Let me take your STEAK dinner up a notch…
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One of the best ways for me to know what tips and tricks to share with you is to step into the kitchen with one of my good friends Juan. He is a beginner cook so being able to see what he knows and hearing any questions he has helps me understand what might confuse a new cook.That is actually how the series “One Dish Breakdowns” came to be. It’s where I break down one dish and teach you how to make a delicious meal as easy as possible!
For the third episode of “One Dish Breakdowns” I was back cooking with Juan and he wanted to learn how to make a nice steak dinner. We got into the kitchen and made a simple but still very delicious steak plus two sides for dinner!
Along the way, I shared my 15 tips from how to get that perfect crust on your steak to making roasting veggies without all the extra dishes!
Tip 1: Picking The Proper Steak
Steaks come from the back region of the cow so it only moves when the cow moves side to side making it a very tender piece of meat. The four main steak cuts include the sirloin, ribeye, filet, and NY strip but finding the right piece of steak for you comes with time. So try each of them out and see which one you like the best. For this recipe, I choose the NY Strip Steak because it’s not too fatty but not too lean.
NY Strip Steak
Tip 2: Dry Off Your steak
Now that you have your steak of choice, grab a paper towel and pat dry your steak before doing anything else. Doing this is the first step to ensuring that you get a nice crust on your steak!
Tip 3: Don’t Be Scared to Trim the Fat
On the steak there is fat going down the side of the steak that you can trim off. It’s totally different from the marbling on the inside of the steak and in fact it becomes chewy once it’s cooked. Instead of having a chewy piece of fat running down the back of your NY Strip, trim it off and cut it into smaller pieces that we will use in a later tip.
Trimmed NY Strip Steak
Tip 4: Heavily Salt Your Steak
Since steaks are a pretty thick piece of meat you want to make sure you are seasoning it properly. You want to salt it enough so that it carries throughout the entire piece of steak. You want every bite to be seasoned well so take the salt and sprinkle it evenly and generously on both sides of the steak!
Heavily Salting the NY Strip Steak
Tip 5: Rest At Room Temperature
Now that you have a dried and salted steak, leave it out on your counter for at least about 30 minutes. There are two reason why you want your steak to sit out and hit room temperature. The first one is because a cold steak will lower the temperature of the pan and you will not get the proper crust! Remember, crust is color and color is flavor! Then the second reason is that since there is salt on the steak it will lose some moisture whichin the long run will give you a great crust as well!
Tip 6: Roast Veggies For Added Surface Area
While you are letting, your steak come to room temperature you can start working on the veggies. Roasting veggies on a sheet pan gives you more space to cook more veggies, more surface area for browning and in the end bring out more of those natural flavors. To begin prep your broccoli by chopping the head of the broccoli into smaller florets. But don’t throw the stem out, you can cut up the stems and roast them too! Just be sure to cut the stem into smaller pieces than the florets so that they can cook evenly.
Chopping Up The Broccoli
Tip 7: Save On Cleaning
Instead of seasoning your broccoli in a separate bowl, throw all the seasonings and oil straight on to the sheet pan. It will save you time and dishes and who doesn’t love that? Another way to utilize the oven is to wrap up a potato in some tin foil and add it along with the broccoli. It’s an easy and stress free way to include another side with your meal without having to do any complicated steps!
Tip 8: Don’t Mess With Your Veggies
Place your veggies into the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes but don’t open the oven or touch the veggies. It will lower the temperature and it won’t allow the veggies to cook properly. As long as you put enough oil you won’t have any burning issues.
Tip 9: Use Your Cooking Intuition
Your oven temperatures might be different from mine and you might cut your broccoli a little bit bigger than mine so at this point you will want to use your cooking intuition! After the 12 minutes are done you can open up your oven and check on them. They should be bright green, tender, and have a little char on the edges. But if you see that your broccoli doesn’t look like they are done, keep cooking them and check on them every minute or so. Once you feel that the broccoli is fully cooked through take them out but leave the potato so it continues roasting!
Tip 10: Use Your Heaviest Pan To Cook Your Steak
Now its almost time to cook your steak! Look through all your pans and pick out the heaviest one you have. It’s important to cook your steak on a thick bottomed pan because it disperses heat evenly and cooks your steak evenly. Set your chosen pan on the stove and turn the flame to a medium heat. Go ahead and add those steak trimmings we saved from tip 3 to render out all that delicious steak fat. Using the steak fat instead of regular oil will give your steak extra flavor at no extra cost and it leaves you with some crispy steak bacon!
Tip 11: Save Excess Oil
Once the steak trimmings have rendered out all their fat you can remove them from your pan. At this point you want to see how much fat you got because you might want to pour out the extra fat in a bowl and save it for another time. You can use it to roast some veggies for another night or maybe even use it to fry up your eggs the next morning!
Tip 12: Preheat Your Pan!
Another step to have a great crust is having a really hot pan! Crank up your fire to a medium high and with caution hold your hand 2 inches above the pan for about 2 – 5 seconds. If you can feel the strong heat coming from the pan you are ready to cook your steak. Carefully set your steak in the pan and let it sear for a couple of minutes to get that really nice golden brown sear. Once you’ve gotten the first side done, flip it to the other side and let that side get a nice crust as well.
Tip 13: Take Advantage Of Convection Heat
In order to get that perfect crust on the outside we used direct heat on each side of the steak but in order to get the perfect pink on the inside we want to use convection heat which means that we want to have heat coming from all sides. So to finish your steak off, place it in your oven that is set to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes. This step will help render out the last of the fat and leave you with a nice medium rare steak. Once its ready, give it a touch in the center of the steak and if it has a little bit of give you’re in the clear for a delicious steak dinner. Just let it rest so that it can reabsorb its juices before you slice into that baby!
Tip 14: Don’t Be Attached To The Outcome!
Live and learn! If your steak isn’t the exact color you wanted or you couldn’t wait for the steak to rest and now it’s a bit too dry don’t be so hard on yourself! Just because you didn’t get it exactly how the recipe said it would come out or even how you though it would turn out doesn’t mean you never will.
Tip 15: Adapt In The Moment
Remember that potato that we left in the oven… well it most likely isn’t done and nobody wants to eat a cold steak so go ahead and grab that guy out of the oven. At this step, the potato is not done but everything else is so it’s important to stop and think creatively about all the different ways you can quickly cook the potato! Thinking on the fly here, Juan and I decided it would be best to cut them into rounds and fry them up in the leftover pan juices from the steak along with a tablespoon of butter. We fried the potato rounds for about 2 minutes on each side and you will get these potato rounds that are buttery and crispy on the outside but fluffy and tender on the inside! Adapting in the moment is one of the best ways to think creatively and create new recipes!
Bonus tip aka the most important tip:
Things don’t always turn out the way you think it will and that’s totally okay! Cooking is going with the flow, learning from your mistakes, continuing to come back to the kitchen, and growing as a pro home cook!