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Steak with the texture of shoe leather – probably the most apt description of steak when I cook it, regardless of the cut of the meat. But not anymore! I looked up just how to do it – I tried it and for once, I had a successful cooking venture (well almost)! Of course, I also made a big mess doing it!

First, in order to determine the cooking time, the most important question: how do you like your steak done?

Black and Blue – black on the outside, icy cold raw center, feels slippery soft
Rare – Red, cool to warm center, soft and spongy
Medium Rare – Red, warm center, springy firmness
Medium – Hot pink centre, less springy firmness
Medium Well – slight colour, cooked throughout, feels firm
Well Done – No colour, feels firm and unyielding

I started with a thawed T-bone steak. Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, longer for a larger steak. A cold steak will contract in a hot pan, which causes the meat to get tougher. So that’s been my first mistake! Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

When it’s time to cook, heat a large skillet over high heat (I used a cast iron pan), pat the steak dry (I used a paper towel), and season with salt and pepper. Some guides recommend skipping the salt before cooking as salt can cause moisture in the steak to come to the surface. The result can be a “steamed” steak – yuck! Add oil (canola or olive oil) to the hot pan and when it begins to smoke, add the steak. At this point, Hubby took down our smoke detector; it goes off if you look at it funny, and I can’t reach it (unless I drag a chair through the house and climb up). Reduce the heat slightly and cook the steak until it is browned, about 2-6 minutes on each side. Use tongs to gently shift the steak to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Next, transfer the skillet to the oven. For a medium-rare steak, about 6-8 minutes. I prefer medium to medium-well, so we ended up leaving it much longer…probably closer to 12-15 minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and cut the steak from the bone before serving. It was so good – tender, juicy, mouth-watering…excuse me while I wipe my chin! I have strenuously avoided cooking steak for years, but if I can do this once, the chances are good that I can do it again, right?

Now another reference said to preheat the oven with the skillet inside to 500 degrees F. Place the dry steak in the skillet and sear on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side. Then return the skillet (with the steak) to the oven for 5-6 minutes. Once it’s cooked to satisfaction, remove the steak from the oven and skillet, and loosely wrap it in aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes. The steak will continue to cook inside the foil. Cut off the bone and enjoy! I think I’ll try it this way…next time. Now if I could just find an easier way to clean up the stovetop and oven!