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How To Cook Steak In A Pan Like A Goddamned Man

1 Man's Opinion 65

The Scenario:

The best way to cook a steak is on a grill, the absolute best way to cook a steak is on a Josper grill, but I don’t have a few grand to drop on one and it is raining outside, so I am stuck with a skillet.

The first thing that you need to know about cooking a steak is that the whole world has been lying to you your entire life. From the minute you plopped out of your mother to the moment you clicked on this page you have been told that fat is bad. Fat isn’t bad. Fat is where flavour comes from.

When you are picking out a steak you don’t want it to have come from the runway model cow, you want it to come from the cow that spent its whole life sitting on a sofa, munching snacks and watching TV. If you’ve ever heard a chef talking about “marbling” on a steak, that is all about how much fat has sneaked in amongst the meat.

Because here is the thing; we might eat our steaks rare and bloody or we might eat them well done, but either way we are still cooking them. When you heat up fat, it melts. It melts out into all of the rest of the meat and fills it up with flavour.

I’m going to assume that we are talking about a rib-eye steak for the rest of this, because they are the best balance of marbling and price and because I really want one right about now.

What You Need:

A stovetop/cooktop/hob/whatever you call the rings on top of your oven.

A skillet or frying pan big enough for every steak you are cooking to lie down flat with.

A little bit of breathing room around the sides.

A spatula, or a willingness to burn your fingers.


Enough steaks for everybody plus one more for when you realise you are still peckish.

Salt, Pepper.

A tiny- TINY- drop of oil.

That is it, we are cooking steaks not coq au vin.

How To Do It:

1. Get the steaks out of the fridge, be prepared to punch any animals that swoop in to steal them as they warm up to room temperature.

2. Put the skillet on the heat and turn it up all the way. (If you are cooking different kinds of steak you need a lower heat, rib-eyes need to get blasted to melt all that fat down.)

3. Give it a second to warm up. Give the steaks a little sprinkle of salt and pepper.

4. Pour in one tiny drop of oil and then swish it around. I mean the tiniest amount you can put in and still make the bottom of this pan shiny. If you are confident in the “non-stick” label on your pan, you can skip this, but everyone knows that cookware lies to you. So be careful.

5. Lay your steaks down in the pan, if the don’t start sizzling right away, you’ve put them in too soon. Space them out so they aren’t touching and give them a little wiggle to make sure they haven’t stuck.

6. Leave them alone. Seriously. Just let them sit still. All the fat is melting down and sealing the bottom of your steak. For rare give them a minute. For medium, give them 2 minutes. For well done give them 3.

7. Flip them over and give them the same amount of lying still time to seal the other side. If you’ve timed it right then you just sealed all of the flavour inside a crisp outer shell of delicious steak.

8. Serve them out and eat them. Eat them hard.

G D Penman writes books. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he likes to watch cartoons, play video games, read more books than are entirely feasible and continues on his quest to eat the flesh of every living species. He has worked in just about every job you can have in a restaurant and now he is here to yell at you for using a microwave when there is a perfectly good oven right there.

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