need a HOT pan to properly sear meat. The hotter the pan, the more the caramelization and colour. A pan that isn’t hot enough will take too long to form a crust and will begin cooking the inner layer of the meat at an improper temperature. This is what I like to refer to a “rubber chicken’ syndrome.

More recipes for cooking steak indoors: 

Steak with brandied roquefort sauce

Dijon-crusted flank steak

Dill and mushroom steak

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16 comments on “How to cook a perfect steak indoors

  1. Is that really 250 deg? Seems barely warm…

    Reply

    • This is a great recipe. Just tried it for the first time and the steaks came out a perfect medium. I used a marinade and this made for a nice seared coating. I left the steaks in the oven for about 23 minutes because they were pretty thick, but 20 minutes would have been plenty of time. I highly recommend this.

      Reply

  2. I had an EPIC FAIL on this recipe. 250 degrees is possible, but my steak just wasn’t very nice. I will go back to the old model of sear and bake.

    Reply

  3. Hi Kristen: Based on the previous 2 comments, is it possible to tell us what the internal temperature of the steaks should be? I would use an instant read themometer for this.

    Reply

    • Hi there,
      Kristen took a look at your questions and comments – 250F is the right temperature. If it helps, you could use a thermapen instant thermometer to check the internal temp. It may be a little more or less than 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

      For medium-rare, it should be about 90 degrees. About 100 for more medium to well. This recipe is also for thick steaks, 1 1/2 inches.
      Have faith…it works!

      - Chatelaine Team

      Reply

  4. The steak was fantastic!! When it came out of the oven it still looked raw, but after searing itfor 3 minutes each side it was absolutely perfect, rare but not raw. i’ve done it before, searing then putting in a 400 degree oven but your way produces a much tenderer steak! Thank-you so much for this method. We live in the west and my husband really doesn’t want to barbeque when it is -30 outside. i’ve done this twice since reading about it. THANK-YOU

    Reply

  5. You must mean 250 Celsuis not Farenheit. You can’t “roast” a steak at 250F.

    Reply

    • I’ve been doing steaks like this for a long time. They are unbelievably tender, juicy and delicious. I use 275 F (not Celsius) for about 18 minutes for rare and 25-28 minutes for my partner (medium well). The key is bringing the meat to room temp first and then the hot hot pan. Put your exhaust fan on and go for it. Don’t forget to let it rest after the sear.

      Reply

  6. The results were delightful, but I’m still trying to decide whether it was worth smoking up my whole house for it. Pan was hot, hot, hot! Too hot? I was thrilled to use the steaks I had, but I was very concerned about whether the sprinkler system would kick on!

    Reply

  7. Tonight I tried this for the first time, FANTASTIC. The steak was perfect. I bought a 1.5″ thick NY Strip, cooked it until the interior temp was 91 degrees, then fried it in a very hot skillet with 2 or 3 TBS olive oil for 3 minutes per side. (make sure that you have a kitchen fan that vents to the outside). I then let it rest for 10 minutes and it was a perfect medium rare from edge to edge. I will try some of my recipes for seasoning the steak over the next month or so. THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    Reply

  8. Omit the salt until nearly finished cooking. Salt dries meat

    Reply

  9. Great article about How to cook a steak indoors. i think when a people see it and try then he or she done well . if any one see How to cook a steak indoors video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jilmsSlIYTs

    Reply

  10. Great Article about How to cook a perfect steak indoors but If u post a embed Youtube Video I think U post is Great. If u think This Video Link is perfect for cooking a steak u used this video in your post…

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    Reply

  11. A great way to ruin a steak

    Reply

  12. I assume the recipe is with the oven set to broil?

    Reply

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