Can You Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Pan?

If you have a cast iron pan at home, or you are thinking about getting one, you might be wondering about the different foods that you can cook in it. If you are a lover of steak, perhaps being able to cook your steak in the pan will be the thing that will determine whether you make the purchase or not.

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to using cast iron pans for cooking, but can you use them to cook steak? This is something that we are going to discover in this article.

Can You Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Pan?

You absolutely can cook steak in a cast iron pan instead of spending lots of money in a posh restaurant for the same results. All you need to be able to do so is a good quality steak, a cast iron pan, a gas grill or stove top, some butter, a high smoke point oil, salt and pepper, and some long-handled tongs. 

Using a cast iron skillet is actually one of the best ways that you can cook a steak, but you will need to ensure that you are using good quality steak for the best results. Once you have your desired steak, you will be ready to get started.

 Keep in mind that you will need to use boneless meat, as the bone could otherwise reduce contact between the steak and the pan, therefore reducing the amount of caramelization on the outside of the meat. For the best results, you should use a choice or prime grade steak, but you should keep in mind that prime steak is going to cost more.

It can also be helpful to have a good instead-read digital thermometer on hand to easily take the internal temperature of the stake. This will help you to determine how cooked it is without having to cut into it.

Preparing Your Steak

Once you have your steak, you can get started. Firstly, you should lightly coat the steak with oil, and this oil should be one that has a high smoke point. This is due to the fact that oil breaks down at higher temperatures.

 Avocado oil is a great choice for this purpose. Both sides of the steak will need to be well coated with oil to help to conduct the heat from the pan to the meat as quickly as possible. This is a cooking method that heavily relies on speed.

Once you have sufficiently oiled your steak, you can move on to seasoning it. Usually, people like to use coarsely ground black pepper and a coarse sea or kosher salt. The oil will work to hold your chosen seasonings in place while you are cooking.

You might not want to stop at salt and pepper, and that is okay too. You can pretty much use anything that you want to, but you should try to keep it light. You could choose to add things like dried parsley or other herbs. You should be aiming to maximize the flavor of the steak, rather than the seasonings.

Even if it is not for the purpose of flavoring, the salt will react with the surface of the meat to help to produce the right flavor. You should let the salt sit on the steak for around 15 minutes before you cook it, which will allow enough time for it to be absorbed into the outside of the steak.

 You can choose to cook your steak using either a side burner and grill or a stove top and over. You can use the burner/stove to heat up the skillet and start cooking the steak, and then proceed to the grill/oven to finish off the steak. Everything will need to be preheated to a high temperature.

You should expect this cooking process to produce a lot of smoke, and this is totally normal. If you are cooking indoors, then you should probably open up the windows to allow for proper ventilation for the steak. Otherwise, it is going to be quite difficult to see what you are doing as the room fills up with smoke.

For this cooking process to be successful, you will need a super hot cast iron skillet. To get it piping hot, you should preheat it before you start cooking. This will also ensure that the surface of the pan is as evenly heated as possible. You do not need to put any oil in the pan as long as it has been properly seasoned, as the oil on the surface of the steak will suffice.

You will need to place the cast iron skillet on the burner or stove and set it to a high heat. Next, allow it time to heat up efficiently, and then place a single drop of water on the pan. If it sizzles for a moment before evaporating, then the pan is hot enough to start cooking your steak.

How to Cook Your Steak in a Cast Iron Pan

Now that you are in your kitchen with all of the windows open and your pre-seasoned and oiled steak is ready to go, you can start to cook your steak. You should first place the steak into the hot cast iron skillet and cook it until it can be easily moved. This will take between one and two minutes. 

You should then flip the steak and cook it for 30 seconds before moving it around the pan and putting pressure on it occasionally. This will ensure that it has even contact with the skillet. Moving the steak around the pan also allows it to cook more evenly. 

The final step would be to turn and flip the steak until it has been cooked to your preferred degree of doneness. It is recommended that you leave your steak to rest for 10 minutes before you cut into it. The steak should be in the pan for less than 5 minutes, depending on your preferences.