Comment on How to Cook a Steak Perfectly Every Time by skwerrel.
This is definitely the perfect way to pan sear a steak, though I personally prefer to grill (actually I really love the amazing crust you get from pan frying, but hate how much smoke it generates – maybe next time I’ll use the cast iron, ON my grill outside!) Personally I would not change a thing about your actual cooking technique (especially resting, super important) but I disagree with your seasoning advice.
I like to salt my steaks a good 30 minutes or more before I even pull them out of the fridge, and then let them sit at room temp for at least 20-30 minutes – meaning they sit with salt on them for a minimum of an hour, sometimes more. This allows the salt to dissolve, then osmosis pulls out some of the steak’s liquid, which is then drawn back in (but carrying the salt). It doesn’t penetrate as much as you might think, only the first 1/8th inch at most, but the salt denatures the proteins in that layer (and denatured proteins are more susceptible to the maillard reaction, which leads to an even better crust!). As for pepper, since a good steak should cook at a minimum of 500 degrees F, I wait until they come off the heat – pepper burns at temps that high, and burned pepper has a lot of bitter flavors (plus you lose most of the essential oils that make fresh pepper so good).
If you’ve never experimented with putting the salt on a bit sooner (though I agree, not too soon or it can turn the steak a little mushy) and holding off on the pepper until you’re ready to eat, I would recommend it. Let me know how it turns out!