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Cooking steak on stove top.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm cooking a steak on my gas stove top in a stainless steel pan (not that the pan matters). I think I'm getting better at it, and I'm taking the advice of BDL and am cooking the steak entirely on the stove top.

I don't recall - what temperature do I need when I stick the thermometer into the middle of the steak? (Sorry if I asked this question before).
post #2 of 17
it does stainless has a nice way of keeping the "fond" which makes for a GREAT pan sauce..

may want to preheat an oven to 425, and just sear on the stovetop.

depends, how do you like your steak? rare, mid-rare? dare I say....medium?

I wont even dare to say.....

remember that when you take it out and tent it, (with foil) it will raise about 5degrees. I like to take mine out at ~123 for a mid-rare.

take MY advice with a grain of salt, I'm still learning myself.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
I eat the steak medium-well. When I commented that the pan didn't matter, I meant in terms of what temperature I should get the meat to, not in terms of the quality of the cooking method. I like the ability of using the fond to make a sauce, and I'm leaning away from non-stick surfaces for potential health issues.
post #4 of 17

On the coasts we rate our temperatures a little differently than people in the middle. I don't know where you stand. The medium-well range is somewhere between 140 and 155. That said, I'd pull at 145, and let the residual heat take the center up to 150. That will leave a little bit of pink at the very center -- which is presumably how you like it.

It's a little risky telling a man how to eat his own steak, and I apologize in advance for seeming presumptuous. You might find that resting the steak a little longer allows you to eat it just slightly rarer (say medium), and enjoy a juicier, more tender piece of meat without any of the texture or "blood" issues that bother people who like their steaks cooked past medium-rare.

Just a thought,
post #5 of 17
Sear the outside, get the center to body temp, give me a knife and fork :lol: and I live in the midwest!
post #6 of 17


Most certainly the pan matters because you want consistent heat with no hot spots that stainless steel is known for. You need a more expensive stainless pan with either copper or aluminum sandwiched in between.

If you don't plan on making a pan sauce involving an acid then cast iron is optimal for pan searing.

You will find it difficult to get an accurate thermometer reading on a thinner steak so be careful- the touch test is best, and be careful of residual carry over of heat- I find that doing a 3 minutes sear on both sides and then leaving the steak in a warm place for about 15 minutes works great for a steak thats about 1 1/2" thick and medium rare.

I also like the sear and finish method- I actually seared an American Kobe chuck zabuton that was 3" thick and let it rest in 180' oven for 2 hours and got this beautiful medium rare, tender Kobe chuck steak. If you can control temps you will thrive in the world of meat! :chef:
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Right - actually my pan is one of those sandwiched pans, with some material that conducts heat better than the stainless steel - but I don't know exactly what is inside the sandwiched layers (the pan doesn't say).
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
So the only cooking I'm doing with the steak on the stove top is the seaing part? After that I just let it rest?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
In terms of assuring that harmful bacteria is killed (which I thought was 165 degree for chicken), is the corresponding temperature for steak different than for chicken?
post #10 of 17

safety of rare steak

The issues with chicken are not the same with beef. The interior muscle of a healthy steer is virtually free of harmful bacteria (that's why ground beef is a potential problem because of mixing the raw surface with the interior.) The searing on the surface should leave your solid muscle safe to eat regardless of temp. If you know the source of your beef then even eating it raw is less of a risk than you might think. :lips:
post #11 of 17
Depending on the thickness of the steak the 3 minute searing on both sides may suffice to cook and then rest in a warm place- if you like it cooked further then go longer- you'll need to experiment to get where you like it- I was just making the point that if the steak is too thin you will not be able to get an accurate thermometer read.:look:
post #12 of 17

You can count on your chicken having salmonella in varying degrees. Fresher stuff just a little bit, can be easily washed off and what's left killed by proper cooking. As I recall salmonella produces hydrogen sulfide which helps makes rotten chicken smell like rotten chicken. If it smells bad, it is bad. So when cooking chicken, and turkey or other poultry, for that matter, assume it is infected, clean accordingly. How many times have you used dirty chicken hands to work the sink faucet, turn the stove knobs, open the oven or fridge door ...

Beef, though, is a different story, for the most part. Treat mass produced, commercial ground beef with a wary eye, cook that crap to death. I'd trust it less than chicken. Grind/chop your own, if you can.

Fresh, whole cuts of beef, however, are a different story. Most of then can be eaten raw, if so desired, but your jaw would get pretty tired working on a pound or two of raw chuck cross rib roast. And you'd need a box of toothpicks. Some cuts like tenderloin and top block sirloin can be used for steak tartare and carpaccio, no problem. Most of the cuts from the chuck primal should be braised as a pot roast, but that's a different thread. No need to blow around a lot of hot air on that topic here. And for a smoked beef brisket, 165 is just getting started, possibly not even to the stall point yet, take that pup to 195 - 200. Again, a different topic.

Good steaks, in my opinion, would be ruined if taken to 165F. I like it on the rare side, around 125 or so. Depending on your preferences you may want to go 140, 145, maybe 150 for medium rare or medium.

As far as only searing on the stovetop, it depends on the thickness of the steak. Usually cuts under an inch thick can be adequately prepared using just a pan on a burner. Larger, thicker cuts benefit from pan searing and then finishing in a hot oven. Either way, show some patience and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes, maybe 10 while you finish preparing and plating the sides or the sauce if you're doing one. You can toss a bit of foil over the meat to help retain some heat, you want it to rest, not freeze to death. Don't wrap it tightly, that will have a detrimental effect on the nice, brown crust you should have gotten from the initial searing.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
So, as long as the outside surfaces of the steak is seared, there's no bacteria concern about the interior? And, for fat and connective tissue that is embedded in the meat - is that a concern?

post #14 of 17
I'm not an expert on meat, but I know that I've been eating beef rare for as long as I can remember and I've never been sick. Can't say as much when I've eaten steak well done though :eek:. Steak is truly and American artform. A good steakhouse WILL refuse to cook your steak past medium and with good reason.. I dont know how to describe it but I can't even call it a steak anymore.

About putting the steak in the oven - I keep it on the stove top unless it's thicker than 1 inch.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #15 of 17
The rule for handling which might pose a risk is "not between the forties." Food should be held below 40F and cooked to, and held above 140F to minimize bacterial infestation.

Bacteria ceases to be an issue after brief exposure to 140F. The poultry guides are more for texture and appearance (juices run clear), than safety. Chicken and turkey breast on the bone is well cooked at 155, and thigh at 165. Published guides (most of them) suggest higher temperatures because they don't trust you to be able to read a thermometer -- so they keep pushing the temperatures higher. Some guides recommend 170 or 175 for turkey breast and most "pop up thermometers trigger between 165 and 170. If you've ever eaten holiday turkey (and who hasn't), you know that's incredibly dry and overcooked.

The modern "gourmet" trend is to cook and eat chicken (other than whole roasted) even slightly less cooked than 155F (breast)/165F (thigh).

Chef JP is right that red meats, if not ground, do not require high internal temperatures for safety, as the overwhelming number of bacteria will be found on the surface only. Depending on the health of the animal before slaughter, the conditions under which it is slaughtered and packed, and how it is held and trimmed, it is safe to eat red meat with an internal temperature below 120F (very rare). Even raw, ground meat is safe if prepared correctly -- but even then should not be served to the "four verys" (very young, very old, very sick, and very susceptible otherwise).
Chicken and turkey are considered especially dangerous case because of the unsanitary conditions of commercial slaughtering outfits and the specific nature of slaughtering and packaging small animals. Custom raised and slaughtered poultry is much safer.

Considering your special circumstances, I wouldn't be serving beef tartare or chicken carpaccio to the family. But if the reason you've been eating steak so well cooked is for safety, you don't have to be that careful. Similarly you can drop your poultry temps by 10 degrees.

post #16 of 17
Another place where people following the published guides often go wrong is not realizing that the figures refer to finished temperatures. So, they are high, to begin with. And then the internal temps go even higher.

And the larger the piece of meat, the higher the final temperature will be. Thick meat continues cooking longer than thin meat.

If you cook to 165, for instance, and let it rest, it will likely be on the dry side because it has continued cooking and may reach as high as 180 or more by the time you serve it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #17 of 17
Not that I'm aware of in a healthy animal. Many of the problems are on the surface from the slaughter. When you don't know the origin of your ground beef then there is the possibility of exposure and abuse. Many do not know that with the e.coli problem at the fast food joints a number of years back there as a sever mishandling of product also. :eek:
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