Cook The Perfect Steak: Salting, Searing And Poking Myths Debunked

Cook The Perfect Steak: Salting, Searing And Poking Myths Debunked

To cook the absolute best steak you can, should you salt before, during or after cooking? Use butter or oil while searing? And what’s the deal with poking the steak with a fork during cooking?

The Food Lab at Serious Eats answers these questions so you can master your steak-cooking technique.

Photo by ZagatBuzz

If you look around for advice on how to cook a steak, you’ll find many competing points of view on the fine details. To put to rest common points of contention, Serious Eats offers the results of some steak-cooking experiments and a scientific look at the cooking process.

Without ruining the reveal, in terms of salting: you need enough time to do it right. Regarding searing in butter versus oil: add both, but at different points. And, well, poking doesn’t really do anything (except maybe give you a false impression).

Hit up the article below for lab results, gorgeous photos, and even a timelapse video of the salting process.

The Food Lab: More Tips for Perfect Steaks


  • I have noticed that when cooking steak I preoil the steaks and salt them as well, helps them to be less tough (cause I freeze mine).

    Also if you freeze them as I do, best to leave them defrosting naturally and not microwaving to defrost them.

    • Microwaving is definitely the number one step on the road to a terrible steak!

      I’ve also found throwing in some lemon juice helps start breaking down the muscle fibers of the steak and I tend to have more tender steaks as a result.

  • on business interstate i went to a grill restaurant that served me one of the best steaks i’d ever had…even better than the superb Argentinean houses i love.

    i cornered the staff and asked them how they did it and they said the secret is a room temperature steak.

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