How To Sear A Steak Properly?

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

You will learn the complexity of how to make the perfect seared steak. It will result with a beautifully delicious, tender, and juicy steak every time you cook it. Choose the right oil to cook your steak and let’s get into the technique of searing.

Although you might not eat beef as often, sometimes you just crave it.

Searing Steak

Searing steak can seem intimidating, but once you understand the basics of how to do it, it will be a breeze. This involves browning meat quickly using high heat in a skillet, or under a broiler. This is done to create a caramelized crust outside, and seal in the meat’s juices. You can also use the hot grill grates to partially sear the meat.

Which Cuts of Meat to Use

Searing is not only for beef. You can also pan-sear chicken, fish, pork, and other proteins. It is very similar to the method of sautéing. However, this article is primarily focused on beef. So, here are the best cuts of beef to use:

  • New York Strip
  • Sirloin
  • Ribeye
  • Flank
  • Skirt
  • Hanger
  • Chopped

Check the Internal Temperatures

A quick temperature thermometer is a great tool to help you get your desired internal temperature when learning how to sear a steak.

These are the basic temperatures that correspond to different degrees of doneness:

  • 120°F to 125°F – Rare
  • 125°F to 130°F – Medium-Rare
  • 135°F to 140°F – Medium
  • 145°F to 150°F – Medium-Well
  • 155°F+ – Well

Always remember to account for resting and carry-over cooking that will continue cooking the steak.

Allow the Meat to Rest

Resting refers to the removal of your cooking protein from its pan, and placing it on a plate or cutting board to rest for a time before it is ready to be served. This process allows the meat’s juices to return to the steak, making it tender and juicy. Therefore, it should be done for each piece of cooked protein. It is also a rule that meat should not smoke when it is being cut into.

Can I Add Herbs to The Pan While Cooking It?

You may have noticed over the last 5 to 10 years that a lot of chefs now add herbs to their pans while searing a steak. This is done to vastly enhance the flavor of the steak. These are some of the ingredients that you can add to your steak:

  • Garlic Cloves
  • Peeled Shallots
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Butter

How to Sear a Steak

These simple instructions will help you sear the perfect steak:

  1. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Next, heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke.
  3. Then, place the steak in the middle of the pan, and immediately turn the heat to medium-high.
  4. You can now add some fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs, sprigs, garlic clove, and unsalted butter.
  5. Cook the steak for at least 45 seconds prior to moving it around the heated pan. This is to make sure that the steak is browned on all sides.
  6. Then, after a total of 2 to 3 minutes cooking time, turn the steak over, and repeat the cooking process. You can also add the herbs and garlic on top of the steak while moving the steak around the pan.
  7. Finally, remove the steak after 2 to 3 minutes of cooking. Then, place it on a plate or cutting board for 3 to 4 minutes to rest before you serve.

How Long Do I Cook Steak?

It is difficult to determine the ideal cooking time for a steak in order to get the desired internal temperature. However, here are some key points to remember for timing:

  • Size of the steak – this will determine the time it takes to cook.
  • Which cut of steak you are using – more tender steaks cook quicker, such as a filet mignon vs a New York strip.
  • The size of your burner – a smaller burner will heat a pan at high heat, but it will not quite achieve the needed temperature to sear.
  • The oil being used – oils with lower smoking points, such as olive oil, can brown faster. However, it requires more control and practice to make sure the steak doesn’t burn.

There is no perfect situation. However, it is suggested that you aim for a medium-rare internal temperature at all times:

When cooking a 12-ounce New York strip steak using the method learned from this article. You need to cook each side 2 to 3 minutes using a larger burner and a high smoking point oil. Then, let it rest for 3 to 4 minutes. This is how you will achieve a medium-rare internal temperature every time.

Chef Notes, Technique, and Tips

  • Make-Ahead: When you sear a steak, it is meant to be consumed immediately after it is done cooking.
  • How to Reheat: Seared steak does not reheat well. However, if you must reheat it, then you may re-sear it in a hot pan with lightly smoked olive oil until it’s warm.
  • How to Store: You can cover it, then place in the fridge for at least 3 days. However, this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
  • Canola, olive and safflower oils are some of the best oils to cook with. However, these oils are not the only ones you should use. So please use whatever oil you prefer.
  • Remember to put the garlic and herbs on top of the steak while it is being moved around in the pan.
  • If you feel that you have cooked the meat too long, you can rest it upright to help the heat escape faster.
  • In case your searing turned out bad, learn how to reverse sear your steak.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American, French
Servings 1


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