Say you’ve perfectly cooked a 12-ounce steak and gotten that beautiful golden sear outside. You look forward to a night of feasting only to realize there was too much steak left on the platter after the meal. You then pack the leftover steak in a container, store it in the fridge, and hope it’s still as perfect as it was.
Steak — whether it’s a fillet mignon, hanger, rib-eye or sirloin — is an expensive food item and it seems wasteful to just throw any leftovers. What do you do then? Reheat it the next day in the hopes it doesn’t dry out and still tastes as good as the night before.
When reheating steaks, the first thing that comes to mind is using a microwave. Nowadays we live in a world that suggests to us that food preparation has to be easy and fast. Not with steaks, though, as they have to go through a two-step cooking process in order to achieve a perfect leftover steak.
Don’t Use a Microwave
Alan Ashkinaze, award-winning executive chef of the iconic Gallagher Steakhouse in New York, explains that the microwave is not recommended because typically food is cooked from the inside out. And with this, the steak will come out sinewy. “You don’t want to cook it fast at a high temperature,” Ashkinaze says. “Indirect heat is the way to go and this way you’re getting the most flavors.”
The Two-Step Process
Instead of searing steak on a pan and reheating it in the oven, Ashkinaze reverses these two cooking process. He suggests putting it in the oven first, and then searing it with butter or olive oil over medium-high heat.
The process looks like this: First, take the steak out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature, then preheat the oven to 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Once the steak is ready, put it on a sturdy wire rack with a baking tray underneath it. This way, with adequate airflow, you’re not just reheating the top of the steak, you’re reheating the steak form the inside out.
Using a meat thermometer, once the steak temperature is at 110 degrees, take it out of the oven. Next over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of salted butter and sear the steak for a minute to a minute and a half on both sides. Make sure to baste it on both sides to seal in those juices. If you don’t, the steak that you had last night, which was probably fantastic, is going to become dry.
The size of a steak doesn’t matter, Ashkinaze says, but the thickness of it does. A 1-inch steak and a 3-inch steak are going to have different reheating times. Ashkinaze suggests if it’s a 1-inch steak, cook it for between 10 and 12 minutes at 250 degrees, while if it’s a 3-inch steak cook it for 25 minutes.
First Things First – Cooking Your Steak
If you want to grill leftover steaks in your backyard, it’s okay to use an outdoor grill. Ashkinze shares his expertise on how to achieve a tender, juicy steak there as well.
If you’re reheating a half-inch steak on a gas or charcoal grill, remove it first from the refrigerator and keep the steak at room temperature. Light the grill and bring the temperature to 400 degrees. Sear the steak on medium-high heat for one minute on each side, then move it off the flame so there’s no direct heat hitting your steak. Close cover for approximately four to five minutes. Always sear the steak on medium-high heat and then cook low and slow using indirect heat. Since the steak is already previously cooked, you may want to use a thermometer to ensure that you cook your steak to your desired temperature. If you want your steak to be rare, the temperature should range from 122 to 125 degrees, while for medium-rare it’s about 130 degrees.
For Stovetop Grill
Using a cast-iron stovetop grill pan is another way to reheat your steak. They are circular or rectangular pans with grill marks on them. If you have a half-inch steak with you, here’s how you reheat them.
First, remove the steak from the refrigerator and keep it at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and turn on the ventilation fan. Using a cast-iron pan, set burner temperature to medium-high. Wait for five minutes, then add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Sear steak on each side for one minute, add one tablespoon of butter, garlic, and thyme (optional), and place cast-iron pan in the center of the oven for five minutes. Remove steak from oven and flip again.
For smaller cuts of steak, one teaspoon of butter is enough. If it’s a big chunk of steak, one tablespoon of butter is recommended. Note again that the thickness of the steak will depend on the length of time in the oven. Use a thermometer to cook your steaks to the desired temperature.
- Sous vide cooking is another method to reheat steak. Sous vide refers to vacuum-sealing food in a bag and heating it in a water bath at 120-degrees. Make sure to use an air-tight bag, because if you don’t, you may be in jeopardy of having the water running in. You may choose Cryovac for this. Once warmed through, take it out and sear both sides for one minute.
- If the leftover steak was a bit bland the night before, you can season it again, or add another spice to it.
- Whatever method you choose, make sure to keep an eye on the steak to avoid burning it.
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