This Method for Cooking Steak Goes Against Everything You’ve Known, but the Results Are Totally Worth It

published May 25, 2022
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NY strip steak searing in pan, tongs removing steak
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

One of my favorite things about cooking is the variety of ways you can make a single recipe. We all have the same end goal — some of us just take a different route there in the process. And over the years, I have learned that there is never just one correct way to make a recipe. In fact, the way that I was taught to cook some dishes might not be the best practice out there. Steak, for example, is one of those things.

To be honest, I’ve always been under the impression that steak needed to be seared on high heat, then moved to a moderate location to finish cooking without burning the outsides or overcooking the inside. So, imagine my surprise when I came across Test Kitchen‘s tip for starting your steaks off in a cold pan. Shocked? Me, too.

The tip, which was posted on Test Kitchen’s Instagram, says that we should be placing the steaks in a cold nonstick skillet with no oil before the cooking process. Although this technique probably goes against all of your instincts, you may want to jump on the bandwagon — here’s why.

Developed by Andrew Janjigian, aka @wordloaf on Instagram, the tip really works if you have a well-marbled cut of beef; enough fat comes out during the cooking process that oil is not needed. All you need to do is start with a nonstick pan with no heat and no oil, place the steaks inside, and turn the skillet to high heat. After a few flips, turn the heat down to a medium temperature. Flip the steaks every two minutes and cook until the exterior is browned and the internal temperature reaches 120°F (for medium-rare results.) 

Personally, I can’t wait to try this trick out for myself. I’m always interested in new ways to impress guests and this just might be one of them. Looking for the perfect recipe to try it out on? A butter- and garlic-infused strip steak is the perfect meal for any day of the week. And, if you’re interested in turning it up a notch, this steak in red wine sauce will take your date nights to the next level. Happy cooking!