Cooking Steak In A Cast Iron Skillet


Try this great method for cooking steaks without a barbeque.


With the Memorial Day holiday in the rear-view mirror, it’s easy to start salivating over the upcoming barbeque season. I know I appreciate the occasional steak cooked to perfection over hot coals or a gas grill. Yet one of my good friends doesn’t have a BBQ and makes the best steaks ever—in a cast iron pan. In fact, this method works so well I might cook all my steaks this way.


As I think back on my early childhood, I remember my grandmother would cook an occasional steak in her electric fry pan (one of those plug in varieties). Now, I generally loved grandma’s cooking, but she regularly overcooked meat, which left it tough and unpalatable. Thus, when my friend told us she’d be serving “fried” steak my old memories jumped to the forefront and I prepared for the worse. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise!


This Filet Mignon is going to taste amazing.

Buy a good cut of meat and then let it warm to room temperature before cooking it.

The amazing thing about cooking a steak in a good “seasoned” cast iron skillet is how easy it is. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, and are thinking about getting one, check out our post “Seasoning A Cast Iron Pan“. Now, it’s true your cooking time is going to vary depending on the steaks thickness. Yet, with a little practice you can end up with a perfect steak every time. Here’s how to get started:


(1) Buy a good cut of meat, like Filet Mignon. Allow it to sit out on the counter and come up to room temperature for at least an hour prior to cooking it. Steak that starts out cold as you toss it in the pan will end up tougher.


Season your steaks or go without. It's up to you.

You can season with salt and pepper or be a little more adventurous with a rub like this one.

(2) Rub some seasoning into the meat. You can do anything here from a fancy mushroom rub to simple salt and pepper. If you’re trying to cut down on salt try some no-salt seasoning. If you like hot and spicy flavors, you can sprinkle on chili pepper flakes or a little cumin and chili powder. Or if you’re a purest, go without any seasoning at all. Note, some people also brush a little oil over the meat, but it really isn’t necessary.


(3) Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. While it’s heating place your seasoned cast iron pan in the oven to warm it. Alternatively, you can just heat your pan up on the burner.


(4) Set your timer for about 90 to 120 seconds (i.e. 1 ½ to 2 minutes). This is how long you’ll be “searing” each side. We sear the meat to lock in the juices. This helps the meat stay tender.


It's time to sear the steaks to lock the juice in.

With the pan and oven hot we're ready to go.

(5) Set one of your larger stove top burners on high heat. When it’s hot, pull the cast iron pan out of the oven using a hot mitt and place it on the burner. You’ll know it’s hot enough if you throw a few drops of water on the pan and see them instantly turn to steam.


(6) Turn your range fan to high. This method does produce a bit of smoke.


(7) Taking care not to touch the pan, toss your steaks into it and turn on the timer. When the timer goes off flip the steaks and set the timer again. Use a tongs not a fork to flip the meat. To keep the juices sealed in, you don’t want to puncture it.



(8) Once the steaks are seared on both sides pull the pan from the burner with the steaks still in it and pop it in the oven. Set the timer for 4 to 5 minutes. This should be about right for a medium-rare steak. Again, the thickness of the cut affects cooking time so you may need to experiment a time or two to get this right (adjust cooking times as needed).


It's time to flip those steaks.

Flip with a tongs, not a fork. You don't want to puncture the meat.

For the record, the steak shown in the pictures was about an inch and a quarter thick. We cooked it for 2 minutes per side on the stove top and then 4 minutes in the oven at the temperatures given.


I cooked my steaks on the stove first and then finished them in the oven.

These steaks are coming out of the oven. Good thing I have the fan on.

(9) When the timer goes off remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a platter. Now, it’s time to “tent” the meat. Tenting is a process that allows for continued cooking. Your meat reaches a point where the oils and juices inside the meat will continue to cook it outside the oven. Tenting helps that process along as the foil retains the heat.


It's nearly time to eat.

Place the steak on a warm plate and cover with foil to tent it.

To tent your steaks, place them on a warm plate and cover everything tightly with foil to lock in the heat and moisture. Set the timer for 4 to 5 minutes. When the timer goes off you should be done. Note: You can cut into a steak that looks too rare and think it’s not done. However, the meat continues to cook even after it goes on your plate. For this reason, you can easily overcook the meat and end up with a steak that’s “brown” all the way through. For the most tender and juicy steaks stick to medium rare, and then error on the side of under-cooking as you can always plop a steak back in the pan for another minute if needed.


(10) Now, it’s time to gather for your meal. Place your steak on a plate and pour a little of the juice that comes off it right over the top. Or if you have a favorite steak topping (like gravy or stir-fried onions and mushrooms) mix that extra juice into the topping and then dribble it over your steak. Yum, this meat is tender and juicy!


Do you have a favorite steak sauce?

I like a little onion and mushroom gravy to dribble over the top of my steaks. I add in the juice from the steaks at the end.

For a print copy of today’s recipe click on this link: Perfect Cast Iron Steaks.


Haiku Steaks


In case you think there’s only one right way to cook steaks with a cast iron skillet, my wife’s Uncle JW swears by his “Haiku” method. As you may remember from grade school, a Haiku is a Japanese poem consisting of 3 lines with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. Thus, the Haiku method for cooking steak goes as follows:


Run down to Costco to get a big, juicy Filet Mignon. Next, preheat your oven to 425 F. When you’re ready to cook, heat up your cast iron pan and sear one side of the meat for 5 minutes. At this point flip the meat over and place the pan in a hot oven for 7 minutes. Finally, remove the pan from the oven and let it rest with the steak still in it for 5 minutes. That’s it, your done. Remember: It’s 5-7-5 for a perfect medium-rare steak.


Hey, I believe this calls for a Haiku…


I’m hungry. Need steak.
Cast iron pan works wonders.
Cooked to perfection!


Comments are closed.


Favorite Pages