Cast Iron Skillet Steak 101

Posted by on Jul 30, 2020 in blog

Today, we are talking about a subject that is very close to my heart: mastering your cast iron skillet steak. Mastering steak at all is an achievement, but there is something extra delicious about the flavor that comes from the cast iron that brings your steak to another level.

This recipe is definitely Keto, but it can also be slightly altered to fit into Paleo and Whole 30 requirements simply by switching from regular butter to ghee. What I love about making steak is how few ingredients are needed to develop a really complex, layered flavor.

It should be noted that these tips are several months in the making. The amount of trial and errors that have been done to perfect this recipe is staggering (luckily I have a family who agrees to eat whatever I make, even if it has the consistency of leather.) 

So today, I am bringing all of my best tips to you that I have compiled to really make sure your steak is perfectly cooked, juicy, and delicious. Let’s dive right in:

*I used a boneless ribeye for this tutorial. If you use other cuts of steak, the results might vary.

Prepping your steak:

  • Steak is best cooked when it is at room temperature. Make sure your steak is properly thawed and remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Simply allow it to rest on a dish.
  • Use a paper towel to press into the steak and remove any excess juices.
  • Drizzle about 1/2 a tbsp of olive oil on each side of the steak, rubbing it in until the steak is evenly coated.
  • Sprinkle a large pinch of salt on each side of the steak. To get move even coverage, sprinkle the salt from about a foot above the steak. Allow the steak to rest while you prep everything else.

Prepping your flavors:

  • I have found that it is easiest to infuse garlic into the flavor of the steak if you peel whole garlic cloves and smash them. For reference, I have tried minced garlic and it just burns too fast. The smashed garlic infuses the flavor into the melted butter and carmelizes. I even enjoy the carmelized clove with my steak when it’s all done.
  • I love using sprigs of fresh rosemary, rather than dried rosemary. The smell that will come from the garlic-butter-fresh rosemary infusion is second to none.
  • Let’s talk butter: while it seems redundant to use salted butter and salt, I have found that it really does add more to the flavor. So use that salted butter! Or simply add some salt to the ghee while you melt it in the pan, it will be just as delicious!

Prepping your tools:

  • Here is what you need: 
    • A cast iron skillet: while any size cast iron skillet works, I used a 12-inch skillet which allows me to sear two steaks at once with plenty of room.
    • A pair of tongs: to properly flip the steaks. 
    • A cutting board: to allow the steaks to rest on after
    • A timer: arguably the most important part of searing steaks
    • An instant-read thermometer: okay, maybe this is the most important part.
  • Allow your cast iron skillet to heat on a medium-high flame with nothing in it for about 5 minutes. The pan is going to be HOT and that is exactly what we want.

Making Your Steak:

  • Now that the cast iron skillet is HOT (like, hot hot hot), reduce the flame to medium and add in 4 tbsp of butter.
  • Allow butter to melt completely before adding your smashed garlic (I used 6 cloves) and fresh rosemary (I used 4 sprigs).
  • Now, it’s time to add the steak. Carefully, lay the steak into the pan. You will hear a loud sizzle and that should be music to your ears…now you will achieve the perfect sear!
    • If you are making more than one steak in your skillet, make sure to leave about an inch of space between the two to make sure that each steak cooks evenly.
  • Immediately set your timer and flip your steak after 4 minutes. Allow steak to sear on the other side for four minutes as well.
  • Using a spoon, lift the excess butter in the pan and drizzle on top of the steak to baste. You may have to add an extra tablespoon of butter. I also added an extra sprig of rosemary on top too.
  • Now, grab your instant read thermometer. It’s time to determine the doneness of your steak. Here is how you can tell:
    • Rare: 125 degrees
    • Medium Rare: 135 degrees
    • Medium: 145 degrees
    • Medium Well: 150 degrees
    • Well Done: 160 degrees
  • If you notice that you have not reached the level you want to be at, flip steak every 30 seconds until you have finally reached the internal temperature you are looking for.
  • Remove finished steak from the heat and allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes prior to cutting it. This will allow the juices to settle in the steak, rather than running out when you cut into it. This is what gives the steak all of the juiciness.

We hope this tutorial gives you the confidence that you need to create the perfect steak for you and your family! Let us know if you have any more tips!

Xoxo, Claire and the Mamas at Mama Jess