The Perfect Steak – Back to Basics

The number one question I get asked when people learn that I am a chef is always “How do you cook the perfect steak?!?”  Today I hope to answer that question in its entirety. There are several factors that go into making the best possible steak. First, and probably most importantly, the cut of meat you are using. This comes down to preference mostly, I prefer ribeye, but a lot of people think tenderloin is the best (or filet). I would be willing to bet most steak enthusiasts either prefer strip steak or ribeye over filet. After this recipe we will delve into the differences and why people like the cuts they like.

The Perfect Steak Ingredients Part 1: Grilling

(1) Ribeye Steak per Person (1 Inch Thick)

Salt to Taste

Pepper to Taste


Remove the ribeye from whatever packaging it came in and salt it generously. Place it on a wire rack and into your refrigerator for at least 12 hours, overnight is best. When it is time to cook, remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling.

Turn your grill on high heat for 5-10 minutes depending on the model you have. The steak will be dry on the outside so seasoning will not stick to it yet. Just before putting the steaks on the grill, turn the heat down to medium. This will allow us to sear on the very hot grates before the overall temperature of the grill comes down to where we want to cook at.  Sear the steak for 1:30 then turn 90° to achieve diamond patterned grill marks. You can also skip this step if you don’t care how the steak looks.

After another 1 minute and 30 seconds, flip the steak and season with pepper. I also like to add a small amount of salt here, but the meat will have some salt flavor from drying overnight. Cook for 1:30 on this side and then rotate 90° for those grill marks. After another 1:30, remove from the heat and allow to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes per lb. The steak should be close to a pound, so 5 minutes of rest should suffice.  Serve alongside your favorite sides and enjoy.

The Perfect Steak Ingredients Part 2: Searing

(1) Ribeye Steak (1 Inch Thick per Person)

(4) Cloves Garlic (Crushed)

(4) Sprigs Thyme

(2) Sprigs Rosemary

(1) Small Shallot (Quartered)

Salt to Taste

Pepper to Taste

4 Tbsp. Butter (per Steak)

Avocado Oil (or Another Neutral Oil with a High Smoke Point)


Remove the steaks from whatever packaging they came in and place them on a wire rack and salt them thoroughly on both sides. Allow to rest, uncovered in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours.  Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking and allow to come to room temperature.

Place a heavy bottomed sauté pan on medium high heat for several minutes. Add just enough of the neutral oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow oil to heat just until it is about to smoke. Place steak in pan and allow to sear for 3 minutes. It sometimes helps to shift the steak around to the other side of the pan to ensure a hot cooking surface.

After 3 minutes, turn the steak over, turn the heat down to medium, and add the butter to the pan. It should sizzle up and melt quickly. Once melted, add the thyme, garlic, shallot, and rosemary to the butter. Tilt the pan back towards you so the butter pools and you can fry the aromatics in the butter.

Once you start to smell the aromatics, place them on top of the steak and using a large spoon, baste the butter over the aromatics and onto the steak. Keep the pan tilted towards you, yet over the heat, and baste for 3-6 minutes depending how you like your steak cooked. Baste the steaks throughout the duration of cooking. Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a clean wire rack and allow them to rest for 4-5 minutes. Remove the aromatics from the steak and discard, serve, and enjoy.

Filet vs Ribeye vs Strip Steak

The comparison between these three could be its own post (and maybe it will be). Filet has always been seen as the crème de la crème when it comes to steak. However, diners are waking up to what the strip and ribeye bring to the table.

Filet, while it is far and away the most tender cut, lacks a bit in the flavor department. It has that subtle beef flavor because the animal rarely uses the muscle. Strip and ribeye on the other hand have a robust beef flavor.

The difference between these two is the amount of marbling.  Those who prefer a bit of fat to carry the flavor of beef, usually prefer a ribeye. Those who prefer a cleaner, more pronounced beef taste, prefer strip. All three will have a home in any steakhouse you visit, as they are all superb cuts of beef in their own right.

The overnight salt

We talked about this in our gameday chili post. Salting the meat overnight pulls a great deal of water out of the meat. Water, as we know, can only cook to 212° before turning to steam. Water, as we also know, doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own. So, we achieve two things by salting overnight.  First, we enhance the beef flavor of the steak. Secondly, we remove water allowing us to develop a nice crust when we sear or grill the steak. Not to mention the salt flavor we add.

Grilling & Sauteing

Cooking over a fire was literally the first method invented by humans. It wasn’t until much later that we added the metal grate to invent grilling itself, but the idea has remained the same. Nothing embodies summer like a grilled steak. However, if you ask me, you will not beat the flavor of the sauteed steak. During summer, I find myself torn between the nostalgia of a grilled steak and the superior flavor of a seared one. The addition of butter, shallot, garlic, and herbs really pushes the sauteed steak over the top. However, the robust smokey flavor of a grilled steak is hard to beat too.  You really can’t go wrong either way.


In the ongoing debate of Filet vs Ribeye vs Strip Steak, each cut offers unique qualities—filet for unparalleled tenderness, strip, and ribeye for robust flavor preferences. The overnight salt method enhances beef flavor and promotes a delectable, seared crust. Whether you opt for the nostalgic smokiness of a grilled steak or the elevated taste of a sautéed one with butter and herbs, all three cuts deliver a superb dining experience, catering to individual preferences in achieving the perfect steak.