Steak in cast iron….In other words, dinner!!!

I have been seeing instructions all over the interwebs on how to make great steak in a cast iron skillet.  In the house.  Not on the grill.  Now, this interested me because, as much as I love him, Byron’s not really great at knowing when the steak has turned to leather and I prefer my jerky seasoned differently.  I was hoping to make some steak that did not require barbecuing half the deep freezer along with it (so as not to “waste” the charcoal) and that *I* could make without someone (cough cough *Byron* cough cough) hovering as I use “his” grill.

I found this set of instructions via search, read the whole thing, then decided to do it my way.  Shocker, right?!

Here is my way, what is now known as the “right way” around here.  😀

First, I put my cast iron skillet on the stove on high and let it get *screaming* hot.  I put a little vegetable oil in it this time, but you could also use coconut oil, palm shortening, or any other oil that you feel comfortable allowing to get super hot.  We don’t like how coconut oil tastes in this dish, so I just use regular vegetable oil.  Use about 2 or 3 tablespoons, not as much as you see in the picture.

While it heated up, I opened doors and windows and turned on fans.  You’re gonna need to do that, too.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Use a cut of beef that YOU like.  We like less fat (one reason for the leather problem), so I chose these round steaks from Sam’s Club.

Then I sprinkled on a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of onion powder, pepper to taste, and about 3 times as much salt as I normally use.  This is ok because a lot of it stays in the pan.  In the picture is some high quality Himalayan pink salt I found on clearance at Home Goods, but I prefer using leftover pretzel salt or any other chunky-grained salt.  The pink stuff is tasty but waaaaay too finely ground.

Season both sides of your steaks now, you won’t have time later.

These steaks were sized right to let me put 2 in the pan at once, but sometimes I can only fit one.

It’s gonna sizzle and pop and splatter.  Just accept it.  Try not to move the meat around for about a minute.  Then flip it over.

Let it sit for another minute, then move it to a large cutting board.

Try to work quickly here so your steaks stay hot.  Use a SHARP knife and slice the steak against the grain.  I like to get fancy and make it all diagonal and stuff.

Now normally, we will NOT eat beef that is still red.  Steak purists are up in arms, I am sure, but I don’t want my food to moo.  So, we are not done here.  First, do this:

Mmmmm….Butter…….

Next, take this:

and do this:

By the way, this is Too. Much. Butter.  Don’t use this much when you make it.  We’re not deep-frying here.  Save half of it for the end, you’ll see.

Take a couple deep sniffs of the delicious smell coming from that skillet, then flip those strips:

Wait a few more beats, then remove the steak strips to a heat-safe container (I used a pyrex casserole dish).

 You might notice that there is still a good bit of red & pink in that beef.  Yes, there is–because the steak in that photo had *just* come out of the pan, and it finished cooking in that glass dish while I finished the rest of the strips.  This is where you add the other half of the butter from earlier, like I didn’t this time.  Normally I do, I guess my thinker was on the fritz this time.

But wait!  There’s more!

Take all that yummy, greasy goodness in the skillet and throw some of this on it:

Then add some of this:

Stir, wait.  Stir again, wait again.  You get this:

 Add a little extra water (plus the juices from the glass dish, if you want) to deglaze the pan, and who needs gravy????

Here is what I did wrong this time (as shown in these photos):

  • I took pictures.  This took too much time away from the process and the steak cooked a little more than I wanted.  It was chewy.  We’re not perfect here.  It was still good.
  • Too much oil & butter for the size of the skillet.  Still tasted good, but I wanted a sear, not a deep-fry.
  • I used fine-grained salt on this batch, and I should have used pretzel salt.  Big, fat chunks of it.  It will NOT make your meal saltier, but it makes a better “crust” on your steak.  Just comes out better, I don’t know (or care) why.  Just do it.
I think that’s all I remember doing wrong this time.  Important points to take away:
Make the skillet SUPER HOT and keep it that way.
Chunky salt
I’m full now.  Homemade applesauce for dessert (there’s always room in the dessert stomach).