Hi everyone, Dakota here. I love cooking, baking and everything in
between. I started when I was young – mainly to find some peace from my
overly competitive brothers who think everything is fair game for a bet. So I ended up in the kitchen with my mother and learned my love of cooking from her.
When Jackson asked me to write a piece for the blog, I said “What the hell for? What would they want to know from me?”
He pointed at me and said, “What do you think? “
I thought about it and then said, “Recipes? I could give some of my recipes?”
My big brother just smiled and so here I am. Well, hmmm, which one…which one? And as I mulled over my many recipes, one jumped to the top of the list—steak. Yes! Steak! I have perfected a recipe for producing a mouth-watering steak—every time! No matter what doneness you like this recipe will give you restaurant-quality steak.
A little history. When we were young, we went camping a lot—no, not my family just me and my six brothers. My mother sent us on these trips knowing I’d be doing the cooking. That’s when I learned the benefits of cooking with a cast-iron pan.
When we were building our pack house, I begged Jackson to let me design the kitchen. He agreed and told me to work with Logan and together we ended up with a chef’s dream. I had to start from scratch outfitting it but I included some cast iron skillets. Not for over a campfire but I had an idea I wanted to try out.
So once we moved in, I got to work on my recipe for a perfectly cooked steak. As wolves, my brothers would eat steak every day of the week if I let them. So finding a method to quickly cook perfect filet mignon steaks inside became a priority. Okay, so without further ado, here it.
Dakota’s “Perfect Every Time” Steak
The Best Way To Cook Steaks:
You can cook it inside, any time of the year, with absolutely repeatable results and the taste is equal to or better than a steak grilled outdoors.
You’ll end up with a juicy, tender steak, perfectly cooked with a thin outside crust and evenly cooked from top to bottom inside, just the way you like it. Most outdoor grills can’t control temperature accurately so steaks have to be turned frequently. More often than not, only a thin center part of the steak is done to your liking while the rest is overdone.
With my method, only a fraction of each side gets the desired searing, color and crispness while 90% or more of the inside is cooked perfectly– every single time. My brothers will vouch for that. Bon Appetite!
Cast iron or steel oven proof skillet (with ridges if you want grill marks on the steak).
Tongs (plastic or metal) to flip and remove the steak from the pan.
Quick-read thermometer. I use the DeltaTrak 11063, about $20 at Amazon. No need to get anything more expensive.
An oven glove to hold the cast iron skillet handle which will be very hot.
A cut of quality meat at least 1-inch thick. The pack loves my Fillet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin).
Medium-ground Kosher or Sea Salt. Note: Do NOT use table salt as the grains are too fine and the Iodine in it will wreck your steak. If you only have coarse salt, put a tablespoon of it in a plastic baggie and mash it with a hammer or other implement.
Cooking oil: I use Olive oil because it’s what I use a lot for other dishes but you can also use any other cooking oil of your choice.
Okay, Let’s Cook!
Bring the steak to room temperature (or thereabouts) and place on a dish.
Turn the oven to “Bake” and set to 425 degrees.
Place skillet on and set heat to Medium (#5)
Coat the top and bottom of the steak lightly with oil.
Cover both sides with salt granules and pat them gently into the steak. Do NOT use pepper or any other steak seasoning at this time as it will burn to black when it comes in contact with the hot skillet.
Turn the stove burner heat up to Medium-High (between #7 and #8). (By this time the oven should have reached 425 degrees.)
Bring the steak, hot mitt, thermometer and tongs to the counter near the stove.
Now set a timer to 1-minute for each inch of steak thickness. (1 minute for a 1-inch thick stake, 1-1/2 minutes for a 1-1/2 inch steak, and so on. Do NOT start the timer it yet.
Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan, just enough to get the bottom of the skillet oily so the steak won’t stick to it, but not to excess. NOTE: At this point the oil may begin to smoke a bit so turn on a vent fan if you have one.
Start the timer.
Place the steak in the pan. Don’t move it around. NOTE: Expect some more smoke as the outside of the steak gets seared.
When the timer dings, use the tongs to flip the steak to the opposite side, open the oven door and,using the oven glove on the skillet handle, place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Now you can add seasoning to the top of the steak, if you wish.
Close the oven door and set a timer to 3 minutes to make your first check on the doneness of the steak. Make sure your thermometer is turned on. And also that you’ve turned your stove burner off if you haven’t done so.
When the timer dings, put on your oven glove, open the oven door, slide the rack out and place the thermometer probe into the center of the steak and note the temperature.
Then continue to let the steak cook in the oven but check it at about 1 minute intervals. NOTE: The steak temperature will begin to rise rapidly after it reaches 100 degrees so keep checking it often after that point.
Now here’s where it gets customized. For perfect Medium Rare doneness throughout the steak, remove the pan when the steak temperature reads 115 degrees and immediately remove the steak from the pan with the tongs, placing it on a plate. DO NOT let it sit in the pan or it will continue to cook.
This is a good time to make sure your oven is turned off.
To Rest Or Not To Rest (The Steak)
Now we get into steak lore. The traditionalists say you must then “rest” the steak by tenting it with aluminum foil for about 5 minutes where it will continue to cook a bit more and its juices redistribute throughout the meat. No harm doing this but many cooks find it unnecessary.
My personal preference is to place the steak on a plate and give it a cut through the center to see if it’s done to my taste. If it is, then it’s good to go. If it’s a just bit too rare, then try tenting it with foil for about 5 minutes. If it’s more than a bit rare, you can always put it back in the oven for a touch-up, preferably on a plate.
Try both techniques to see which works best for you. But remember–you can’t make an overdone steak rarer so it’s best to err on the side of undercooked.
By the way, if you haven’t seasoned the steak when it was in the oven, now’s the time. But if you’re making a Fillet Mignon, use restraint or you’ll overpower its delicate flavor.
Cast iron is a porous metal so don’t use soap or detergent to clean it as they may affect the flavor of foods. Scrub it with a brush or wipe it clean with paper towels and then lightly coat the inside of the skillet with cooking oil.