Three years ago, GQ magazine sent us an article by Lang Whitaker, on how to cook a steak on the stove top.

In the winter, those who grill outside may not be motivated to do so. Households without grills need an inside option. Apartment dwellers may lack ventilation, and set off the smoke alarm trying to grill on the stovetop. Hence, the technique.

Sometimes things get buried in a [digital] pile. Such was the case with this article.

But it’s winter again and a juicy steak is warm comfort food. Here, finally, is the technique, adapted from the original article.

It was designed for people who cook inside in a kitchen without a great ventilation system. Otherwise, cooking a steak on the stovetop, with high heat, can trigger the smoke alarm.

The trick here is to cook for a longer time, with medium heat. A crusty, juicy steak can be cooked on any stove top.


  • Steak 1″ thick, preferably thicker
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (substitute thyme)
  • 4 cloves unpeeled garlic, crushed once with the skillet
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cast iron skillet or equivalent (don’t use a nonstick pan)

    1. TAKE the steak from the fridge. You don’t need to let it warm to room temperature. Alain Ducasse recommends first rendering the fat from the sides of the steak, but you don’t need to do this if the steak doesn’t have a lot of fat; and unlike a three-star Michelin chef, if you’re not serving it to high-paying customers.

    2. COAT one side of the steak generously with salt and pepper. Put the steak seasoned-side down into the cold, dry pan. Place half of the butter on the side, along with a twig of rosemary and two crushed garlic cloves.

    3. TURN on the heat to medium: On a scale of 1-10, it shouldn’t be higher than 6. Let the steak cook for 10 minutes; the butter will melt in the process. Tiny wisps of smoke are O.K., but avoid heavier smoke and sizzling. If that happens, turn the heat down. After 10 minutes…

    4. REMOVE the steak from the pan and set it on a plate, cooked side down. Using a paper towel, wipe the pan clean, discarding the garlic and rosemary.


    Raw Sirloin
    [1] Season the meat (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Steak In Grill Pan
    [2] Cook and flip (photo courtesy Let The Baking Begin Blog).

    Strip Steak Cooked
    [3] Resting, on the way to the dinner plate (photo courtesy Double R Ranch).

    5. SALT and pepper the raw side of the steak, and place it seasoned side down in the pan. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the rest of the butter, rosemary and garlic. After another 10 minutes…

    6. TILT the pan to a side and spoon some of the hot, flavored butter over the steak. Then flip the steak and do the same with the other side.

    7. PLACE the steak on a plate and let it rest for ten minutes before slicing.

    As meat cooks, the proteins heat up and set (become firm). The more cooked the meat, the more set the proteins.

    This is why chefs can judge the doneness of a steak or chop by pressing a finger on the top. The softer the meat, the more rare it is; the firmer the meat, the more done it is.

    When the proteins set, they push the meat’s juices towards the center of the piece. If you cut the cooked meat before resting it, the juices will burst out onto the plate, leaving you with a drier piece of meat.

    But if you let the meat stand away from the heat for 10 minutes (longer for roasts and turkeys), resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Then, the meat will lose less juice when cut, leaving it far more tender and juicy.

    Remove the meat from the heat and place it on a warm plate or serving platter (we microwave the plate to warm it). Cover the meat loosely with foil. If you cover it tightly, the hot meat will sweat and lose the moisture you are trying to preserve!

    The time taken to rest depends on size. A rule of thumb used by some chefs is, 1 minute of resting time for every 3.5 ounces (100g) of meat.

  • Steaks or chops should stand for 5 minutes before serving (3 minutes for a small piece).
  • Roasts should rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.
  • A turkey should rest at least 20 minutes; add more time for a jumbo bird.

    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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