Is there anything worse than screwing up a perfectly good steak? Whether it’s ribeye, filet, flat-iron, rump, sirloin, or what have you, it’s actually not hard to overcook steak or have it come out too chewy or just plain blah. Sometimes it seems like it’s actually easier to mess up cooking your steak than preparing it well!

Whether you’re making it as a main course for a dinner party, or just trying to have a nice dinner for two at home, we’ve got some secrets up our sleeves for the perfect sear. Here’s your foolproof step-by-step guide to making the most delicious steak every single time.

  1. Step 1: Let it sit

    First and foremost, it’s important to take your steak out of the fridge and let it sit before you cook it. This is a key step that most people miss. The reason this is so crucial is because the best part of a steak is the sear, and placing a cold steak on a pan just won’t work as well. How thick or thin the steak is will depend on how long you leave it out; about an hour for thin cuts and two for thicker cuts.

  2. Pat and season

    After you let it sit, you’ll want to pat the steak dry with some paper towels. Just like searing a cold steak isn’t good, searing a wet one won’t work well wither. You will, however, want to oil it and season it up as best you can. Drizzle olive oil onto both sides and rub it in. As far as seasonings, salt and pepper are just enough for the perfect taste, but rosemary or basil are great as well.

  3. Heat the grill/pan

    If using a stainless steel or cast iron pan (either will work great), be sure you let it heat up for a couple of minutes first. You want the steak to sizzle aggressively as soon as it touches the pan, so don’t place it on the pan right away.

  4. Step 4: Sizzle and turn

    Once you place the steak in the pan, let it sit for only about 30 seconds to a minute and use tongs to flip the steak over. Continue doing this for about 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. If you like it a bit more crispy on the edges, you can pop it into the oven and broil.

  5. Dredge

    While the steak is still on the stove, add some butter to the pan alongside the steak. When it melts, use a spoon to scoop the butter and drizzle it onto the meat. Do this over and over, several times. This will help tenderize the meal and caramelize the outside (and give it that restaurant-quality taste!).

  6. Take it out at the right temperature

    Use a meat thermometer to gauge when your steak is done. If you want it medium-rare, you want the internal temperature to be around 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit. For medium steaks, it should be around 140-145, and medium-well will be 150-155.

  7. Let it sit

    When you take your steak off the grill or out of the oven, it’s important not to put it on a plate and eat it right away (though we’re sure you’ll be tempted!). Don’t touch or tamper with it. This will allow for the muscle fibers in the meat to resorb the juices.

  8. Cut (the right way with the right knife)

    Make sure the knife you use to cut the steak is very sharp. You also want to be sure you’re cutting perpendicular to the grain so you get that nice, clean cut.

That’s it! Now you can sit back and enjoy your steak. How do you typically prepare your steak? Do you have any tips for the perfect sear?