Aarón Sánchez's Tip For Perfectly Cooked Steak

Of all the cooking techniques and dishes that we home chefs really want to master – properly deglazing a pan, roasting a flawless Thanksgiving turkey, or creating the creamiest risotto - this one is always at the top of the list: a perfectly cooked steak. So of course we turn to celebrity chefs to learn their secrets for giving these pricey cuts loads of flavor, juiciness, and just the right amount of red in the center. As a "MasterChef" judge, cookbook author, and New Orleans restaurateur (via his website), chef Aarón Sánchez knows exactly how to cook a great steak.

Sánchez recently shared his tips for cooking the perfect steak on his Instagram page. His method requires no high-end kitchen gear or years of culinary training, but it does require the hardest thing of all when you're dying to dig into a succulent, tender steak: patience. 

Sánchez shares that it's crucial to let your steak come to room temperature before you begin cooking, whether it's destined for the grill or a skillet. That's because a frigid steak won't heat or cook evenly and will have a cold center even when the outside looks done. And if you try to heat up that cold center? You'll end up overcooking the rest of the meat. Sánchez's also says to let the steak rest after cooking, not just for a minute or two, but for the same amount of time as it took to cook the steak.  

Here's how long you should wait

If the secrets to getting a perfectly cooked steak are bringing it to room temperature, and a long rest after it's cooked, just how much time are we talking about? In Aarón Sánchez's recipe for Ribeye Con Cebollitas (shared at Oprah.com), he recommends taking the steak out of the fridge 30 to 40 minutes before cooking. This squares with the guidance from The Kitchn, which calls for steaks to be given about a half-hour to warm up before they hit the pan. Even giving your steak 20 minutes, which is Bobby Flay's steak cooking advice, will make it easier to evenly cook the meat. Use this time to prepare sides, or as with Sánchez's recipe, to make spice blends and sauces, so that everything's ready when the steak is ready.  

Sánchez recommends a rest time for your steak that's the same length of time it needed to cook (via his Instagram page), and that depends on the thickness and desired doneness of your steak. Kansas City Steaks says a 1-inch-thick, boneless steak needs 5-11 minutes for rare and as long as 15 minutes for medium-well. For 1½-inch-thick steaks, add two to three minutes to these timeframes. Bone-in steaks like ribeyes will need longer cook times for all degrees of doneness. In short, plan for somewhere between 5 to 20 minutes of rest time for your steak. Waiting is hard, but a perfect, mouth-watering steak is worth it!