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Dry cast iron to sear steak or oiled?

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    Dry cast iron to sear steak or oiled?

    Gonna SV some nice bone-in New Yorks tomorrow, and then sear them in the ol cast iron pan. The question is: season and oil the steaks, and put them in a dry pan, or season the steaks, oil the pan and put them in? There seems to be some debate as to how maximum awesomeness is achieved. Going for med rare of course so I feel like I'd probably SV to...125? or so? and then sear. Pan will be something like 500 degrees, or as hot as I can get the grill to go. I'm actually using the propane grill for this (gasp!),as it just seems silly to heat up a ton of charcoal for this tiny amount of time and IMHO the gasser gets plenty hot enough for searing purposes. I use it to season my cast iron and I've had it as high as 600 so I feel like that's plenty.

    Anyway let me know what your preference is as far as dry pan/oiled steak or oiled pan, or maybe it doesn't even matter...cheers!

    #2
    I'm not going to make any claims about the "right" or "wrong" way to do it, but I preheat a dry pan for 15-20 minutes, then just before the steaks go in the pan, I pour in 3-4 tablespoons of canola oil. Outside is a good place for this because it smokes like a tire fire. If I'm doing it inside, I always have the right size lid for the pan handy, because a ball of fire is not at all uncommon doing it this way. Again, can't tell you if this is the right or wrong way to do it, but it is how I do it, and I'm happy with the results I get.
    125 degrees is a good temp for the water bath if you are looking to finish around 135 degrees after searing.

    Comment


      #3
      I rarely sear in CI these days (I prefer the Searzall torch). If I do choose CI, I’ll use a bit of high-smoke point oil ... and if I’m smart (it happens) I’ll do it outside on the gasser’s side burner in order to avoid the awkward Dance of the Screaming Smoke Alarms.

      Comment


      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        Avocado oil

      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Avocado is my new favorite oil due to the high smoke point...

      • Attjack
        Attjack commented
        Editing a comment
        Avocado 🥑 oil is what I use as well for most things. But you can sear with or without it.
        Last edited by Attjack; August 6, 2020, 12:29 PM.

      #4
      I use a dry CI, however, I put a thin schmear of full fat mayo on both sides of the steak prior to dropping it in the pan.

      Comment


        #5
        Personally, I like to use a little butter and oil in the pan. Heat it to smoking and the temp. you want, then throw on the steak. Unless it’s a ribeye, I’ll marinate my steak first in a little Good Season’s Italian Dressing. Then nothing but Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

        Comment


        • smokin fool
          smokin fool commented
          Editing a comment
          +1 on the Italian dressing as a marinade

        #6
        I use a hot cast iron pan with oil but I have found that the pepper on the outside burns so I just use salt now. I also have beef love/fat that I will use instead of regular oil.

        Comment


        • barelfly
          barelfly commented
          Editing a comment
          There you go! beef love for the win!

        #7
        Ideal pan temperature is ~650F, well above the oil smoke point. However, you need oil to get the nooks in the surface, so oil on the meat is needed. Since the oil is in thermal contact with the meat, it lasts a bit longer.

        I have never been able to do this inside without setting off smoke detectors and making a mess so always outside.

        Comment


        • Bkhuna
          Bkhuna commented
          Editing a comment
          Forget about smoke point, that's way past the fire point.

        • zzdocxx
          zzdocxx commented
          Editing a comment
          Where does the number 650 come from?

        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          Assuming you’ve already cooked the center close to where you want it (reverse sear front half) or exactly where you want it (sous-vide). You want maximum heat to build a crust quickly without affecting the center much. 500F is too low and 700+ chars too quickly. Sustained at 750+ will burn the seasoning off your cast iron

          If you are direct cooking from raw then less heat works fine.

        #8
        Well, shoot, I just did a couple yesterday. No pics, didn’t have time. But I have some somewhere. I seared em on my IR side burner on the Napoleon. Then into the Skillet they went with a healthy portion of duck fat, I mean healthy. S & P prior, but in the CI skillet I continue bathing them via a spoon whilst I’m cookin. Flipping em every one to two minutes. I’ve used butter in the past, but duck fat takes it to another level.

        Comment


        • BFlynn
          BFlynn commented
          Editing a comment
          No pics? Don't believe those steaks were real.

        • barelfly
          barelfly commented
          Editing a comment
          Isn’t all duck fat healthy????

        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m of the mind now, that I have enough on my plate without worryin about pics. So’s I don’t give a rip! It’s what I thought whilst I was cookin em yesterday.

        #9
        I generally just sear on a dry surface and it comes out pretty well. But when I DO add oil to the CI pan, it comes out a little better.

        The only "wrong" way to sear a steak, is to sear it, and not post pics.

        Comment


          #10
          I've actually had good results basting the steak with oil and then searing on CI heated dry. The oil only on the steak itself.

          Comment


            #11
            Beef love is my preferred choice for a CI sear. But I will melt the beef love and then brush it all over the steak, nooks and crannies, as others said above. And I use a little oil or ghee in the pan.

            And, the other key is contact, so I will press those suckers down for a bit trying to achieve maximum awesomeness!

            Comment


              #12
              If I asm just going for a sear........I will put the steak on the pan naked, no seasoning. They will burn to the surface of the pan or on the meat. I don't add any oil either, if I am searing only.

              Usually, there is enough fat in the steak that will render down as you are doing your high heat sear. I like to press it down with a press as well to makes sure I get good contact.

              After searing, then I will add seasonings and what not and let them blend in as the steaks rests on the cutting board.

              Comment


                #13
                I am of the oil on the steak dry pan school of thought. And definitely agree about adding pepper after the fact because it def burns on a nice hot sear.

                But also agree there probably isnt a "right" way to do it. Whatever works best for you.

                Comment


                  #14
                  Thanks for the insight everyone, hopefully I'll remember pics. I use avocado oil for almost everything so hopefully I can keep the smoke level down as much as is reasonable...but yeah, definitely doing it outside. Gonna try the oil-on-steak-dry-pan method this time around and maybe try oil-in-pan next time and see what works best.

                  Cheers!

                  Comment


                    #15
                    Once your done searing the steaks in the CI remove it from the high heat and deglaze with white wine or chicken stock, add some mushrooms then a little cream and finally 2-3 pats of butter to finish it. Makes one great cream sauce for those steaks.

                    Comment

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