3. A Sprinkle Will Do When it comes to seasoning, this is not the time to be shy. Perry explains that in addition to aiding in the formation of a gorgeous crust, it’s necessary for big, bold flavor. “You can’t season the inside of the steak,” she says. “So you’ve got to aggressively season the exterior.” This is not, however, a pass to get crazy with spice rubs and other “creative” seasonings. When you’ve got a good steak, you’re going to want to taste the steak, says assistant food editor Claire Saffitz. So go for coarse kosher salt and black pepper, and season with wild abandon: You should be able to actually see the salt and pepper.4. Fear the Smoke Don’t be afraid of a ripping hot (heavy-bottomed, cast iron) pan—Perry even allows for a little smoke. To make sure your fat doesn’t burn, sear in an oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable oil or grapeseed oil (you can always finish with a knob of butter in the last few minutes and baste the steak in it). Now, that said, don’t get crazy on us: for a thick steak, you’re going to want to turn down the heat a little; if you don’t, you’ll risk a gorgeous crust and a raw interior.
5. Cook by Touch Some chefs can tell when a steak is done just by feeling it. Great! For the rest of us, however, that’s a little trickier; it takes a ton of practice. Perry is a big proponent of the thermometer. “Just take the steak’s temperature,” she says. “And know for sure.” On that note, what happens if the steak’s got a gorgeous crust, but the temperature clocks in at 90 degrees? First off, don’t sweat it. Second, take it off the stovetop and pop it in an oven set to 400 degrees on a roasting rack set over a baking sheet. It’ll finish cooking without getting too dark.6. It’s Gonna Get Cold! You’ve heard it before, and we’re gonna say it again: Don’t slice into that steak right away. It absolutely needs time to rest, and let the juices redistribute. For thin cuts, 5 to 10 minutes will do; for larger, thicker steaks, plan for 10 to 15. Repeat after us: Your steak will not get cold.
7. Hack into It You’ve come so far! Don’t saw at your steak like a lumberjack with a dull blade. Perry explains: Make sure you cut perpendicular to the steak’s natural grain. It’ll slice easier, look prettier, and taste better. Win-win-win.
8. Leave It to the Pros Hey, we get it: There’s a lot of anxiety about cooking the perfect steak. And when you spend a fair amount of cash on a piece of meat, you want to treat it right. But a juicy, awesome steak isn’t just something for restaurant chefs—it’s something worth learning and having in your cooking repertoire. Says Perry: “Take a deep breath. Relax. It’s going to be fine.” (It’s also, we’re sure, going to be delicious).