When it comes to cooking a perfect New York strip steak, achieving the right balance of tenderness and a mouthwatering sear is an art form. While various methods exist, Chef Michael Lomonaco of New York's Porter House restaurant says one standout approach consistently delivers exceptional results.
"An outdoor, charcoal or [wood-fired] grill is my first choice for cooking most cuts of steak," Lomonaco explains in an exclusive interview with Tasting Table. "However, an outdoor grill is not always available so let's settle for my next choice: in a cast iron skillet on the [stovetop]. Cast iron skillets are a great cooking method. They retain heat, provide a good sturdy cooking surface, and add a pleasant char to the steak."
Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat until it's smoking hot, then generously season your strip steak with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the skillet and let it sizzle, resisting the temptation to flip too soon. The high heat caramelizes the surface, enhancing the Maillard reaction, which is crucial for developing complex flavors and aromas. The result is a steak that boasts a beautifully seared exterior while maintaining a juicy and succulent interior.
The cast iron skillet's consistency in heat distribution guarantees that each New York strip steak you cook using this method will be a masterpiece of flavor and texture. Whether you prefer your steak rare, medium-rare, or cooked through the hot cast iron skillet adapts seamlessly, making it the go-to method for steak enthusiasts.
A Screaming Hot Skillet Is Best
For those aiming for an extra level of precision and even heat distribution, consider taking your cast iron skillet to the next level by heating it in the oven. This method ensures that the skillet reaches an even temperature throughout, eliminating any potential hot or cool spots that could affect the steak's consistency.
Preheat your oven to a high temperature, around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cast iron skillet inside and let it heat for at least 20 minutes. Once the skillet is blisteringly hot, carefully transfer it to the stovetop over high heat and follow the same searing process described earlier.
With cast iron cooking as his top choice, we asked Lomonaco if there was a method of cooking strip steak that he didn't recommend. "I would also point out that your oven broiler, while intended for just this type of cooking, is not a good choice, so steer clear of it for [a] steak cooking medium," the chef cautions. "Broilers are tough to regulate the heat, you can't see and watch the steak while it's cooking and it's just too unpredictable in results."
This is a bit of a surprise coming from a steakhouse chef as such restaurants typically use high-heat broilers to blast steaks. But the distinction lies in the difference between restaurant and home cooking equipment. Restaurant broilers generate extreme heat, allowing for monitoring and better control. Home broilers that are a component of the oven just don't come close to what the pros use.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.