Cooking the perfect steak can be a challenge and even more so at home. While there are world-famous steakhouses all across the country, there's something enticing about going back to the source and enjoying a steak without the pretense you might find in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. We did a virtual steak tour of Omaha, Nebraska recently and let me tell you - my mouth is still watering!
We listened to tips from three of Omaha's top steak chefs including: Chef Nick Strawhecker from Dante Pizzaria, Chef Jake Newton from V. Mertz, and Chef Colin Duggan from Kitchen Table. While each had their own spin and interpretations on flavoring and cut, there were some consistent things that each of the men agreed on. Let's take a look at their tips for cooking the perfect steak.
Proper Steak Preparation Is Key
Some guys like to take the plastic wrap off their steaks and throw them on the grill but that's sorta like sex before warming up first. Sure, you'll get to the finish line but it won't be as good.
Instead, you should prepare to temper the steak for about two hours at room temperature and then depending on the cut trim it to remove any silverskin and extra fat if so desired.
Next, make sure to dry the steak completely and season the steak liberally. Depending on your cut of meat and preferences, this could be with salt and cracked black pepper as Chef Jake Newton and Chef Nick Strawhecker demonstrated, or simply with in-house seasonings as Chef Colin Duggan did. This is ultimately a personal preference but with a liberal coating of salt and cracked pepper, it will form a nice crust when you sear it.
Never put the steak in a cold pan, make sure to heat the oven or cast-iron pan is very hot and add a bit of canola oil or other high-smoke point oil so that the steak doesn't stick.
Now We're Ready To Cook That Steak
For home users, it is best to have a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet for cooking your steak. Make sure to pre-heat it on you stove, oven, or grill and add oil so that the steak doesn't stick.
Chef Jack Newton adds that to get a good crust you should sear the steak on the hottest surface possible. This will create a crust as well as delicious and beautiful caramelization on the steak. Once it has a nice external crust, take it out of the pan to let it rest for a few min so that the external temperature is lower than what you desire the internal temperature to be. This resting process may take 5-7 minutes.
Now, you can finish the steak by placing it in a hot oven at 450 oF for about five minutes until you reach your desired internal temperature. While these chefs from Omaha are all trained experts, for the rest of us, I suggest getting a wireless temperature probe to monitor this process. It makes things so much easier.
Remember, your steak will continue cooking so if you want a Medium Rare steak to be 145 degrees, you should remove it at 140 depending on thickness.
Prepare Your Steak for Serving
Once done in the oven, take it out and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to let it finish cooking and to prevent the juices from being lost once you cut into it.
While some people prefer to simply serve the steak with sides, others like to have sauces. Chef Colin Duggan likes using reductions to accompany his steaks
Photos courtesy Visit Omaha.