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Course: Mains
Keyword: Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Hacks, Make-Ahead, Meats, Weeknight Dinner

Thermal Shock Sirloin

Thermal shock sirloin sliced on the bias on a butcher block cutting board.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
I’ve chased the perfect steak for years and it turns out the secret is a freezer, a cast-iron griddle, and a hot broiler. My work here is (finally) done.
Why freeze a perfectly good steak before cooking? So that you can get that beautiful brown sear without going past a juicy medium-rare.
Fun fact: Seasoning the steak before freezing it also helps to prevent freezer burn.
This recipe first appeared in Season 2 of Good Eats: Reloaded.
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Software

  • 1 (1-inch-thick) sirloin steak, about 1 pound
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed

Specialized Hardware

  • Cast-iron griddle
  • Digital instant-read thermometer
Thermal shock sirloin sliced on the bias on a butcher block cutting board.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Procedure

  • The night (or several nights) before cooking: Season steak with the salt and place on a small sheet pan, cookie sheet, or even a small square or rectangular cake pan. Top with a second panAluminum is ideal due to its conductive properties, and freeze overnight. If you plan to leave it frozen for more than a couple of days, wrap the frozen steak in parchment paper and seal in a heavy freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 2 months.
  • An hour before cooking: Position an oven rack to its highest position just under the boiler. Set a cast iron griddle, flat-side up, on this rack, ideally 3 inches below the broiler element. Set the oven to its highest temperature, at least 500°F, and leave it there for at least half an hour after that temperature is reached. Do not activate the broiler at this point. Not yet.
  • Remove the steak from the freezer. Coat both sides with oil using a pastry brush. Carefully pull out the oven rack and deposit the steak right in the middle of the griddle. Push the rack back in, turn the oven off, then turn the broiler on – to “high” if that’s a choice. Cook for 4 minutes then carefully flip the steak and continue broiling until the interior temperature hits 110°F. (Always insert the probe of your thermometer through the side of the meat to get the most even reading.) Start checking the steak’s temperature after 4 1/2 minutes but be ready to go as long as 7 depending on your broiler.
  • Remove the steak and wrap in heavy-duty foil to rest for 10 minutes. Remove and slice thinly on the bias. Serve with any accumulated juices.
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