Salt-Fried Cast Iron Steak is the Bomb! No oil is needed to sauté these steaks—the juices from the meat mix with the salt to form a delicious crusty coating that prevents them from sticking to the pan.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you need to get one. A cast iron skillet is a beautiful thing, and you’ll find yourself using it to brown meat for stews, fried chicken, and whatever else you can think of.
First things first, always take your meat out of the fridge about a half an hour before cooking. Then the rules are simple, buy great piece of meat, dry it well (to maximize crust), then salt and sear them in an insanely hot, preferably cast-iron pan. The recipe here is a radical departure from the conventional wisdom on steak, which commands you to salt the meat beforehand, put it on the heat and then leave it alone. Instead, you should salt the pan (not the meat) and flip the steak early and often. This combination of meat, salt, heat and cast-iron produces super-crusty and juicy steak — no grilling, rubbing, or aging required.
Pre heat your oven to 350…
Open the window, and crank up the vent while it’s searing on top of the stove and be ready for billowing clouds of smoke…it’s the price you pay for a great steak.
The time in the oven will really depend on the thickness of the steaks used. Good inch and a half steaks will be at medium rare in about 10 minutes. Have your instant read meat thermometer at the ready and check the interior temperature early and often.
When the meat is cooked to your liking, let it rest covered for about 10 more minutes. This step is very important, and too often overlooked. The meat juices will run to the hotter exterior during the cooking, and if you cut into it before these juices have had a chance to redistribute back throughout the meat, they will all run out, very sadly, onto the plate; and your beautiful steak will never be what it could have been.
You can thank me now for this recipe!
Ali in the Valley
Salt-Fried Cast Iron Steak
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Author: Alison Ball
Coarse salt such as kosher salt or Maldon sea salt
1 or 2 boneless beef steaks 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds total), such as strip, rib-eye, flat iron,
chuck-eye hanger or skirt (preferably “outside” skirt)
Black pepper optional
Remove packaging and pat meat dry with paper towels. Line a plate with paper towels, place meat on top and set aside to dry further and come to cool room temperature (30 to 60 minutes, depending on the weather). Turn occasionally; replace paper towels as needed.
Place a heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, on the stove and sprinkle lightly but evenly with about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn heat to high under pan. Pat both sides of steak dry again.
When pan is smoking hot, 5 to 8 minutes, pat steak dry again and place in pan. (If using two steaks, cook in two batches.)
Let steak sizzle for 1 minute, then use tongs to flip it over, moving raw side of steak around in pan so both sides are salted. Press down gently to ensure even contact between steak and pan. Keep cooking over very high heat, flipping steak every 30 seconds. After it’s been turned a few times, sprinkle in two pinches salt. If using pepper, add it now.
When steak has contracted in size and developed a dark-brown crust, about 4 minutes total, check for doneness. To the touch, meat should feel softly springy but not squishy. If using an instant-read thermometer, insert into side of steak. For medium-rare meat, 120 to 125 degrees is ideal: Steak will continue cooking after being removed from heat.
Remove steak to a cutting board and tent lightly with foil. Let rest 5 minutes.
Serve in pieces or thickly slice on the diagonal, cutting away from your body and with the top edge of the knife leaning toward your body. If cooking skirt or hanger steak, make sure to slice across the grain of the meat.