Nothing compares to cutting into a perfectly prepared loin steak. Its crisp, brown outer layer gives way to a beautiful pink interior as the juices run over your steak knife and into a rich little puddle of savory deliciousness. Taken from right behind the ribs, loin steak is renowned for its tenderness, making it one of the best cuts for broiling, roasting, grilling or sauteing. To cook a really juicy steak, though, all you have to do is sear the meat and cook it in heavy frying pan on your stove top -- a process that takes only about 15 minutes to complete.
Place your steaks on a plate. Pour just enough olive oil over the steaks to coat each one. Season the steaks with a liberal amount of kosher salt and black pepper. Let them rest at room temperature for about an hour.
Place a cast-iron skillet on the range top and heat over high heat. Do not add oil to the skillet. After about 5 minutes, very carefully feel the air above the skillet. When you can detect warmth with your hand 4 to 5 inches from the pan’s surface, it's ready.
Use tongs to place each steak near the center of the pan. The meat makes a sizzling sound as it sears. Do not let the steaks touch each other. Sear the meat on one side for 4 to 5 minutes or until the meat releases from the bottom of the pan when moved with the tongs.
Flip the steaks once. They should look a little charred on the cooked side. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes.
Test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the center of the steak. For rare, cook to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. For a medium steak, cook until the thermometer reaches 130 F, and for well-done steak, cook until it reaches 140 F.
Remove the steaks from the skillet and place them on a cutting board for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting or serving. This resting period allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat.
- Purchase the highest quality cuts of meat possible. Prime beef is the highest quality, followed by Choice and then Select. The higher its quality, the juicier the meat.
- Although some diners may not like red or pink centers in their steak, the juiciest steaks are cooked to rare, medium-rare or medium temperatures.
- Do not press on the steaks when you flip them since doing so pushes juices from the meat, depriving it of moisture and reducing its tenderness.
- You may want to cover the steaks with foil when you put them on the cutting board to rest, but it's optional. Doing so accelerates the residual cooking of the steak, making your meat more well-done, so adjust to your preference for doneness.
- Resist the urge to cut into your steaks before they have rested for 10 minutes. During the resting time, they achieve a safe temperature to kill any germs within the meat. The resting time also gives the steaks a chance to relax. The juices distribute evenly throughout the meat, making an overall juicier steak.
- If you are on a low-sodium diet, use 2 or 3 tablespoons of a salt-free seasoning on the steaks in place of the salt and pepper.
- Improper handling of raw beef can lead to foodborne illnesses from germs. Always wash your hands and sanitize your work area after handling raw beef.
- After resting for 3 minutes, steak should reach an internal temperature of 140 F. Meat that is cooked to cooler temperatures may contain germs that can cause illness.
- Always use caution when handling cast-iron cookware. It heats quickly and to very high temperatures, making it a burn threat.
Meg Winkler began professionally writing in 2008. She has covered a variety of topics including fine wine, interiors, the arts, lifestyle and history. Winkler has been a luxury publications editor and music critic. She is an independent author and holds a Master of Arts from American Military University.
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