A big juicy steak just doesn’t get much better than when it is cooked in a hot cast iron skillet. Even though I’ve talked about the perfect steak before, a skillet steak will absolutely knock your socks off. Hearing the sizzle when a steak hits the hot skillet is music to my ears. I know my steaks are getting a good sear, forming a delicious crust if you will, and keeping all that juicy goodness right inside.
The process to cook a skillet steak is really not that difficult at all. You just need a heavy, large cast iron skillet that is well-seasoned and cleaned, your steaks, a couple of seasonings, and a few minutes.
I like to season my steaks for a few hours before I’ll be cooking them. This serves as a sort of dry brine that helps produce a more juicy and flavorful steak. I sprinkle both sides of my steak with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then store it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before I am ready to begin cooking. Then, I pull my steaks out and allow them to warm up easily on the counter as I begin getting everything ready to cook.
I preheat my cast iron skillet over medium heat on my stove. You could easily use a sideburner or directly on your grill or cook these over an open flame on a grate if you are camping, as well.
Once my skillet is hot, hot, hot, I test it with a drop of water. If a sprinkle of water dances and sizzles across the skillet, I know my skillet is ready for cooking my steaks.
Next, I drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the skillet and make sure it has been well-coated.
Then, I place each steak into the skillet, taking care not to crowd them as they are cooking. After the steaks have cooked for about two minutes on one side, I carefully flip them on the other side. After two minutes, I reduce the heat on the skillet to low or slide the skillet to indirect heat if cooking over a grill or on a campfire.
At this point, I’ll test the steaks for doneness with an internal thermometer or by using the “face test.” I saw the tip on some television show when I was first married and the idea of testing steak based on your face completely made sense to me then and has worked ever since.
Basically, here’s how the “face test” works:
Face Test for Testing Steak Doneness
Rare Steaks (145 degrees, before resting*) – If you prefer rare steaks, the steak should have a similar feel as when you touch your cheek. It should have plenty of give and cushion.
Medium Steaks (160 degrees, before resting*) – If you prefer your steaks at the medium level, the steak should have a similar feel as when you touch your chin.
Well-Done Steaks (170 degrees, before resting*) – If you prefer your steaks well-done, the steak should have a similar feel as when you touch your forehead.
*according to USDA Guidelines
I highly suggest that you make skillet steaks soon.
When you do, pull out your internal thermometer and then do a comparison so that you get a feel for the whole “face test” for testing your steaks. You’ll feel funny the first few times you do it, but believe me, it works like a charm!
Allow your steaks to rest in the skillet for about five minutes for all of the juices to flow back to through the meat. This produces the juiciest, most flavorful steak you can imagine.
As my steaks were resting, I knew they really didn’t require anything else, but they sure did deserve something to elevate them just a smidge. That’s when I whipped up this Gorgonzola herbed butter at the last minute to serve on top of them.
Let’s just say that little tablespoon of goodness was this steaks crowning glory!
Here’s my tried and true Skillet Steak recipe. Don’t skip on the herbed butter!
- 4 ribeye steaks, or your preferred cut
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese
- 1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Season both sides of each steak with salt and fresh ground pepper. Wrap each steak tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking in order for the steaks to reach room temperature before cooking.
- Heat large, heavy cast iron skillet over medium heat. You can also use a sideburner on a grill or an open flame with a grate if camping. To test if properly heated, sprinkle a drop of water into the bottom of the skillet. If it dances, the skillet is properly heated.
- Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the skillet and make sure it is well-coated.
- Place each steak into the skillet and cook over the medium heat for two minutes. Flip and cook the other side of the steak for about two minutes. Test for doneness. Cook longer if needed to reach the level of doneness desired.
- Remove from heat and allow to rest for about five minutes in the skillet.
- Cream together butter, Gorgonzola cheese, and fresh parsley.
- Place one tablespoon of herbed butter onto the top of each steak and allow to melt over the sides as serving.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Have a great weekend!