Cast Iron or Grill? Best Cooking Methods for Steak

There’s no right or wrong way to cook your steak — but there are lots of strong opinions out there. Online debates over medium rare vs. medium well tend to bring people out of the woodwork to add their two cents. And we love to see how passionate people are about a well-cooked steak!

We aren’t here to settle any debates, but we do know a thing or two about how to cook a steak. When you have high quality steaks from Prime House Direct, they’re going to taste great no matter what. Here are a few of our favorite ways to cook up juicy steaks to rival your favorite steakhouse. 

On the Grill 

It’s a favorite for a reason. Grilling your steak provides deep, smokey flavor, beautiful char marks, and one of the most enjoyable cooking experiences. On a warm summer evening, there’s nothing better than grilling out in the backyard with a cold drink in your hand. 

It’s also one of the most fool-proof cooking methods. It’s easy to see when your steak is ready, and you can simply move it off of a hot spot when your steak is looking a little too crispy.

The only pitfall of grilling is that you can't baste your meat with butter and oil while it cooks, preventing you from adding moisture back during the cooking process. To prevent dry steaks, make sure to leave plenty of time for your steak to rest and serve with a delicious compound butter (which is just butter mixed with other tasty ingredients like garlic, herbs and spices).

Oven Roasting

Not everyone has the luxury of a nice backyard grill setup — and sometimes it’s just too cold to stand outside for 10 minutes. When the grill isn’t an option, your oven can mimic the experience pretty well. 

We’d recommend that you sear your steak in a cast iron pan before putting it in the oven for the best possible flavor, but if you’re really in a pinch, then you can definitely cook steak with an oven alone. Make sure to choose a thick cut of meat and to pay close attention to your meat thermometer to prevent overcooking.

Cast Iron Skillet 

Cast iron pans are a must-have for any home chef. They’re versatile, naturally nonstick, and provide even cooking every time. The beauty of these skillets is the cast iron itself. Cast iron retains heat well, so the temperature won’t drop when a cold steak meets the preheated pan. It also distributes heat evenly, creating a crisp, flavorful sear on every inch of your steak. 

As your steak cooks in cast iron, you can add butter, oil, and herbs to the pan and baste your steak, which helps with cooking and adds delicious rich flavors. And, of course, cast iron is oven safe, so you can pop your steak into the oven to finish cooking if you’d like a more hands-off experience.

But be careful — it’s easy to overcook steaks in a cast iron pan if you’re not paying attention. Know how a steak should feel at each temperature or employ a meat thermometer for safe measure.

Air Fryer Steak 

Massively popular air fryers seem to have popped up out of nowhere to take over all of our kitchens. But are air fryers really good for everything? Seems like it. Air-fried steaks are just as tasty at a much lower calorie count. 

You might be surprised at how well the air fryer can sear the outside of your steak while leaving a tender, juicy inside at any temperature. And of course, it’s an easy, set-it-and-forget-it method for cooking when you just don’t have the time or patience to make an elaborate dinner. 

There are just a few limitations — especially temperature. Most air fryers can’t cook at higher than 450℉, much lower than the temp that you’d traditionally sear a steak. You also don’t have the chance to build flavor through basting like you would on the stovetop. But, this is still a great method for treating yourself to a nice dinner without as much hassle or cleanup.

Sous Vide

For steak lovers who take their preferred temperature seriously, you’ll want to invest in a sous vide. This hands-off method is guaranteed to deliver steak cooked to perfection every time.

For those who aren’t familiar, sous vide machines keep water at a precise temperature, cooking your vacuum-sealed steak low and slow until it reaches the exact temperature that you like. All you have to do is unseal the steak and give it a quick pan sear, and then you’re ready to serve. You’ll never be disappointed by overcooked steak again.

Chefs love sous vide steaks for the precision and simplicity, but for some meat lovers, spending time cooking is a key part of the whole steak experience. If you’re going to miss the sensory experience of grilling or pan searing, then this may not be for you. 

Good Steak Starts with Quality Meat

The real key to serving delicious steak is choosing exceptional cuts from trusted sources. At the Prime House Direct, we deliver our top-quality steaks right to your door without the grocery store markups. Get your freezer ready for grilling season by ordering one of our best-selling steak boxes today.