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The secrets of the perfect steak

There’s something mystical about steak. When politicians, pundits, and poets pontificate about the finest meals in the world, a good steak is usually involved.

Filet mignon

Many people think that best steaks, though, have to be sought out in restaurants, but this is simply not true. Making the best steak you’ve ever had is as easy as firing up the grill or oven.

The secrets of the perfect steak

Bold, flavorful, juicy. If you eat meat, there’s nothing better than a well-cooked steak. The dark, rich tones of the meat, the saltiness of the crust, the little bits of flame-kissed char on the outside… what can be better than a great steak? The good news is that making that perfect steak is a lot easier than you think. Oh, it will take work, but not that much. And when you are done, you have a fantastic meal for a lot less than you’d pay at a gourmet steakhouse.

Making the perfect steak

Making the perfect steak is a five-step process. Buying, prepping, searing, cooking and serving. Neglect any one of these steps, and you won’t have the perfect steak.



You’ll never have the perfect steak if you don’t start with the best quality meat. Whether you like filets, ribeyes, sirloin steak, etc. find a steak that has been recently cut and has lots of marbling. If you’re not sure, ask your butcher for the steak she’d want to eat. Then, once you have the steak, get it to the plate as quickly as you can.



After you have a high-quality piece of meat, you have to get it ready to cook. Steaks should always be cooked well-seasoned and at room temperature, so remove it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you are ready to cook and season it with salt and pepper.



When you are ready to make your steak, you want a very hot cooking surface. This isn’t a problem if you are using a grill, but if you are using a stove, put the skillet on the burner over high heat for several minutes before you add the meat. When the cooking surface is ready, grease it with a little oil and brown the beef, 2 to 3 minutes per side. This sear helps develop the steak’s texture and promotes the development of flavor.



After the sear, you have to cook the steak until it has reached the proper doneness. If you are using the stove, this is best done in a 350 degrees F oven for about 9 minutes for medium-rare to medium. In a grill, it means moving the steak to the edge of the grill, covering it and coming back in about 9 minutes.



When the steak is ready, it’s time to serve it. First, you have to let it rest. Then, plate it and eat it. Also, if you prefer, you can throw two 1-tablespoon-sized chunks of butter on a skillet to start them melting, then use them to top the steak. However, whatever you do, avoid steak sauce. You have a perfect piece of meat. It doesn’t need to have its flavors masked by sauce.

The perfect steak recipe

Serves 1


  • 1 high-quality, 1-pound steak
  • 1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut in half


  1. About 20 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove the steak from the refrigerator and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
  4. Once the oil is very hot, add the steak. If it doesn’t immediately sizzle, remove it and wait for the oil to get hot.
  5. Cook the steak 2 minutes on both of its flat sides (you don’t need to sear its thinner edges).
  6. After the sides are seared, put the steak in the oven for 9 minutes.
  7. Remove the steak and let it rest 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Right before you want to eat, drop the butter into your skillet and let it start to melt.
  9. Pour the butter over the steak and serve.

Other thoughts on the perfect steak

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Tonight’s Dinner: Grilled steak with fig jam and Gorgonzola recipe
Tonight’s Dinner: Grilled steak with cognac sauce

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