Everyone has an opinion on the best way to cook a steak. In the great debate over whether to flip or not flip your steaks though, science proves multi-flippers get better results.
Well, specifically, Kenji at Serious Eats uses his food science mastery to demonstrate why flipping your steaks often (rather than leaving it on the grill or pan undisturbed) is a very good thing:
The idea sort of makes sense at first glance: flipping it only once will give your steak plenty of chance to brown and char properly on each side. But the reality is that flipping a steak repeatedly during cooking — as often as every 30 seconds or so — will produce a crust that is just as good (provided you start with meat with a good, dry surface, as you always should), give you a more evenly cooked interior, and cook in about 30% less time to boot!
The reasons why flipping results in steaks on your plate quicker? With faster flips, both sides of the steak are exposed to the high heat, without giving them time to cool down — almost like cooking both sides at once. Perhaps more importantly, frequently flipped steaks cook more evenly because, Kenji writes:
By allowing each side to cool for a few moments after being heated for a few moments, the intense temperature gradient that can build up near the surface of the steak has time to dissipate. Some of that heat energy is released back into the air, while some of it dissipates into the steak. In either case, it rescues the outer layers from cooking more than they absolutely need to.
This also holds true when cooking burgers.
It takes more work standing by a hot grill or oven, but the time savings and better results may be well worth it. Check out the post on Serious Eats for more steak science.
The Food Lab: Flip Steaks Multiple Times for Better Results [Serious Eats]