Whether it’s perfectly grilled or cooked in a skillet, USDA Prime is always delicious.
The two most popular steak-cooking techniques are outdoor grilling (our favorite) and stovetop cooking, usually in a heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet. Both techniques create a mouthwatering browned exterior and deep, meaty flavor.
Not sure which cuts to grill? For a juicy, full-flavored entrée, choose ribeye, porterhouse or any bone-in cut. These cuts have the most marbling and stay tender when grilled. For something quick-cooking, try a thinner cut like skirt steak or flank. If you’re leaning towards lean, opt for filet mignon, whole beef tenderloin or New York strip.
Check out our “Meet the Curators” video to learn more about how we bring you the best selection of quality beef. We asked Director of Meat and Seafood Peter Mayes for the 411 on top-notch beef, along with some of his go-to cooking methods for our favorite cuts.
Tips for Cooking USDA Prime Beef
Whether you're grilling your steak or pan-searing it, here are a few tips to ensure a great entrée every time.
Season less. Coarse salt, freshly cracked black pepper and maybe a pat of butter for finishing—that’s it. Let the steak speak for itself. Flank steak is an exception, and it takes beautifully to marinating. Just be sure to pat the steak dry with paper towels before cooking to aid browning.
Let it sit. After seasoning your steak, let it stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking. This helps it cook more evenly.
Keep it hot. For the best browning, use a very hot skillet or grill. Avoid continuously turning the steak so a crust can form. This will also allow the steak to be flipped without sticking, as the crust will create a barrier between the meat and the cooking surface.
Time it right. Allow 3 to 4 minutes per side for a 1-inch-thick steak. Make adjustments for steaks that are thicker or thinner.
Feel it out. Steaks are often too thin for an instant-read thermometer to suffice, so you’ll have to rely on your sense of touch. As the steak cooks, it releases moisture, and the meat firms up. Press the steak with your forefinger to get a reading. Rare steak feels slightly soft, medium is somewhat resilient and well done is firm to the touch.
Take a break. Always allow steak to rest for a few minutes before serving so the juices (which have been moving around due to the heat) can redistribute themselves throughout the meat.
The Finishing Touch
Just before serving, sprinkle a pinch of coarse, natural finishing salt on top of your steak. This cuts through the steak’s richness while adding texture and flavor. Our current favorites are hand-harvested Le Saunier De Camargue Fleur De Sel from France, naturally pink Natierra Himalayan Pink Salt Flakes and flavorful Amola Garlic & Rosemary Salt made with all-natural ingredients.
Grilled Steak: Season steak with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (around 550°F). Place steaks on the grill and close the lid. Cook until the underside is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
If there are flare-ups, move the steak to an area not directly over the coals. Flip the steak over, cover and continue cooking to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes more for medium-rare. Remove the steak from the grill and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
Cast Iron Steak with Jus Butter: Season steaks generously with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Turn your stove exhaust fan on high. Heat a large, heavy skillet (cast-iron is best) over medium high heat for at least 2 minutes. There is no need to add oil to the skillet. Add steaks to the skillet, being sure not to crowd them. You will probably only be able to fit 2 steaks (or 4 filet mignons) in the average skillet.
Cook until the underside is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the steaks and continue cooking to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes more for medium-rare. Add 1 to 2 tbsp unsalted butter to the top of the steak during the last minutes of cooking. Remove the steaks from the skillet and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour pan sauce over the steaks and serve.