Cooking with fresh beef will always be the ultimate way to prepare a steak, but it turns out that using a frozen steak is your next-best option.
That’s according to Dan Souza, a Cook’s Illustrated senior editor. He experimented in America’s Test Kitchen (first spotted by Food Republic) with eight strip loin steaks cut in half. He froze the steaks, then thawed a half of each steak in the fridge over night, keeping the other side frozen.
Souza then seared both sets of steaks in a hot skillet for 90 seconds on both sides before transferring them to a 275-degree oven until they were cooked to medium rare (125 degrees).
His team discovered that the frozen steak not only lost less moisture and cooked more evenly, but it also tasted better than its thawed counterpart. The frozen steak had a much thinner band of overcooked meat (known as a “grey band”) surrounding the pink interior than the thawed beef, too.
The frozen steaks also browned nearly as fast as the thawed steaks in the skillet, though they did take 18 to 20 minutes of cooking time in the oven (compared with 10 to 15 for the thawed steaks).
Of course to get these results, the steaks need to be frozen properly. Simply storing them in a bag can cause ice or moisture to form on the steak, which can in turn cause flare-ups when you’re searing the steak in oil.
Instead, Souza said the best way to freeze the steaks was to set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once they’re fully frozen, wrap each steak in plastic wrap and put them into a plastic bag.
Watch the video below to see how frozen steak trumps thawed steak.
Full instructions below (recipe here):
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