Saturday, October 16, 2010

How to Fake Grill a Steak

A few years back I did some experimenting and reading about how best to cook a steak without a grill. I eventually came across this and it works better than anything else I've tried. One caveat with this method, doesn't work well for thin steaks which is often how sirloin is sold in this country for some reason. Last night we had a couple of super thick hunks of sirloin and it worked great.

First, get your iron skillet super hot. I usually blast it on high for about ten minutes before dropping on the steaks. The iron skillet I use is actually for making tortillas, my Mother sent it from New Mexico a long time ago. I never could figure out how to make a good tortilla, and now I don't cook with grain products (except for the occasional pizza with my son) but this thing is perfect for cooking steaks. Also make sure to pat the steak as dry as possible with a paper towel or whatever. If you salt the steaks beforehand it will cause water to leech out of the steak. Any moisture on the surface of the steak will interfere with the searing.

Flipped over, see how beautifully they seared. Not cooked on a grill but they could probably be passed off as (well, except for the missing black vertical stripes).

Pop into the oven for few minutes. If you have an oven thermometer you rock. I don't so I have to take them out and check 'em. Or leave them in too long if I'm lazy and space it out. That's what I did last night.

Oops, 181F, definitely overdone, although my wife prefers well done. I usually try and shoot for around 165F (74C).

Oh yeah, and how cool is granite? I can set a super hot iron skillet directly on the counter, no problem. I've gotten so used to it that I have to be careful not to burn someone else's counters when I cook there. We may not have a grill or a backyard or a big-screen TV or enough storage space, but we've got some bad-ass counters.

These turned out quite tender and juicy despite not retaining even a hint of pink in the middle. Yum!


  1. Once upon a time- between wives - I dedicated a cast iron pan to this.

    One just has to get used to the smoke from the burning fats!


  2. My wife was none too happy when I attempted to grill a steak directly on the gas stove. The flat smelled like burnt cow flesh for a few days . . .

  3. I've got that same skillet. I much prefer the smooth surface to the sand-cast finish of the new Lodge stuff.

    As for thick vs. thin, I actually prefer thin for a steak. Cook each side until you've got a nice crust and it's done. You don't even have to put it in the oven to finish it.

    I'll have to give that a shot on the tortilla skillet soon.

  4. Drew, I actually tried this last night with salmon after seeing Pioneer Woman doing something similar. It turned out great, main difference was not to flip it, just 2 mins on the stove, then pop in oven for 8 minutes.

    The thin sirloin they typically sell here is really thin, and it's not usually of the highest quality. I think Czechs typically just flash fry it, I dunno. It always to rubber for me.