February 24th, 2010

Steaks From a Tiny Urban Kitchen

I don’t live in the middle of a bustling city. I live in the ‘burbs. So the unique circumstances that occur when living in an apartment building with 200 neighbors is somewhat of an enigma to me.

The ‘burbs have other issues, believe me. But trying to cook what is sometimes a smoky meal must not be easy when you have upstairs and downstairs neighbors to think about.

Here, our bud Jen over at TinyUrbanKitchen.com gives us some keen insight into cooking a fantastically seared steak in your tiny urban kitchen — or, heck, even your tiny SUBurban kitchen!


Oven to Pan Seared Prime Ribeye Steaks


2-ribeye steaks (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 T vegetable oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 275 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Dry the steaks with a paper towel and cut the 16-oz steaks in half to make 2 8-oz steaks (still same thickness!). Generously sprinkle the steaks on both sides with sea salt and pepper. (Ideally the steaks would be at or close to room temperature)

Step 2: If the steaks are not even thicknesses, try to press down on the thicker steaks to bring all the steaks to a uniform thickness, if possible.

Step 3: Put the steaks on a wired rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Since I did not have a wired rack, I just cleaned one of my oven racks, placed the steaks directly on top, and put a rimme

Step 4: Bake the steaks at 275 degrees until they reach an internal temperature of 90-95 degrees (rare or medium rare) or 100-105 degrees (medium). It took my steaks about 14 minutes to reach 90 degrees (it started at around 50 degrees).

This slow baking at a low temperature allows enzymes in the meat (cathepsins) to break down connective fibers, making the meat super tender. It’s sort of like dry aging at turbo speeds in the oven. This enzyme only works at temperatures below 140 degrees, which is why hot broiling the steaks for a short amount of time does not cause this tenderizing effect. In our case, we have slowly baked and “aged” the steak in the oven under low heat for 15 minutes (or longer, if you like medium steaks!)

You can use an instant read thermometer. I used this cool thermometer which beeps at you when your desired temperature is reached. You stick the probe in the meat and then the unit sits outside. I picked up this Taylor one at Target for only $20 (the one at Williams-Sonoma was $50!). It worked like a charm.d cookie sheet right below the rack with the steaks to collect any drippings.

When you take the steaks out, they will look a little scary, but don’t worry! We will sear them and then they will be beautiful!

Step 5: Heat your cast-iron grill pan (or aluminum grill pan) to high heat with vegetable oil until the oil is smoking. Quickly put the steaks onto the grill. Cook for 1.5 – 2 minutes on one side (lifting the steak halfway to re-distribute the fat), and then flip and cook another 2 – 2.5 min on the other side. Warning, this is where there will be smoke. Open windows and vent as necessary!

Step 6: Let steaks rest on rack while you do the next step.

Step 7: Pick up two steaks, put them side by side with tongs, and sear all sides of the steak to lock in the juices!

Step 8: Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes loosely tented with foil (important! don’t eat them right away!)

Step 9: Serve!

Photo and recipe courtesy of TinyUrbanKitchen.com.