101 Best Wineries in America 2016


The sheer quantity and variety of good and great wine being made in this country has grown exponentially in recent decades. Wine is now produced in all 50 states, even Hawaii and Alaska (though admittedly the latter state's offerings are mostly made from fruits and berries, plus grape juice imported from more temperate climes), and there are bottles worth savoring from almost every source. Narrowing this enological wealth down to a mere 101 wineries nationwide, then, is a daunting task.

101 Best Wineries in America (Slideshow)

To help us meet the challenge, we reached out to about 50 experts in the field, from around the country — sommeliers, wine writers and bloggers (including our own contributors), chefs and restaurateurs, and, of course, the wine-savvy editors at The Daily Meal — asking them to nominate their favorite wineries (as many as 10 per person) and to tell us what they liked about them. Some of our respondents asked to remain anonymous, but we are happy to be able to acknowledge the assistance, in devising and ranking our list, of our regular wine writers Roger Morris, Andrew Chalk, Gabe Sasso, Anne Montgomery, and John Tilson (of The Underground Wineletter); "Food and Wine Diva" Summer Whitford, who covers many subjects for us; chef-restaurateurs Alice Waters and Norman van Aken (both members of The Daily Meal Council); sommeliers David Sawyer of Husk in Charleston, Dan Davis of Commanders Palace in New Orleans, and Eduardo Bolaños of the Terroni Group restaurants in Los Angeles; Daniel Johannes, corporate wine director for Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group; wine writers and bloggers Elizabeth Schneider, Keith Beavers, and Pamela Pajuelo; grocer extraordinaire and highly respected wine expert Darrell Corti (also a member of The Daily Meal Council); and Renée B. Allen, director of the Wine Institute of New England.

We ended up with a list of slightly more than 200 wineries, old and new, large and small, a number of them nominated numerous times. We collated the results, then factored in our own tasting notes of recent vintages, consulted the leading wine publications and newsletters, and considered recent awards from prestigious competitions.

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We considered not just individual wines, though, but the overall place of each winery in the American wine scene. Is it a dependable veteran, tried and true? An audacious innovator? Does it specialize in just one or two grape varieties, or do a sterling job with 20? Is it representative of its corner of the wine country? Does it help, in one way or another, enhance the reputation of its region, and/or of American wine in general?

Though it wasn't our main criterion, we also factored in quality-to-price ratio — in other words, value. Value doesn't necessarily mean low price, of course, so there are some producers of very pricey wines represented here. But our consideration of value accounts in part for the absence from our list of some of famous "trophy wines" from the Napa Valley and elsewhere, wines priced at many hundreds of dollars on release and bought more often (we're pretty sure) as status symbols rather than as delicious things to savor — though it is also worth noting that, for whatever reasons, our panel didn't vote for some of the most famous names at all.

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In the nomination process, we asked our panel to consider not just the obvious places — California, the Pacific Northwest, New York State — but the entire country. The majority of our choices, 65 of the wineries listed, did turn out to be Californian; as noted, plenty of other places are doing a good job with wine, but the Golden State is still by far the largest producing state and still boasts the largest number of great wineries. The Pacific Northwest (Idaho included) is well-represented, too — but you'll also find wineries from New York (both the Finger Lakes and Long Island), Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut among our top 101.

Among our "bests" are old-line producers that helped pioneer the mid-twentieth-century California wine revolution (Heitz Cellar, No. 6; Mount Eden Vineyards, No. 48); new small producers of great promise (Evening Land Vineyards, No. 39; Andis Wines, No. 72); top Pacific Northwestern standard-setters (Quilceda Creek, No. 5; The Eyrie Vineyards, No. 70); the best of New York State and Virginia (Red Newt Cellars, No. 42; Michael Shaps Wineworks, No. 66); and, certainly, some wineries you might not have heard of, from places that might not immediately come to mind as wine producers (New Mexico's Gruet, No. 62; Colorado's Allis Ranch Winery, No. 92).

Those who compare this year's ranking with last year's might notice that some 17 of our 2015 "bests" are no longer represented. That doesn't indicate any slippage of quality on their part; many of them received votes again this year, but the numbers just computed a little differently this time around, leaving room for some new entries. The same is true of producers who fell down the list; this doesn't mean that their wines are not as good as they were last year, only that a slightly different panel cast their votes in a slightly different way.

We're proud of the following list, and grateful to the experts who helped us compile it. We’re also excited to hear your feedback: Did your favorite American winery make the cut? Let us know which winery on our list is your favorite — or if we missed one that you love — by tweeting us @TheDailyMeal using the hashtag #101BestWineries. For the complete list, go to page two.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


Steaks 101

Few foods are as enticing as a perfectly cooked steak. In this guide we include our all-time favorite steak recipes, as well as the cooking techniques you’ll need to know to make steaks the right way, every time.

Making a Perfect Grilled Steak

1. TRIM STEAKS

To keep flare-ups to a minimum, use a sharp knife to trim any hard, white fat from the perimeter of the steaks. Leave no more than 1/8 inch of fat.

2. PAT DRY

Pat both sides of the steaks dry with paper towels—the first step to a beautiful crust, which is the hallmark of a perfect grilled steak.

3. SALT AND RUB

Next, rub the steaks on both sides with a mixture of equal parts salt and moisture-absorbing cornstarch. The salt both seasons the steak and draws moisture to the surface.

4. STASH IN FREEZER

Freeze the steaks, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The moisture drawn out by the salt evaporates in the dry environment of the freezer. Drier surface = better crust = better steak.

5. HEAT GRILL GRATE

Preheat the grill to keep the steaks from sticking. For gas, turn all the burners to high, then cover. For charcoal, place the grate over the hot coals and heat, cover, for five minutes.

6. CLEAN GRILL GRATE

Before you start cooking, use a grill brush to scrape off any stuck-on food from the grill. Grilling on a grate encrusted with the remnants of last night's dinner is like cooking in a dirty pan.

7. OIL GRILL GRATE

Oiling the grill grate also prevents the steaks from sticking. Dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil, grab the wad with grill tongs, and then brush the grate.

8. START ON HOT SIDE

Sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, undisturbed, for two to three minutes. If you're grilling a porterhouse or T-bone, place the tenderloin side nearer the cool side of the grill.

9. FLIP AFTER BROWNING

Don't move the steaks before the crust has formed. Give the steaks a wiggle: If they don't release easily, leave them alone until the do. Brown the second side for another two or three minutes.

10. MOVE TO COOL SIDE

Once the steaks are well browned on both sides, slide them to the cool side of the grill and continue cooking until they reach your preferred degree of doneness.

11. CHECK DONENESS

Insert an instant-read-thermometer into the side of the steaks. Take them off the grill at 120 degrees for rare, 125 for medium-rare, and 135 for medium.

12. GIVE IT A REST

Put the steaks on a plate, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for five minutes to let the flavorful juices redistribute if you slice the steaks right away, some juices will run out.

Making a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

This simple pan-searing technique produces perfect steaks—everytime.

PAT DRY

Browning steaks develops flavor and is a crucial step, and dry steaks brown better than wet steaks. Blot the steak dry with paper towels just before putting it on the skillet. And season the steak right before cooking. That way the salt can flavor the food without drawing out moisture, which would inhibit browning.

HEAT OIL & BROWN STEAKS

Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into your skillet and heat the pan over medium high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Don’t use olive oil, as it has a lower smoke point and will start to burn before your pan is hot enough to cook your steaks.

Brown the steaks on the first side for about four minutes or so. Don’t move the steaks until they have chance for the crust to form. You’ll know a crust has formed because the steak will lift off the pan with little to no resistance. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

TRANSFER TO PLATE

Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks rest, the proteins within it will relax and do a better job of holding onto the steak’s precious juices.

Common Steak Pitfalls

Few things are more frustrating than anticipating a nicely browned, juicy steak only to find yourself gnawing at a dried-out, pale, or flavorless one.

WET AND PALE

Dry it! Steak that is put on the grill when its exterior is wet never will develop color.

CRUSTY BUT RAW

Steaks need to finish over gentle heat to cook through properly. Cooked over high heat from start to finish, the steak will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.

BURNT AND DRY

To take the adventure out of grilling, use an instant-read thermometer to check the steak's temperature. Or else you might end up with steak like this.

When is Your Steak Done?

What’s the best way to check a steak for doneness?

Judging whether red meat is done is not an exact science, even with an instant-read thermometer. That’s because as meat rests, the temperature continues to climb. Hold the steak with tongs and insert the thermometer through the side of the meat. Use the temperatures below to know when to take your steak off the grill. Let the cooked steaks rest on a platter—covered loosely with foil to keep them warm—for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly.

Pull the Steak: 120 degrees

Serving Temperature: 125 degrees

Pull the Steak: 125 degrees

Serving Temperature: 130 degrees

Pull the Steak: 135 degrees

Serving Temperature: 140 degrees

Making a Perfect Pan Sauce

A pan sauce—made with just a handful of ingredients and in a matter of minutes—can look and taste nearly as rich as a classic, labor-intensive French sauce. The base of a pan sauce is the fond, or browned bits, clinging to the bottom of the skillet after sautéing or searing meat, poultry, or fish. Once the food is removed from the skillet, aromatics such as minced shallots can be sautéed then, in a process called deglazing, liquid—usually wine, homemade stock (or canned broth), or broth—is added and the fond is scraped up. The liquid is simmered and reduced to concentrate flavors, thickened and, in a final (sometimes optional) step, the reduction is enriched and slightly thickened by whisking in butter.


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