How To Cook a 2 Inch Thick Steak (2 Ways)

How to cook a 2 inch thick steak

You’re sitting there staring at the beautiful 2-inch thick steak you purchased and don’t want to screw it up. I’ve been there. I’m going to share two different cooking methods and then tell you which I feel is the best way to cook the perfect steak. I’ll also share some of my top tips to take it over the top.

Preparing a steak for cooking

Cooking steak doesn’t have to be scary. Regardless of the cooking process you choose, the right preparation will transform a good steak into something that rivals the top steakhouses.

Air drying

This was a game-changer for me. Air drying removes excess moisture in the meat which helps form a great crust. It also allows the salt to penetrate the meat providing more flavor and tenderness. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel
  2. Place the steak on a wire rack to ensure airflow around the entire surface
  3. Season the steak with Kosher salt
  4. Place the steak in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours

This will help ensure you cook the best steak possible.

Let the steak come up to room temperature

Remove the steak from the fridge 1 hour prior to cooking. This allows the meat’s temperature to rise to room temp and helps the steak cook evenly.

Choosing the right steak

Not all cuts of steak should be cooked using one of these methods. Some cuts need a really long time to cook to break down the connective tissue. There are also some naturally thinner steaks like flank steak and skirt steak. The best thicker cut steaks are:

  • Filet Mignon
  • Ribeye Steak
  • New York Strip Steak
  • Porterhouse Steaks
  • Top Sirloin Steak

The reverse sear method

This is the method I use most. It’s essentially the same as the other cooking method but in reverse order. This is also the best way to cook a steak when using a pellet grill or any other type of smoker. The reason is, that it allows the steak to absorb the most amount of smoke. With this method, you start by cooking the steak using indirect heat and then sear it to get a nice crust on the surface of the steak.

How to reverse sear a steak

  1. Follow the preparation steps above
  2. Apply a thin layer of olive oil or your preferred binder
  3. Season the steak heavily on all sides with salt & black pepper or your favorite rub
  4. Cook the steak between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature is 15 degrees lower than your preferred level of doneness
  5. Place steaks on a cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil
  6. Let the steaks rest for 20 minutes
  7. While the steak rests, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat
  8. Add a thin layer of high-heat cooking oil to the pan
  9. Sear the steak for 45 seconds and then flip for an additional 45 seconds. Repeat once more on both sides.

The front sear method

This method is the opposite of the reverse sear. First, you start by searing the steak on each side for about 3-4 minutes. Then you continue cooking until the internal temperature of the steak is 5 degrees below your desired temp. For example, you’d remove it once the temperature is 130 degrees Fahrenheit for a medium-rare steak.

I recommend using a pan that can be placed in a hot oven or grill. This way you can sear the steak in a pan and then put the pan directly in the oven.

Searing the steak

There are multiple ways to sear a steak. I’m a big fan of searing in a hot pan on the stove, but you can also sear on a high heat gas grill or over roaring hot coals on a charcoal grill. Most people look for the iconic grill marks when grilling steak, but I like an even crust on all sides of the steak.

Cook to temperature and not time

This rule goes for any method and any type of steak. The cooking time can vary greatly by cut. 

I highly recommend investing in a good leave-in meat thermometer when cooking thicker steaks. It’s the easiest way to keep track of longer cooks. This one by MEATER is my favorite and I use it all the time.

And no matter what meat you’re cooking, an instant-read thermometer will be your best friend! This one can read the temperature in 1 second, so you don’t burn your hand while waiting.

Let the meat rest

This is one of the most important steps when cooking a great steak! Let the meat rest for 20 minutes once it’s done cooking. This will allow the juices to absorb back into the meat. No more dry steak!

So what’s the best way to cook a 2-inch steak?

I prefer the reverse sear method for the best results when cooking my steaks. This method does take more time, but I feel it helps nail the desired temperature and results in more even doneness throughout the steak. If you’ve got some extra time, I promise it’s worth it – it’s your ticket to a perfectly cooked steak!

You usually get more gray banding around the edges when using the front sear method. This is due to the steak heating up quickly upfront, so the edges will continue to cook when using indirect heat for the remainder of the cook.

Regardless, they both create one juicy steak and are a great way to cook a 2-inch steak.

Thick-cut steak recipes

Here are some of my highest-rated steak recipes:


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