A bit of smoke is unavoidable when searing a steak and, if you don’t have a vent over your stove, that smoke can linger, ruining the vibe of your otherwise excellent steak dinner. You can’t eliminate smoke completely, but you can dramatically decrease the amount produced by lightly oiling your steak instead of the pan.
The less oil you have hanging out in your super hot pan, the less smoke there will be. Just salt your steak as you usually would, and blot off any excess moisture. Heat your pan over high heat, until a drop of water balls up and skitters around the its surface before evaporating.
Then — using a pastry brush — paint both sides of the steak with a thin layer of vegetable oil (or some other oil with a high smoke point). Sear as usual. I did this with a fairly thick ribeye and, while there was still some smoke, there was significantly less, and the small amount there was cleared out quickly through an open window. It made the whole process — from cooking to devouring — much more pleasant, and eating a steak is already quite pleasant.
This article has been updated since its original publication.