To a lot of people, steak is a fancy meal, reserved for special occasions and ordered off of heavy, leather-bound menus. I come from a beef-centric family. For example, when I went home for Christmas, my mom had a roast in the crock-pot, a brisket in the oven, and hamburger meat laid out to thaw “just in case.” This was all happening even though I had told my parents that I wanted to cook steaks for them. My dad raises cattle, so, yeah … we tend to eat more than our fair share of red meat.
Here I am in action helping my dad work cattle. (Aka opening and closing gates.) And those are two of our newest farm hands, Buster Brown and Bootsie. Below is a newborn Beefmaster, Rio.
All that to say, steak is no rarity at our house. But steak on the grill could never compete with restaurant-style steak. That is, until my old friend Ina shared this recipe. Steak at home has never been the same. Or more delicious.
Cast Iron Skillet Steak
Adapted from Ina Garten
1 2-inch thick filet mignon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together salt and pepper on a small plate. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until hot, about 5 minutes.
• While the skillet heats, pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil evenly over steak. Roll in the salt & pepper mixture on all sides, pressing to coat.
• When the skillet is hot, sear the steak on all sides for 2 minutes per side, including edges, for 10 minutes. (Your smoke detector might go off intermittently. Do not panic. Just walk over to it and fan it with a dish towel like I do until the shrieking beeps stop.)
• Top with butter and place the skillet in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 125 degrees. (That may look like more than a tablespoon, but I’m pretty sure that’s just the camera playing tricks on you. I mean, the camera adds 10 pounds, right? Don’t make that poor pat of butter feel bad.)
• Remove the steak from the pan and cover with foil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
While this steak is as easy to pull off as it seems, I have to admit there is one hazard. This bad boy is going to smoke when you sear it. Like, a lot. I regret to inform you all that I do not have a hood or any sort of ventilation system outside of opening all my doors and turning on my ceiling fans. But even if you do have a vent, like my parents do, your kitchen may fill with smoke to the point you are coughing and need to stick your head outside. Especially if your skillet is not properly seasoned. My mom and dad were sure that I had ruined everything and that our steaks were going to be burned to a crisp. But you know what? They weren’t. And it was so worth it. See:
My dad actually said these words to me: “This is just like eating at Ruth’s Chris!” If you know my father, or any southern man, you know that is pretty much the Holy Grail of compliments. It’s like saying you walked on water. Of course, I was beyond flattered. And if you make this steak for someone, you will likely receive a compliment of equal or greater value.