Electric and gas broilers cook as differently as electric and gas stove burners do. Electric broilers make cooking a steak all the way through without burning it on the outside first a hit-or-miss endeavor, with a miss resulting in something that resembles a bleeding hockey puck -- raw inside, coal-black outside. Gas broilers are reliable. Even though they operate at high temperatures -- usually around 550 degrees Fahrenheit -- they heat food uniformly, so you can cook delicate, lean cuts, such as tenderloin steaks, with the same confidence you have when grilling them, which, incidentally, is all broiling is -- upside-down grilling.
Remove the tenderloin steaks from the refrigerator and let them reach room temperature on a plate, maybe 30 minutes. Steaks respond best to broiling and broil more evenly when you start them at room temperature. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels.
Heat a well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet on the stove over high heat for 5 minutes, or until white hot. A preheated cast-iron skillet sears and cooks the steak evenly on the bottom while the broiler sears and cooks the steak on top, so you don't have to turn the steaks over. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, you can use your regular broiler pan and turn the steaks over halfway through cooking.
Adjust the oven rack to 4 or 5 inches below the broiler and turn it on. Most gas broilers have only two settings: "On" and "Off." But if your broiler gives you a choice between "High" and "Low," choose "High."
Season the tenderloin steaks to taste on the top, bottom and sides with kosher salt. Hold off on freshly ground black pepper until you take the steaks out to prevent its natural oils from scorching. If you're using a broiler pan, coat the steaks with a thin layer of oil. Place the steaks in the cast-iron skillet or pan and place it in the oven.
Broil the tenderloin steaks for 10 minutes, total cooking time, for medium-rare. Broil the steaks for 12 minutes, total cooking time, for medium. Broil the steaks for 15 minutes, total cooking time, for well-done. If using a broiler pan, turn the steaks over halfway through cooking.
- Plan for a little smoke when broiling, so open a window.
- Select 1- to 1.5-inch-thick steaks for broiling. If you have to broil a thick steak, set the oven rack about 8 inches below the broiler.
- Wear heavy-duty oven mitts when taking the cast-iron skillet off the stove or pulling the oven rack out.
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