Here’s What You Need to Know About Cooking a Steak with the Bone In

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

Was the bone-in version of the steak you love to cook on sale this week? If you couldn’t resist the deal (bone-in steaks often cost a bit less) and you’re ready to cook it, here are the most important things you need to know about mastering this cut of meat.

It’s not much different than cooking boneless.

If you’re used to cooking boneless steak, the presence of a bone through the center or along the side of your steak might make you feel a little thrown off. Don’t be. In the large scheme of things, there really isn’t much you need to do differently when prepping and cooking.

The presence of a bone doesn’t call for a special method for cooking steak; it can be treated the same as its boneless counterpart. Although when a bone is present, not all methods are created equal (more on that below).

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The difference is time and the meat around the bone.

Bones have an impact on the way heat is distributed throughout the meat, so it can take a little bit more time to cook a bone-in steak. The dense bone essentially insulates the meat that surrounds it, keeping it at a lower temperature for longer than if it was boneless. This is actually helpful since the meat comes to temperature more gradually so you can pull it from the heat at the preferred temperature with a wider cushion to prevent overcooking.

Boneless or not, a probe thermometer is still going to be your trusty sidekick for cooking a steak the way you want, so keep it handy.

As you cut into a bone-in steak you’ll notice the meat nearest to the bone is the most flavorful, tender, and rare. Because the bone, and thus the meat nearest to it, takes more time to heat up, you can expect this part of the steak to have the most rare meat.

2 Cooking Methods for Bone-In Steak

  • In the oven: Whether you’ve got a rib-eye, T-bone, or other bone-in cut, this is your best option when cooking in the kitchen. The combination of stovetop sear and oven cooking guarantees an even cook all the way through with just the right amount of char on the outside.
  • On the grill: If you’re lucky enough to have a grill, this is a great option for bone-in cuts of steak. To ensure even cooking, don’t be afraid to flip the meat frequently and baste with butter.

Note: Avoid the stovetop method when cooking bone-in steaks (it’s much better suited for boneless). This method relies on an ultra-hot pan and quick cooking, which don’t suit dense bone-in steaks that require a longer cook time.

Are you a fan of bone-in cuts of steak? How do you prepare them?

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