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Pan-Seared New York Strip

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Posted by johngl

Sometimes, when it is rainy and cold outside, I just don’t feel like firing up the charcoal in the old Weber Kettle and, instead, opt for some pan-seared goodness.

Pan Seared New York Strip
Pan-seared NY strip with a baked potato topped with crème fraîche and a little Hawaiian red salt

Normally, I begin a dinner like this with a large primal cut of meat and cut it down to the size of pieces that I like. Not this time. I happened to see these at the local mega mart and just picked them up off the shelf.

right out of the pack

These had some really nice marbling:

marbled

That marbling is where most of the flavor comes from, so it’s a good thing. New York strips, unlike ribeye, also have a little more chew to them. If you want a melt-in-your-mouth steak, NY strips aren’t necessarily a good choice as you’ll wind up using your pearly whites a bit. On the other hand, if you want a stronger beefy taste, this strip is a good choice.

Anyway, these guys came right out of the fridge and were a very cold 35° and that would be a very bad thing to throw into a pan on the stove top. Remember, if you want to do it right, start with at least a 60° steak.

What? You don’t want to wait? Okay, here is a solution. Pop these guys into a zip top bag…

zip topped bag

and put them in a sink full of warm tap water. To keep them submerged, put a heavy plate on top of them. Leave them alone for about a half hour. This process really doesn’t hurt anything, but you will notice some moisture spring forth on the steaks once you take them out of the bag. That is just some condensate (the bag probably didn’t leak unless you didn’t seal it properly). The steak was cold and therefore hit the dew point and water condensed on the surface. Isn’t science cool?

So, this moisture, if not removed, will steam your steak. Steamed steak is bad.

Science moment: Remember the old science experiment where you put some water in a paper cup and hold it over a candle until the water boils? The cup doesn’t burn until all the water boils off? Well, the same sort of thing happens when a layer of water gets between the steak and the pan. You can’t properly sear a wet steak! A lot of energy is expended vaporizing the water (and steaming the steak) before the meat gets dry enough to sear. By that time, the proteins in the meat have tightened up to become the soles of your leather dress shoes.

When you take the steaks out of the bag, they will probably be in the 50-60° range (and if you were smart, you put in your potatoes to bake while the steaks were in the hot tub) and may be a little moist.  Just grab some paper towels and dry them off thoroughly. In fact, you might want to put a paper towel in each hand and sandwich the steak while giving it a light squeeze. (This where the studio audience yells: Squeeze your meat!).

You should have a nice cast iron pan by now (lord knows I have talked about it enough) and it should be pre-heated until it is smoking hot.

Hot pan

Add a little kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to the steaks. A light touch of garlic powder can be added as well (depending on your tastes). Rub the seasonings in using a tablespoon–it’s a lot less messy than using your fingers.  Apply a little pressure and press it into the surface of the meat.

Use a spoon, man!

Now, go ahead and toss the meat into the pan (I love that sizzle).

in the pan

In about 3-1/2 minutes, give ‘em a flip:

flipped out

You just gotta love that crust!

Your potatoes should be baked by now (about 40 minutes at 375° for a medium sized potato) so dinner is ready to go.

ready to each

Then, take a bite:

good crust, nice doneness

If you have any leftover bits, don’t forget the pets!

Here’s Misha, our old cat.  I think she was a dog in a previous life.

Dinner?
Did someone say steak?

5 Responses to “Pan-Seared New York Strip”

  1. Star Cat says:

    I love this article.
    I was going off the wall one night and came up with the notion of Steamed Steak, which of course I thought was a bad idea, so I started laughing about the whole affair and did a web search on steamed steak!
    It actually very well written and logical.
    Also, I am a former executive chef. There are a lot of worthless dumbass Chefs out there who are very impressed with themselves. As we can see, many people know a great deal about fine cooking without the ego trip of thinking they are some kind of culinary god. They make very good food. This paper is very well written.

    Star Cat

  2. Susan says:

    I think I put too much pepper on the steak because it was like some one set off pepper spray in our house… Maybe the pan was too hot also! We had to eat outside, but it was a great steak al fresco! Thanks…

  3. Alex Hall says:

    Just tried this out in my apartment. Almost set the fire alarm off but it was totally worth it haha. I had the stove at about an 8/10. And it’s not gas and i think it was a little high. It was pretty well seared and crusted by about the 1.5 min mark. I’m thinking a 5-6 for 3.5 mins will be fine. Thanks for the tutorial!

    -Alex

    • johngl says:

      Thanks for trying it out! In my adult life, I have never cooked on an electric range, so I have no idea how its settings would work.

      Sorry about the smoke. ;-)

  4. Very interesting! I’ve got to get some steak!

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