How To Sear the Perfect Steak in a Cast Iron

Searing steak in a cast-iron pan might be daunting, but Giada's got your back. It's easier than you think!

What better time to demystify the secret to a perfect steak than right before Valentine's Day? There's no better time to impress your significant other with a beautifully-crusted piece of meat. Follow along with Giada and you'll have a 5-star quality steak in no time. Here's a play-by-play of her tips:

 

1. Getting your desired doneness starts at the beginning!

If you like a medium-rare steak, take it straight from the fridge, season it, and add it to the pan. If the steak is still cold, it will take longer for the center to cook, which gives you a nice crust but a more rare steak in the middle. On the flipside, if you prefer your steak a little more medium or well, allow the meat to come to room temperature before you start cooking.

 

2. Season the meat generously

In this video, we used one of our favorite cuts of meat: a beautiful bone-in ribeye with lots of marbling. Fat is flavor, so you want a steak that has a good, even distribution of it! You want to add a generous amount of salt to the meat on both sides, as this creates a good crunchy crust and tons of flavor. Giada prefers to add olive oil right onto the meat instead of in the pan first, because...

 

3. Treat your cast-iron pan like a grill!

The secret to cast-iron success is to basically pretending that you're grilling! When we grill, we usually oil up the product rather than the grill itself to prevent flare-ups, and the same concept holds true for cooking in a cast-iron. The cast-iron pans retain much more heat than your average nonstick pan, so cooking time will be closer to that of high-heat grilling than your average sautéing. 

 

4. Leave the meat alone

Have you ever tried to move a steak around in a pan just a minute or two after putting it there, and finding yourself panicking a bit because it's totally stuck? Don't worry! The proteins of the steak need time to fully coagulate, and when it's ready, it won't stick anymore. Be patient, and don't worry!

 

5. Let it rest!

Letting your steak rest is integral! This is why Food Network judges cringe when they see contestants with 30 seconds left slicing into a freshly grilled steak - all of the juices come pouring right out. When you allow the meat to rest, you let all the juices redistribute into the meat, giving you a super juicy bite... or else all of that work could be for nothing!