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How to Cook a Steak

Throughout the year there are those special occasions that demand a nice juicy steak to celebrate, but when BBQ season rolls around it really becomes essential to know how to properly prepare and cook a steak.

Here, we've outlined our expert tips to make sure you get the perfect center every time - no matter if you like your steak rare, medium or well done. Before you get started prepping and cooking, the first part is to start with a prime cut of meat. Stock Yards has USDA prime and choice steaks ready to be delivered right to your door. 


Prep Your Steak

First, let your steak come to room temperature. The worst thing to do is to season and cook a cold piece of meat. Once it's tempered, preheat your barbecue or grill pan to medium high - you want the surface searing hot for when you're ready to cook the steak.

Next, pat your steak dry with a paper towel. Then, rub both sides of the steak with a drizzle of olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Don't use table salt and pepper for this - you want seasoning salt and fresh cracked pepper for real flavor.

While you can certainly season your steak however you'd like, don't overdo it with a really good piece of meat. The natural flavors of the steak should come through and only be enhanced by the salt and pepper.

How to Cook a Steak

When you're grill top is hot, place the steak down on it. You want to hear that sizzle - it means you'll have a good crusty outter layer, but a moist, buttery core. Flip the steak mid-way through the cooking process and let the other side sear.

Cook the steak on the barbecue until it's reached your desired temperature, then remove, drizzle the top with melted butter and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

How to Know When Your Steak is Done:

The time needed to cook a steak varies depending on the type of cut it is, how  thick it is, and how you like to eat it. Here are a few good tips to help you figure out when yours is perfect.

NEVER cut into a steak to see if it's done-you'll release all the juices that make it taste so good!

Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. An average medium rare steak will typically cook about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, so use this as a starting point. Below are the temperatures to look for when you pierce the steak with your thermometer.

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

Cook Time: If you're cooking a thinner cut of steak use these cook times.

For a 1-inch thick steak:

Rare - 1-1 1/2 minutes each side
Medium - 2-3 minutes each side
Well done - 3-4 minutes each side

For steak inch- to 1 inch-thick:

Rare - 2-3 minutes each side
Medium - 4-5 minutes each side
Well done - 5-6 minutes each side

Tongs Test: If all else fails, use your tongs to press down gently on the middle of your steak. If it feels:

Soft - your steak is rare.
Slightly firmer and springy - your steak is medium.
Very firm with no spring - your steak is well done.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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