Perfect Steak

I was so excited to taste my ribeye, I forgot to take the most important photo: the perfectly medium rare inside. I will try to remedy this next time I cook steak, but I make no promises.

Steak is a big deal in my family. I’m pretty sure my dad would have disowned me if I had ever requested a well-done steak. My brother brought steak sauce into my house recently and I took it as an insult. I absolutely LOVE the precision of cooking a steak medium rare from edge to edge and serving it with confidence.

I’ve been practicing this on for a while. I learned a lot from The Food Lab’s Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak and the beautiful book Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals.


  • Ribeye or New York strip steaks cut to
    1 ½ to 2 inches thick
  • High-smoke point oil like avocado or olive
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Generously salt and pepper the steaks. Use a vacuum sealer or water displacement to seal each steak in a bag.
  2. Heat water bath to 131℉ for a medium rare steak. Place steaks in the water bath and cook for an hour at minimum, four hours maximum. (see the Serious Eats Temperature & Timing chart for other levels of doneness)
  3. Remove the steaks from the water and the bag, pat dry with paper towels, and rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat a heavy iron skillet on high heat. Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. When oil starts to shimmer, place steaks in the pan. Sear for 30 to 60 seconds on each side (flipping with tongs).
  6. If the steaks have their fat caps, use the tongs to hold them together upright with the fat pressed into the skillet. Render the fat for 1 to 2 minutes. Place the steaks back in the skillet.
  7. Add the butter and then the garlic to one side of the skillet. When the butter stops foaming, tilt the skillet, collect the butter in a spoon, and baste the steaks. Flip and repeat.
  8. Being sure not to let the meat stay on one side for longer than 1 minute at a time, bring the outside to a deep, rich brown. Transfer to a platter and wait for at least 2 minutes to cut.

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