I once read that every chef should learn to perfect a roast chicken, a steak, a salad, and a chocolate cake. I rely on Cook’s Illustrated (great magazine) for a perfect roast chicken, and now I’ll share my secrets to cooking the perfect grass fed steak at home on your stovetop. This is especially useful if you don’t have a grill or if you want a steak in a hurry. You’ll be surprised just how fast and easy it is.
My PSA on meat: Please always buy grass fed meat, and support local farms if possible. The conditions in which conventionally raised cows live are absolutely deplorable, and they are fed hormones and antibiotics to boost growth and prevent disease, and these residues eventually end up in you:
At the beginning of the antibiotic era, researchers discovered that the new miracle drugs had an unanticipated second effect: When given in tiny doses to healthy livestock — poultry, cattle, hogs — they allowed the animals to gain weight faster than they would have otherwise. When given to entire herds or flocks in slightly larger doses — but still smaller than it would take to cure an infection — antibiotics protected animals from illness.
Those two practices — growth promotion and disease prevention— effectively created modern industrial farming by allowing animals to be raised intensively and rapidly in limited space. (source)
Remember: You are what you eat ate. So please support smaller, humane farming practices where the cattle are raised with care. The meat is far healthier that CAFO beef, which increases inflammation and contributes to disease. (source) and (source)
UPDATE: In 2017, the FDA made it illegal to use antibiotics for growth in livestock. They can still be administered for illness.
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How to Cook the Perfect Steak on the Stove
What you’ll need
- 2 eight ounce grass fed strip steaks or ribeyes
- plenty of Kerrygold butter
- herbs that suit you. I recommend tarragon and thyme especially. I have a thyme plant out back, so I plucked some for use here. Tarragon is so good on steak and makes an excellent chimichurri.
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a cast iron skillet of some kind. I use a Lodge but the enamel cast irons are nice, too. Or use a cast iron grill pan. Every cook needs cast iron. I don’t make the rules.
Remove steaks from the fridge and let them come to room temp for about an hour. They’ll cook more evenly. Meantime, get your herbs ready–pick and chop. I made a compound butter to top the finished steaks by whipping together salted Kerrygold with chopped thyme. Super yum. You can google and get a ton of compound butter recipes and methods, but basically what I do it soften some salted Kerrygold and whip it together with herbs, then wrap it up in a log and put it in the freezer. Slice off rounds as needed to apply to steak or veggies (good on mashed potatoes, too).
Rub steaks with olive oil and coat liberally with sea salt and black pepper, then sprinkle with herbs on both sides. You could go totally minimalist and just sea salt and pepper them. Some people like celery seed on steak. You could also use dried herbs, garlic powder, whatever you fancy.
Heat the skillet over high but not absolutely full blast heat. Takes about 5 minutes or more depending on your stove and heat source (gas or electric). Then melt 1-2tbsp of Kerrygold in your skillet. Don’t skimp on the butter. You want the pan well covered, searing hot, and smoking: that’s the secret to getting a nice crust.
Put the steaks in the skillet and let them cook for 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness) without moving them or mashing down on them. Flip them with the tongs and cook for a couple more minutes on the other side so you get a nice crust.
The timing depends on how thick your steak is and how done you like it. I like mine super rare, so these didn’t take long. Here is a handy chart to help you test for doneness.
Once steaks are done, remove from pan with tongs and let them rest undisturbed for about 5-10 minutes. Put a pat of the compound butter on top, or sprinkle with additional fresh herbs. Serve with root vegetables and greens. I made roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes to accompany these. You could also try it with my butternut risotto (grain free). Enjoy!
- 1 - 4 eight ounce grass fed strip steaks or ribeyes (can cook in batches if necessary)
- 1-2 tbsp Kerrygold butter
- Handful of freshly chopped herbs you like: tarragon, thyme, chives, for example
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Let the steaks come to room temp for about an hour prior to cooking.
- Chop any fresh herbs you are using. You can use the herbs for a compound butter or to sprinkle over the finished steak.
- Rub steaks on both sides with olive oil and coat both sides liberally with sea salt and pepper.
- Heat skillet over high heat (but not full blast) for at least 5 minutes. I recommend cast iron.
- Drop about 1-2 tbsp kerrygold (depending on skillet size) and let it melt. It will smoke, but don't let it brown too much.
- Place steaks in the skillet and let them cook undisturbed for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness and how done you want it. It should have a nice crust on the cooked side when you flip it.
- Flip and cook an additional 1-4 minutes until desired doneness.
- Remove and let rest for about 10 minutes. If using compound butter, put a pat on top after you remove steaks while they're resting, or sprinkle with the fresh herbs.
- Plate and enjoy!
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