3 Reasons To Cook Your Steak In The Oven

par HexClad Cookware

Steak cooked in the oven perfectly in a Hexclad 12 inch frying pan

There are many ways to cook a steak. Though, slapping a sirloin on the grill or butter-basting a T-bone in a skillet might come to mind, we’re here to make the case for using your oven to cook the steak. A technique called reverse-searing, specifically, allows you to cook the interior of a steak at a low, even temperature in the oven before finishing the steak off in a skillet to get a deeply flavorful crust. This works best for thicker cuts of meat like filet mignon, porterhouse, tomahawk, t-bone, wagyu, and ribeye. Skip this method for quick-cooking cuts like skirt or flank (or anything else less than 1½ inches thick, even if it’s one of the cuts listed above). Basically, if the steak is over 1½ inches, the reverse-sear is your friend. If not, stick to searing the steak quickly on both sides in the pan or on the grill. Though you can sear the steak first and send it to the oven to finish cooking after, it is less reliable than the reverse-searing technique. This method works well with thick pork chops, too, so give it a try if you have a couple on hand.

Pro-tip: No matter which method you choose, take your steak out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you begin cooking. This brings the meat to room temperature—for more even cooking—and dries the surface of the meat out, which contributes to getting a crispy crust.

Here are 4 reasons to cook steak in the oven:

  • Even cooking: When you cook a steak on the stovetop, the heat hits the outside of the meat first, cooking it continuously as the heat works its way to the inside. This often results in a gray band of overcooked meat beneath the crust. Instead, gentle cooking in the oven means that the interior can catch up to the exterior, so to speak, resulting in an evenly cooked interior. Plus, it gives you more time to use a meat thermometer so that you can reach your ideal temperature.
  • You get a better crust: The surface of the steak dries out in the oven, which ironically makes the chances of a great, crispy crust higher. This is because a dry surface increases the chances for the Maillard reaction to occur. Put simply, the Maillard reaction is responsible for the delicious, caramelized crust on a steak, so going with a method that dries out the surface is going to be a better success than starting the steak in the skillet or cooking it entirely on the stovetop.
  • It’s harder to overcook the steak: After you’ve splurged on a nice piece of meat, it’s disappointing to cut into it and realize it’s far past your ideal level of cooking. Because it takes longer to bring the steak to your desired internal temperature in the oven than on the stovetop, it’s easier to get it just right.
  • You don’t need to let reverse-seared steaks rest: When you sear a steak in the pan, the heat draws the juices of the meat to the surface. In the reverse-searing technique, the oven’s low heat doesn't draw the juices to the surface, so resting—which restributes juices—isn’t necessary.

  • Of course, there are a few disadvantages to this method for cooking a steak in the oven. It’s much more time-consuming than simply cooking a steak on the stovetop. And, as mentioned above, reverse searing a steak that’s less than 1½ inches thick will cook too quickly in the oven. But if you’ve got a gorgeous, thick steak waiting to be cooked, why not try the reverse sear?

    You’ll need:

    • A steak that’s 1½ to 2 inches thick
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • A rimmed baking sheet and a wire rack that fits inside
    • An instant-read thermometer
    • A heavy-duty skillet
    • Neutral oil

    Here’s how to reverse-sear your steak:

    1. Preheat your oven to 250ºF (120ºC). If you haven’t already, take the steak out of the refrigerator. Place it on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and season it all over with salt and pepper.
    2. Place the steak in the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 105°F (41°C) for rare, 115°F (46°C) for medium-rare, 125°F (52°C) for medium, or 135°F (57°C) for medium-well. Start checking around 20 minutes.
    3. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and once shimmering, add the steak and cook, turning once, until both sides are well browned. Use tongs to turn the steak to sear the edges. Serve immediately.

    Now that you’ve got a perfectly cooked steak, it’s time to break out knives worthy of the occasion, like HexClad’s Japanese Damascus steel steak knives.

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