While I consider myself to be an adequate cook, I have to tell you about two things I've never been able to cook properly: fried chicken and steak. I can now mark steak off that list.
I love a good, medium-rare steak; sometimes I make Cliff splurge and take me to Outback just so I'll get a decent one.
When we had Sir Loin butchered, we ended up with some lovely steaks to put in the freezer, two to a package. My original thought was to save them for one of those times when the daughter's family is here for a cookout; the son-in-law does a great job with steaks.
But one evening a couple weeks ago while Cliff was at work, I decided to try cooking a decent steak one more time. I was the only one here, so I wouldn't have to feel bad watching Cliff chew on shoe-leather and pretend it's good.
I searched the Internet and found a couple of recipes I thought might work for me.
At this point, those of you who have cooked pan-fried ribeye steak all your lives are laughing at me, wondering what's so hard about cooking steak. I know you are, so don't deny it.
I found the Pioneer Woman version and used some of the seasonings she mentioned, although I really didn't make a rub as she did. I looked at the pictures (by the way, you know I love you, Ree, but there can be such a thing as too many pictures) and found one that put me on the right track. Hopefully she won't mind my stealing this picture.
I ended up cooking the steak longer than her recipe suggested (two minutes on one side, two and a half on the other) because there was too much blood coming to the surface to suit me.
But somehow, the steaks ended up tender and quite good. I used extreme self-control and saved one for Cliff. He had it for breakfast the next morning and agreed that I had hit on something; it was even good left over.
Yesterday I decided to try steak again, using another person's methods.
This recipe said not to go crazy on the seasonings; I decided to use no seasonings at all. I read the instructions over several times, and realized this person addressed everything I have ever done wrong with a steak: Don't use a fork to turn it, that lets the juices out. Don't move the steak around in the skillet except when you turn it. Leave the heat on medium; don't turn it down. Don't cover the pan. Oh, and get the steaks out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you're going to cook them.
The cooking time suggested on this site was four minutes on the first side, five on the second.
They were as good as any steak I've ever had at Outback, fork-tender, juicy, and pink in the middle.
Now if only I could learn to make fried chicken as good as Mother used to make.