The Best Way to Sear a Steak (Hint: We Use a Secret Ingredient)


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Getting a perfect sear without overcooking a steak can be tough. Bridget Lancaster shows how to sear steak & with the Test Kitchen’s secret technique for perfectly seared steaks. Learn more in the Cooking School:

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The Best Way to Sear a Steak:

To get a deep brown char on the meat without overcooking it, the meat must be completely dry. To achieve this, we use a two-pronged approach. First, place steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Rub entire surface of steaks with mixture of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place steaks, uncovered, in freezer until very firm, about 30 minutes.

Light a large chimney starter filled with charcoal (about 6 quarts) and allow to burn until the coals are partially covered with a thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build a single-level fire by arranging the coals evenly over the bottom of the grill and place the wood chunks directly on the coals, spacing them evenly around the perimeter of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and heat the grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Use a grill brush to scrape the cooking grate clean. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding the wad with tongs, oil the cooking grate.

How to Cook Steak:

Season the steaks with black pepper. Place the steaks on the grill, cover, and cook until the steaks begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover the grill, flip the steaks, and cook on the second side until beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip again and cook the first side until well charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip one last time and continue to cook until the second side is well charred and the center of the steak registers 115 degrees for rare (about 2 minutes) or 120 degrees for medium-rare (about 4 minutes) on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a large plate and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

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50 thoughts on “The Best Way to Sear a Steak (Hint: We Use a Secret Ingredient)”

  1. Yeah; they will char, and probably blacken. I was taught that the heart foundation considers burnt carbohydrates as carcinogenic – that includes burnt toast and starch dusting over a grill; and quite unnecessary if you let the steak dry naturally. Rub them with a black pepper based spice rub – if you want, no salt yet, then place them on the wire rack in a cold room or roomy fridge, not freezer, for at least 12 hours(overnight). Let them sit lightly covered on the counter until they reach ambient temperature – very important! Salt them by pressing the salt into the now dry steak just before they hit the grill. Try this once; its been working very well in South African braais for ages.

  2. looks like your having meat with your fat ah there is a problem with eating all that animal fat and heart disease your programs show you favor pork another animal meat with high cholesterol and even chicken that you cook you ever get a whole chicken cut off all the fat and skin wow you need two hands to hold it all and you just cut apart a chicken and start cooking it and eat all that unhealthy fat and cholesterol yum. alot of people think eating chicken over eating beef is better well chicken places just toss the chicken in batter but the consumer is getting all that skin and grease totaly unhealthy bottm line cut out skin and fat from chicken as for beef who needs all that sickening fat . hamburger get the leanist stop eating crap because oh it tastes good and fat from animals is crap its how the animals people consume get back at the people for eating them goes around comes around.

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