Butter-Basted Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Watch the Food Lab Video Series
Butter-Basted Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks
  • Yield:serves 2 to 3
  • Active time:15 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes
  • Rated: 4.5
This recipe appears in:
Ask the Food Lab: Does Resting Under Foil Ruin Meat? The Food Lab: Flip Your Steaks Multiple Times For Better Results 7 Old Wives' Tales About Cooking Steak That Need To Go Away The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Dry-Aging Beef at Home Ask The Food Lab: Do Bones Add Flavor to Meat? The Food Lab's Complete Guide To Pan-Seared Steaks

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Perfectly cooked, butter-basted steak with a deep brown crust flavored with aromatics.

Note: This recipe is designed for very large steaks, at least 1 1/2 inches thick weighing 24 to 32 ounces with the bone-in. Porterhouse, T-bone, ribeye, or New York strips will all work. Avoid using tenderloin steaks, as they are likely to overcook. For better results, let steaks rest at least 45 minutes at room temperature or up to three days loosely covered in the refrigerator after seasoning in step 1.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bone-in T-bone or ribeye steak (see note above)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 sprigs thyme or rosemary (optional)
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced shallots (about 1 large, optional)

Directions

  1. 1.

    Carefully pat steak dry with paper towels. Season liberally on all sides (including edges) with salt and pepper (see note above).

  2. 2.

    Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Carefully add steak and cook, flipping frequently, until a pale golden brown crust starts to develop, about 4 minutes total.

  3. 3.

    Add butter, herbs (if using) and shallots (if using) to the skillet and continue to cook, flipping steak occasionally, and basting any light spots with foaming butter. If butter begins to smoke excessively or steak begins to burn, reduce heat to medium. To baste, tilt pan slightly so that butter collects by handle. Use a spoon to pick up butter and pour it over steak, aiming at light spots. Continue flipping and basting until an instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloin side registers 120 to 125°F for medium rare, or 130°F for medium, 8 to 10 minutes total. Immediately transfer steak to a large heat-proof plate and pour pan juices on top. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve.

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!

Comments

Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: