Ask any meat lover how to cook a perfect steak, and you are likely to get many different answers. We’ve cooked plenty of amazing steaks over the years, and we’ve found one cut and technique has resulted in a consistent, delicious final product.First, we need to let you in on what’s often referred to as one of the butcher’s favorite cuts: the bavette steak. Although this cut of meat is not as well known as ribeye, strip or tenderloin, the bavette, or the sirloin flap steak, has a distinctive grain, interesting texture and plenty of flavor.
For this recipe, we recommend using center-cut Bavette steak. We will be searing the steak with a heavy bottomed cast iron pan and finishing it for a few minutes in a 375 degree oven. The reason for this is that the Bavette steak, because of its unique grain, thickens quite a bit during cooking–almost double! Therefore, the even heat in the oven will bring us to the right internal temperature without burning the steak over the direct heat.
Before we jump in, a quick note about searing a steak in your kitchen. Your pan needs to be hot. Not just hot, but real hot. There is a balance, depending on the size of the pan relative to the size of the steak (the more room the steak takes up in the pan, the higher you need to maintain the heat). If you’re doing it right, this is going to create smoke. It’s just unavoidable, which is why grilling outdoors has its benefits.
If you’ve got good hood ventilation over your stove top, great. Crank it up and keep it on. If not, try to create a cross breeze in your kitchen by opening a window and door. Otherwise, you are likely to get really nervous as your kitchen fills up with smoke. It’s even more important to pay attention to this if you’ve got a sensitive smoke alarm. I’m not suggesting that you disable it, but I would be lying if I told you I’ve never set off a smoke alarm by cooking a steak in a hot pan.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
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Step 1: Heat up your pan and oven. Get your cast iron pan heating over medium high heat. This process can take up to five minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Have salt, pepper, and tongs nearby for seasoning and flipping. How much oil to use in the pan depends on the steak. If the meat you select is heavily marbled or has a generous fat covering, only a small amount of oil may be necessary. The bavette steak does have some fat, but it tends to be on the leaner side. For that reason, you can usually use about a tablespoon of oil or fat.
Step 2: Dry and season your steak. Pat your steak dry on all sides with paper towels to make sure the surface is as dry as possible. Once your cast iron is smoking hot, season your steak very liberally on one side with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan, give it a swirl for even distribution and place the steak seasoned side down into the center of your pan. Lay the steak down gently away from you to avoid splattering any hot oil in your direction.
Step 3: Cook for five minutes on the first side. Let the steak cook and enjoy the sound of that smoky sizzle. Allow the steak to cook for about five minutes on the first side. You will notice this cut begins to thicken in the pan quite a bit as it cooks. At around four and a half minutes, season the exposed side of the meat with salt and pepper so that both sides have seasoning. Gently flip the steak to the other side, keeping it in the middle of the pan but rotating it 45 degrees, so part of it hits a new surface.
Step 4: Sear your meat. Allow the steak to sear in the pan about two minutes. Once the time has elapsed, carefully transfer the pan to the 375 degree oven, using an oven mitt since your pan will be hot. Since the residual heat from the pan will continue to sear the meat, you’ll only need to keep the steak on this side for about five minutes. With a little practice, you can learn how to test the doneness of your meat by touch. To get your steak to a medium rare finish, we advise cooking your steak until the meat is still somewhat soft but has enough firmness to bounce back when touched. This particular cut of steak can turn out a bit more rare than you might expect, so you may want to let it go just slightly past when you think it’s finished to decide it’s done.
Step 5: Let it rest. After about eight minutes in the oven, remove the pan from the oven with an oven mitt, since the pan will be extremely hot. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest on a plate or tray with sides. The amount of time you will let your steak rest will depend on how thick it is but 10 minutes is usually adequate. It is best to rest the steak on a plate or tray that will make it easy to collect any leftover meat juices. These juices make the best steak sauce and don’t take away from the flavor of the meat. A pat of butter on top of the steak as it rests can add some richness.
Step 6: Cut your steak. Identify the direction of the grain and use a sharp knife to cut the steak into quarter-inch slices (or your desired thickness). Slicing against the grain makes all the difference. To help in this process, you can first cut the steak in half with the grain, separating the steak into two pieces. Then cut each piece into slices against the grain. Once sliced, pour any remaining juices over the steak and enjoy with your favorite vegetables and a glass of red wine!
Now, all you have to do is enjoy a delicious steak. A juicy, tender, well seasoned, peppery crusted bavette steak that you cooked yourself could easily pass for a meal you could have paid three times as much to eat at a restaurant. This cooking method can be repeated on any steak, though the extra step in the oven may not be necessary depending on the cut of meat and thickness of the steak you select. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try different cuts that you may not be familiar with. Using this primer and technique, you now know how to cook the perfect steak!