How to cook the perfect steak

Biases prevail here. My husband is from Kansas City, Missouri, where beef is taken seriously and dry-aged, grain-fed beef delivers the best marbling. In fact, many folks drive out of their way to buy beef from McGonigle’s Market in Kansas City (see Sources at the bottom of the recipe). Since we only get to Kansas City once or twice a year, we have our steaks express-shipped to us. This may seem like an extravagant and expensive proposition, but in comparison to the “best” steaks we can buy in the Northwest, there is no competition. I laugh every time I open a box of the steaks, which includes the following directions: “You were sent a really good piece of meat. Your job is to not screw it up!” For me, two critical rules apply for the perfect steak: use only minimal seasonings so as not to mask the flavor of the beef, and never ruin a good steak with steak sauce!


Serves 2


2 (about 12 ounces each) rib-eye or strip steaks 1 inch thick
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before panfrying. Liberally season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.

Select a heavy-bottomed frying pan, preferably cast-iron, and large enough to cook the steaks without crowding the pan. Turn on the kitchen exhaust fan and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the butter and swirl the pan so the butter melts without browning. Immediately add the steaks. Do not try to move them for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes; a beautifully caramelized crust will form in that time.

Use tongs or a sturdy metal spatula to turn the steaks. (Never use a meat fork!). Cook on the other side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 120ºF for rare or 130º to 135ºF for medium-rare.

Remove the steaks from the pan to a warmed platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

McGonigle’s Market
1307 W 79th Street
Kansas City, MO 64114