The classic Good Eats method for perfectly cooked ribeye steak requires nothing but a cast iron skillet, a kitchen timer, and some salt. As far as I'm concerned, a perfect steak is one with a darkly seared exterior and an interior cooked not one degree past 130°F. Although this can certainly be accomplished on a grill or broiler, it's a tricky proposition at best — especially with a cut like the ribeye, whose melting lipids tend to cause nasty, soot-producing flare-ups in open-flame environments. Your best bet is roasting, in which a hot, heavy, dense cast iron skillet does the branding on the stovetop and the relatively gentle heat of the oven finished the interior. It can't be said enough: Remember to let your meat — especially that of the red variety — rest for about 5 minutes after it's removed from the heat. Heat is akin to pressure, and cutting into a steak before it's had a chance to cool is a bit like opening a spigot. Cover the meat loosely with aluminum foil or a metal bowl as it rests, and it'll stay plenty hot. Note: There's going to be smoke. Turn on your hood (if you have one) and open a window. This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats and was updated in Season 1 of Good Eats: Reloaded.
2(1 1/2-inch-thick)boneless rib-eye steaks, about 15 ounces each
1teaspooncanola oil, to coat
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet
Digital instant-read thermometer
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutesminutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hourhour15 minutesminutes
Yield: 2to 4 servings
Allow the steaks to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
Place a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and heat the oven to 500ºF.
When the oven reaches temperature, remove the skillet and place on the range over high heat for 5 minutes. Coat the steak lightly with oil and sprinkle both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper.
Immediately place the steak in the middle of the hot, dry skillet. Cook 30 secondsYou should use a kitchen timer. without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steak and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium-rare steak. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.) For medium-rare, the temperature of the steaks should be between 130 and 140°F.
Remove the steak from the skillet, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 5 minutes. Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate.