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Cooking Simulator Ensures You'll Never Waste Perfectly Good Steak Again

Cooking Simulator Ensures You'll Never Waste Perfectly Good Steak Again

You can practice on mock steak to make sure when you finally do it in real life, it'll be perfect

If you've ever been too scared to waste money on a prime piece of steak or fish for fear of ruining it with a too-hot pan or too much heat, here's a new cooking toy for you.

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology developed a cooking simulator that shows you how food moves and browns as you cook it. Including a force feedback frying pan, a digitual spatula, and some 3-D images of steak and onions, the simulator lets you feel the weight of the food as you "cook" it. You can see how long it takes to cook it medium, medium-rare, or rare (or well-done, if that's your thing), all without wasting some money on actual meat.

It does look like the meat is harder to flip in this digital pan, but hey, practice makes perfect, right? As the researchers say in the video, they're working to develop the machine so it tells you how cooked a steak is in five or 10 minutes, which may make cooking new foods less intimidating. "We believe this could actively support people while they are cooking," he says. We're hoping there are also cheering sound effects as you plate your meal.

This Is the Only Method I'll Use to Make Steak At Home

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The kitchen is my happy place and I'm game for trying almost any new recipe. However, the one thing that's always stopped me in my tracks is steak. The few times I've tried to make steak on a grill pan or in a skillet on the stovetop, it's been a disaster. Until recently, I'd given up on thinking I'd be able to cook steak in my apartment successfully. Then, I learned about the reverse sear method and suddenly, the perfect steak became a possibility.

Chances are you've seen or tried the classic steakhouse method of cooking a steak: sear on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet and finish it in the oven. Sounds simple right? Not exactly. In a small apartment, this method sets off every fire alarm and it can be hard to keep from overcooking the steak. If you're lucky enough to have a grill, maybe that's your go-to. My issue there? No edges seared in butter. Seriously, once you have a steak seared in butter and aromatics you won't go back.

Which brings me to the reverse-sear method: Originally developed in the mid-2000s, one of the pioneers of the method is J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, James Beard award-winning author of The Food Lab. He developed it as a way to make the perfect steak indoors — and it's now the method everyone talks about.

His reverse sear method of a steak is essentially turning the steakhouse method on its head. Cook the steak on a low temperature in the oven first and then sear it in a hot pan on the stove after. Cooking the steak in a low-temperature oven ensures even cooking and a more tender steak. It also gives you more time to get the steak just how you like it. At a high temperature, your window to get a just-right medium-rare is short. With a lower temperature, you have more control.

You'll also get a great sear on the steak. When you cook the steak in the oven first, much of the surface moisture evaporates providing a drier exterior, which is how you get that perfectly browned exterior without overcooking the steak.

Now, if you're looking for a video walk-through of this tried-and-true method, Elena Besser's Reverse-Seared Rib-Eyes class on the Food Network Kitchen app is a great place to start. She'll walk you through cooking the steaks from start to finish with helpful tips along the way. For example, only season your steaks with salt because the pepper could burn during searing. And cook steaks on a wire rack and baking sheet in the oven to keep them from steaming — steam is the enemy of a good sear.

When you take this class, you'll also find instructions for a side of creamed spinach, so you can "bring the steakhouse to your house," as Elena says. And who doesn't want that?

Bruce Aidells

Bruce Aidells is an award-winning cookbook author, television host and owner of the national sausage brand, Aidells Sausage Company. He has written 12 cookbooks, including the IACP Julia Child award-winning Hot Links and Country Flavors, and James Beard Award nominees The Complete Meat Cookbook and Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork. He has appeared as an expert chef on television shows such as Today and Martha Stewart Living, and serves as host of his own show, Good Cookin’ with Bruce Aidells.

30 Best Steak Dinner Recipes That'll Hit the Spot

In the Drummond household, steak isn't just a recipe it's a lifestyle. "My beloved&rsquos grilled beef tenderloins are legendary," Ree says of Ladd's personal favorite recipe. "And he fixes them two or three times a year, whenever we have a gathering of friends or a special family occasion."

It should come as no surprise, then, that if you're looking for equally special steak dinner ideas (including Ladd's own recipe!), you've come to the right place. While steak can get pricey, it really is the ultimate treat for an out-of-the-ordinary celebration at home (say, a romantic Valentine's Day dinner or date night). It's the "treat beyond all treats," as Ree puts it. Then again, not all cuts are expensive: A flank steak, for instance, can be had for a much lower price tag, making it perfect for a Sunday night dinner with the family.

Luckily for you, the recipes here run the gamut&mdashso there's no need to decide whether you're in the mood to splurge just yet. Opt for a juicy filet topped with bacon and compound butter, pair your cut with mushrooms, crispy hash browns, or an herb-filled sauce, or stick to the basics with a quick marinade and an Instant Pot-approved side. It's all here for the taking. (Learn how to season steak too if it's your first time!)

First, you should allow your steaks to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling them. Getting them to room temperature ensures that you get a more even, thorough cook through this thick cut of beef. Then, preheat your grill to a high temperature – about 450-degrees – before grilling a filet mignon. This ensures that your steak gets a good sear before cooking internally and prevents overcooking. Preheating on a gas grill can take about 15 to 20 minutes, while your charcoal grill will be ready to roll when your coals ash over.

Add a little olive oil to your grill racks as your grill comes to temperature to prevent your filets from sticking. Right before you place your steaks on the grill, add your choice seasoning. Salt and pepper are good choices, but our Chicago Steak Seasoning can give your filets just the right flavor boost!

Put your filets on the grill over the most intense heat and close the lid. Keep them in place for the time mentioned above, according to your steaks’ thickness. When the time is up, open the grill lid and flip and turn the filets. Again, close the lid and cook for the recommended time to your desired doneness.

For a medium-rare cook – the goal for most filet eaters – you’ll want to stop cooking when the center reaches about 125 degrees. For a rare steak, remove from the grill when the center reaches 115 degrees. For medium, wait to remove them from the grill until about 135 degrees. You’ll then need to let the meat rest for another 5 to 10 minutes off the grill to allow its juices to flow back through every inch for a perfect steak cook and texture.

More Grilled Filet Mignon Tips

Now you know the best way to cook filet mignon on a grill. Still, we have a few more pointers that may be able to help you get the perfect cook every time:

  • Try to use filets that are at least two inches thick, which tend to do better on the grill.
  • If food tends to stick to your grill racks, remember to lightly oil the racks with olive oil before preheating the grill and cooking your steak. Always keep your grill clean, too, before uses by scrubbing its racks with a wire brush while it’s still warm.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer during the cooking process to monitor the internal temperature. You should stop cooking them when they reach about 125-degrees for a medium-rare cook.
  • Allow your filets to rest for 5 to 10 minutes under a foil tent off the grill. This allows the juices to work their way back through the meat to make it more tender.
  • If you plan to use a sauce or butter on your filets, you should do so as they rest.
  • For added flavor, feel free to make bacon wrapped filets or make marinated filet mignon with dry red wine both are just as perfect for grilling filet mignon as they are for baking it in the oven!
  • If you’re scared to overdo the cook of your filets on the grill, try the reverse sear method instead. First, cook your steaks on low heat until they reach about 90 to 100 degrees. Then, crank up the heat to high and allow the outside to sear on all sides until the brown, crisp crust forms. Check the internal temperature of each filet to ensure the inside is at the proper temp.

Whether you're a cooking pro or a curious novice, there's a little something for everyone in this gallery of basic but useful cooking tools. The best part? Each of our picks will set you back less than $15, and that's truly the least interesting thing about each item in this roundup. From multitaskers and hidden gems to humble workhorses, we're sharing a selection of great buys for your kitchen.

It doesn't really matter how much kitchen storage you have&mdashit still feels good knowing you're bringing home a tool that can have a couple of different uses. The Microplane is one of the most common examples of a multitasker. As the darling of many home cooks, its ability to zest, grate, and mince makes it a must-have tool. But did you know that the humble shelf liner can wear a few different hats? It can moonlight as a jar opener, or&mdashbetter yet&mdashas a grip pad for stabilizing a slippery cutting board.

It's also nice to have a few good kitchen tools that are both functional and appealing to look at. After all, if something is nice enough to be set out on the counter or table, you'll be more likely to see it and remember that it's there to help. We're recommending a ceramic pie bird that's so pretty, when it's not keeping your double-crust pies from overflowing, it can be set on your kitchen windowsill and act as a ring holder. And once you try out a butter keeper, you'll never want to spread dry toast with the cold stuff again. It's a good thing the stoneware item we recommend will look nice on any countertop.

There are also a few utensils that may seem superfluous at first look, but once you try them you may wonder what you ever did without them. A bench scraper can almost always be found nearby a professional cooks station and you'll quickly understand why: It's great for cleaning up a mess on the cutting board, transferring chopped veggies to the skillet, or for cutting biscuits or cookie dough into shapes.

From cooking everyday dinners to fancier affairs, these nifty tools can be your sous chef on a shoestring.

2. Sunbasket

Why It’s Worth It: The folks at Sunbasket prioritize high-quality ingredients above all else, and it shows. The produce is all organic, the meat is antibiotic-free with no added hormones, and the seafood is fresh-caught in the wild. On top of that, this service offers a variety of meal-plan options catering to special diets such as paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian. (You can opt to mix and match recipes from all of these different menus too!) All meals are nutritionist-approved. Fans of the program love how fresh everything tastes and note that the recipes are simple enough for weeknights (but never boring or run-of-the-mill).

Offerings range from classics like chicken milanese with charred lemon and braised chickpeas and carrots with quinoa and yogurt to experimental new combinations like farro risotto with zucchini, tomatoes, and soft-cooked eggs. And for the people who are really short on time, Sunbasket also offers pre-prepped meals (they come sliced and diced so all you have to do is toss them in a pan), or precooked options that you can reheat and serve.

Weekly deliveries arrive in packaging that’s 100% recyclable and compostable, which is another bonus. Choose between the classic plan—which serves two to four people and offers paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly, and more specialty meal-plan options—or the family plan, which serves four and offers kid-friendly meals as well as a vegetarian option.

Cost: $72 per week for three meals for two people $88 per week for two meals for four people. Other plans are available on the site.

Availability: Nationwide, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and parts of New Mexico

Customer Review: “The food, the customer service, and recipes are incredible. It’s made eating healthy easy. I know I will have three great meals every week. The quality of the food is great. The recipes are things I never would pick on my own but are so good. I’m also learning to be a better cook. The customer service has been great as well. I’ve needed to call a few times to modify orders, and they’ve been so responsive and pleasant.” —Valorie

How do I know when my steak is done?

Below gives you a good benchmark for each level of doneness (color, baking length, temperature). Cooking times may vary depending on your oven, so be sure to continue to check on your steak. You want to remove the meat 5° before it reaches the desired temp. Temperature will continue to rise while resting.

  • Rare: Sear outsides then bake about 4-6 minutes in oven until temperature is around 125°F and color is red.
  • Medium-Rare: Sear outsides then bake about 6-8 minutes in oven until temperature is 130°F and color is deep pink.
  • Medium: Sear outsides then bake about 8-10 minutes in oven until temperature is around 140°F and color is light pink.
  • Medium-Well: Sear outsides then bake about 10-12 minutes in oven until temperature is around 150°F and color is slightly pink center.
  • Well-Done: Sear outsides then bake about 12-14 minutes in oven until temperature is around 160°F+ and color is little or no pink.

Note: If you are a visual person, check out this cooking time chart that shows the doneness of each meat.

Using the wrong pan to cook steak

Steak is one of those ingredients that benefits from quick, high-heat cooking, which isn't a problem if you're cooking outside on the grill. When you bring the cooking inside, you need to consider which pans in your arsenal can handle the high heat. No matter what you do, don't reach for a nonstick pan when cooking steak. According to Good Housekeeping, overheating a Teflon-coated pan causes the coating to release toxic chemicals. Although you can't see it happening, the coating starts to break down at a molecular level, releasing potentially carcinogenic gasses into the environment.

Nonstick pans also can't go in the oven, which you might need to use to finish cooking thicker steaks. Much better to use a pan that's good at searing and can also be used in the oven, like stainless steel or cast iron. These pans can handle high heat temperatures — both on the stovetop and in the oven — and they hold heat well, ensuring an even sear.

What is it about beef? It can be so incredibly satisfying. Juicy. Meaty. Full of rich flavor. Sometimes, we just can’t get enough, and honestly one of our favorite ways to enjoy beef is in a big ‘ol slab. But there is no reason to spend a fortune at a restaurant when the team at can teach you how to grill a steak at home like the pros with a few key tips for grilling steak!

With a simple steak, you get a maximum amount of surface area that browns and takes on deep, smoky, savory flavors. Sure, beef roasts are amazing too, but you don’t get as much browned surface, so you get less flavor. Plus, a steak tends to be a single serving, and it just feels good to get your own self-contained plank of meaty goodness on the dinner plate. When you eat steak, you eat like a king.

Fortunately, cooking a great steak is one of the simplest things in the world. At home, follow our simple tips for grilling steak and in no time you’ll be hoisting a steak knife to dig in to one of the most gratifying meals you will ever cook.

Step 1: Buy great meat. Restaurant chefs have a saying: “Garbage in, garbage out.” That means if you buy less expensive, lower quality ingredients, no amount of seasoning or cooking is going to elevate them to the next level on the plate. It’s like trying to polish a turd. We can’t stress this enough when teaching you how to grill a steak, and that’s why it is step number one in the process: Buy the best meat you can afford. Prime graded steaks are among the best tasting because they have the highest amount of fat striated within the meat, known as intramuscular fat or marbling. Get to know your local butcher. Let him or her know you LOVE Prime beef steaks. Now and then, bring him or her a beer or another thank you. Treat your butcher well, and he or she will treat you well and maybe even set aside the best cuts of steak when Prime beef comes in the shop.

You can also buy excellent quality Prime beef steaks and Wagyu beef from online purveyors like Allen Bros. See our page of Artisan Meat Purveyors for more. Corn-feed beef tends to taste richer, sweeter, and more “beefy,” while grass-fed beef tends to have more nuanced flavors. Try both to find your favorite. The vast majority of steaks are briefly “wet aged” in cryovac packaging, but dry aged beef develops more complex, concentrated flavors. It also concentrates in price because it loses weight during the aging process. If you’re interested in learning more, have a look at our advice on How to Dry Age Steaks at Home.

When learning how to grill a steak, one of the first questions you should ask is “which cut should I buy?” We love ribeyes. Some prefer porterhouse. Others like strip steaks. And flank steaks certainly have their place. It’s a personal choice, and you should try a few different steak cuts to find your favorite. Bone-in or boneless? Bones have a nostalgic caveman appeal, but the fact is they inhibit heat transference and make it more difficult to cook a steak perfectly. Plus, the bones do not release some kind of magical flavor into the meat. That’s a myth and we bust it here. When following our tips for grilling steak, always look for a steak that’s at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick so there’s enough room for both a deeply browned crust and a perfectly cooked interior. To bone up on more steak buying basics, read our article on Buying Beef, Beef Grades, and Labels.

Step 2: Trim and tie. While this is another key step in learning how to grill a steak like a boss, it will probably be done by your butcher. But let’s say you’re the butcher, and you’re cutting some steaks from a Prime rib roast. Trim the surface fat to 1/8 to 1/4″ thickness. There’s no reason to leave a thick layer of fat on a steak, and there’s good reason to remove it. The fact is that surface fat does not penetrate the meat as it melts, somehow making the meat taste richer. This is another myth, and we bust that one here. Plus, when eating steak, most folks will cut off the gobs of surface fat and intramuscular fat (chunks of fat and gristle between the muscle groups), pushing them to the side of the plate.

And there goes the seasoning you lovingly rubbed or slathered all over the surface. Flavor that’s rubbed into the surface fat of a steak is wasted. That’s two good reasons to trim up the fatty parts of your steak before cooking, so both you and your guests get the most flavor on the plate. If you’ve removed so much fat, or so much bone, that your steaks are floppy and unwieldy, tie them up. A few inches of butcher’s string will make well-trimmed steaks easier to handle, tighten up air pockets, and help them cook more evenly. A nice, tidy steak looks much better on the plate.

Step 3: Pre-salt it. When learning how to grill a steak, one key to success is to hold off on other seasonings at first because they will burn during cooking. But you want to salt your steaks early. If you only have 30 minutes, fine. Salt the steak all over and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you have 2 hours, that’s even better. Got 24 hours? That’s better still and is properly called dry brining. Read more about dry brining here. Whether it’s for 30 minutes or 24 hours, pre-salting gives you a better tasting, juicier steak because salt penetrates the meat and helps it hold onto its juices. And that’s why it is one of our top tips for grilling a steak! Just sprinkle a generous amount of salt all over the steak, about 1/2 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt per pound of meat. What about marinating? Forget it. Marinating steaks is a useless technique because marinades don’t penetrate the meat much and you end up throwing away most of the flavor when you throw away the marinade. Here’s the science.

Step 4: Reverse sear it. When learning how to grill a steak, let’s answer this question first: “Do you want to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking?” No! Room temperature is about 70 degrees F, right in the food safety danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F. It’s fine to let a steak sit AT room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes but don’t bring it TO room temperature. This myth is busted too. As for the best cooking method, the “sear and move” technique used to be a standard technique, and it works fairly well, especially with thinner steaks less than 1 inch thick. With this method, you put the steak over or under some raging high heat to sear the outside and create a flavorful browned crust, then move it to lower heat to finish cooking it through to your desired doneness.

Cooking the exterior and interior of the steak differently makes sense, but the whole process works much better in reverse, especially for steaks more than 1 inch thick. Why? Meat cooks from the outside in, and with the “sear and move” technique, when you hit the steak with a ton of heat at the beginning, it creates a thicker band of overcooked, grey meat just under the surface before the interior is cooked to your preferred doneness. Flip the script for nice thick steak. Start the meat over low heat. Then at the end, blast it with the highest heat you can, flipping and rotating it like mad to create an evenly browned crust all over. For really thick steaks, sear the sides too, to get even more flavor.

With this reverse sear method, you get more perfectly cooked meat inside from edge to edge and only a thin band of grey meat just under your beautifully browned crust. For all the science and logic, dig deeper into the reverse sear method here. If you have a sous vide cooker, that makes reverse searing a thick steak a cinch: sous vide the steak to a temp that’s just under your ideal doneness (let’s say about 110 degrees F), then blast it with raging heat on a grill. We call that “sous vide que” and you can read more about it here. Of course, you could get your raging high heat from a cast-iron pan instead of a grill. You’ll get a nice browned crust. But you won’t get the awesome smell of woodsmoke from the grill.

Step 5: Flavor it. One of our key tips for grilling steaks is all about the seasoning. Maybe you like it simple, just salt and pepper. And if you’ve got a super-expensive piece of A5 Wagyu, then yes, that is all you need. But for less rich steaks, a little butter does wonders. Just melt some butter over your salted and peppered steak. For even more flavor, use a compound butter with some chopped herbs or spices mixed in. Got a killer steak rub? Scatter it on when the meat comes off the heat. Just make sure there’s no salt in the rub if you pre-salted the steak.

Another great option: a board sauce. Chop up some herbs or crush some spices and mix them with softened butter or olive oil right on your cutting board. When you put the hot steak on the board, the butter melts, the flavors open up, the meat juices mix with whatever you put on the board, and it all mingles together, amping up the taste of your steak when it’s served. Read more about board sauces here. Herb sauces lend nice, bright flavors to beef steaks, too, and Argentinian chimichurri is among the best (that’s it on the flank steak in the photo).

Step 6: Serve it hot. Should you rest your steak before serving? No! Hot steak tastes better and the juices retained from a brief rest are minimal. Did some juices spill out onto the cutting board? Don’t cry over them: just pour them over the steak to enjoy your boeuf “au jus.” Nothing will be lost.” This is another myth busted: read about the science here.

That’s it those are the tips for grilling steak like the pros do! These six basic steps work with any beef steak from ribeye to porterhouse to filet mignon. So fire up the grill and enjoy a steak today! For more details, check out some of our favorite steak recipes, seasonings, sauces, and other tips below.

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

Steak Tip Recipes

Ready to skewer some sirloin steak tips for grilling? Try this barbecue sauce-laced recipe, which features unique flavor notes from coffee and bourbon.

This sauce is easy to prepare and tastes so much better than anything you can get in a bottle. Simply combine garlic, onions, blackstrap molasses, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, brewed coffee, and bourbon in a saucepan. Let that mixture reduce by half, then stir in some tomato sauce for a velvety texture.

From there, you’ll marinate your steak tips quickly in the sauce, then grill them. Brush any remaining sauce on at the end for a truly luscious meal.

Do you want dinner on the table in under 20 minutes? Opt for this pan-seared steak tip recipe, which coats tender hunks of steak in a sweet and savory Korean barbecue sauce.

You’ll have to prep the easy sauce the night before for overnight marinating, but from there, this recipe comes together in minutes.

To make the sauce, combine maple syrup, Tamari, sesame oil, mirin, garlic, grated ginger, and chili paste in a saucepan. Simmer for eight minutes—that’s it!

Marinate your steak tips in half the sauce overnight, then sear them and coat with the remaining sauce. These pair wonderfully with stir-fried veggies and rice.

This flavorful steak tip recipe cooks up in 15 minutes thanks to the speedy pan-searing method. The sauce combines sweet orange juice and zest with herby rosemary and spicy jalapeno for a kick.

You’ll want to marinate the steak tips in the tenderizing sauce for at least five hours, or overnight. From there, of course, they’ll sear uber-fast. Serve these alongside a simple broccoli rabe side, flavored with lemon juice and garlic.

Finally, we offer a slow-braised method of preparing steak tips with this hearty soup.

While heavy vessels like Dutch ovens are the traditional route for braising meat, this recipe relies on the slow cooker, which makes things super easy and low-effort.

To make this soup, just dump sirloin steak tips, wild rice, beef stock, diced tomatoes, sliced carrots, sliced celery, green beans, diced onion, fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Let it go for eight hours on low, and enjoy warm, comforting soup!