Five Tips for Making Restaurant-Quality Steak at Home

There’s no denying your favorite steakhouse consistently turns out perfectly cooked, superlative-inducing, delicious steaks.

But shelling out $50 or more for a piece of meat, is a lot to stomach. Add in the sides — who can turn down potatoes and cream spinach? — not to mention drinks and tip, and regular jaunts your chophouse of choice can be hard to justify.

While your experience to date may have proven otherwise, it is possible to prepare equally tender and flavorful steaks at home. Follow our five steakhouse secrets usually only the experts know:

1. They all use USDA Prime.

It’s no secret the best steakhouses use the best beef, but the greatest steakhouses use only USDA Prime beef, which is of a higher quality than 98% of the rest of the beef out there. To achieve this ranking, USDA Prime needs to have the highest levels of marbling and be from the youngest cows. Because less than 2% of all beef produced in the U.S. earns the Prime designation, you aren’t likely to find it at regular grocery stores. Instead, you’ll need to purchase it from protein specialists like SteakChop, though some high-end butcher shops do carry it.

2. They age their beef.

Some wet-age, others dry-age, but all great steakhouses age their beef for days or weeks to intensify the flavor and improve the tenderness of the cut. Aging beef can be difficult to do at home because of the risk of spoilage and food poisoning, but you can outsource the process, or find a source that sells aged beef, such as Steakchop. If you can’t, don’t worry, you can still prepare a great steak. You can learn more about the aging process here.

3. They all use thick cuts.

Steakhouses usually serve steaks that are well over an inch thick. Thick steaks give the broiler more time to caramelize the outer crust, without overcooking the center.

4. They use a lot of salt, pepper, and butter.

Typically, steakhouses season every inch of meat with sea or kosher salt, and coarse ground pepper, before it goes into the broiler. Use just a little more than you think you is necessary. They also add a big dollop of butter — butter, not virgin olive oil, which is too delicate, and the smoke point is too low — to the pan right before the steak is served.

5. They use infrared broilers, and super-high heat.

Though some steakhouses may still grill or griddle their beef, the best steakhouses broil their steaks with infrared boilers at incredibly high temperatures. This process is what produces the deep, dark, caramelized crust. While you can buy similar equipment, it isn’t necessary. What is necessary is a good quality cast iron pan that creates high heat in direct contact with the meat. Infrared broilers radiate a lot of heat into the steak, but cast-iron pans hold a lot of heat, which will help you make the perfect, restaurant-quality steak.

Make sure you preheat your pan as hot as you can get it and then drop in the steak for two minutes. Flip, add butter and put the pan into a hot, pre-heated oven for about five more minutes, depending on how well you done want your steak. This is a smoke-filled process so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated.

Click here for our tried and tested steakhouse-quality steak recipe.