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Q: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: bennetthaselton-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 Oct 2006 17:30 PDT
Expires: 21 Nov 2006 16:30 PST
Question ID: 775912
I'm trying to discover the secret to getting steaks to come out the
way they do in restaurants if you order them medium rare, with a
smooth dark brown crust on the outside but medium rare (light pink)
throughout the inside.

Of all the things I've tried (propane gas grill, pan-frying, broiling
in the oven, George Foreman grill, and cooking in a cast iron pan), by
the time the outside was dark brown, the insides would be medium well
as well.  I know you're supposed to "sear" the outside of the steak
using some high-heat method like grilling or pan-frying, and then
finish cooking the insides of the steak (using either the low-heat
part of the grill, or if you're at home, an oven), but whenever I try
it, by the time the outsides are seared, the insides always come out
well done.  Although the latest method I tried (using the cast iron
pan), I only tried one set of instructions from someone who I think
was just guessing: leave the pan on high heat for 5 minutes and then
throw the steak in.  That burned the outside of the steak completely
black almost immediately (beyond dark brown, what I was aiming for).

I know restaurants use a flame-broiler to cook the steaks evenly brown
on the outside.  But what's the closest I can get using home

Who knows how to do this right?
Subject: Re: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 22 Oct 2006 19:40 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

According to Ask Food Network, the secret is to create two
different temperature zones on your grill - one high, for 
searing and browning, and one low, for finishing the job.
A thick Prime cut that's been dry-aged will ensure success:,1971,FOOD_9796_4152058,00.html

Alton Brown of the Food Network offers a more usable recipe
utilizing a cast iron skillet, which may have been the source
of your friend's guess. The difference is, you don't heat the
skillet on the stove, you preheat it to 500 degrees in the oven:,,FOOD_9936_99,00.html

Of course, the secret of some top steakhouses, like the
renowned Ruth's Chris Steak House in Phoenix, is to broil
the steak in butter at 1800 degrees!:

There's really no way to duplicate that at home, but by
searing and browning at the highest possible heat (without
contact, as with a pan) and then finishing at a lower heat,
you can come close.

The third alternative is broiling, but to get the highest
heat, you'd have to place the meat dangerously close to 
the heating elements, and you risk a fire. And, of course,
the further you are from the heat (for safety), the lower
the temperature.

This is why the grill offers a good solution. You can
afford a bit of a fire in the searing process, and use
a higher heat than might be safe in the broiler.

But I'd also encourage you to try Alton's methods. He's
really quite the genius when it comes to cooking.

Here's his recipe for a sirloin, using the broiler,
and tricking it into staying on. This one reverses
the sequence and accomplishes the browning at the last:,1977,FOOD_9936_24087,00.html

The rationale behind this method is discussed in a
comment on this page from CookingForEngineers, which
also elaborates on the AskFoodNetwork's grilling method:

"Alton Brown made a very good case for SLOWLY cooking the steak
 over a low-moderate heat until the interior temperature was a
 somewhat less than the desired final temperature, THEN quickly
 searing the outside to form a crust, followed by a rest period
 before serving. The contention is that this prevents the meat
 from drying out or splattering over high heat in the beginning
 causing flare-ups at a time when most of the cooking is still
 to be done. I tried this and it works."

Here's another recipe of Alton's, for skirt steak, in which
the marinated steak is placed directly on the coals for
only a minute on each side (after the ash has been blown
away with a hair dryer). Don't neglect the important rest
period afterwards, in this or any of the other recipes:,,FOOD_9936_24088,00.html

I think this will take you where you want to go.

Bon Appetit!


Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.

Searches done, via Google:

"restaurant steak at home"

alton brown steak recipes
bennetthaselton-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Oct 2006 19:49 PDT
I love my George Foreman grill, but I was disappointed in the way it
cooked my steaks until I discovered a method that works beautifully
for me. After a few minutes of normal cooking in the grill, apply
pressure to the lid (you can put a weight on it or just lean down
heavily on it with your hands). This forces the grill surfaces into
direct contact with the meat, and will give an extra-intense browning
to the outside of the steak while the inside remains juicy and
pinkish. If you generally cook the same size steak every time, you get
a feel for how to do this best. The first time I tried doing this, the
steaks were pretty darn good, but now that I've practiced a bit, they
are just heavenly. An added benefit is that this method forces more
fat out of the meat, so your steaks will be a bit less
Subject: Re: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants
From: stanmartin1952-ga on 23 Oct 2006 00:41 PDT
You only have to sear a steak for one minute on each side. That will
leave it purple in the inside. You can then use low heat to cook the
inside to how you like it.
Subject: Re: getting a steak to come out the way it does in restaurants
From: irishhoney-ga on 26 Oct 2006 08:24 PDT
Purple?!?! What kind of steak is that? One thing that I have done that
works great is using a cast iron skillet. Getting it REALLY HOT while
the steaks are still staying real cold in the fridge. Toss the cold
steaks onto the skillet and sear it for about a minute or 2 on each
side then tossing the whole pan in a 350 degree oven. It is good to
clean and rub the meat with your preferred seasonings the night before
and letting it sit in the fridge till its ready to go on the skillet.

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