Perfectly seared steaks topped with chipotle compound butter look impressive, but they’re so easy to make at home! In this post, I share some tips for the best homemade steaks.
This post was sponsored by the NY Beef Council
Last month I had an opportunity to participate in a virtual steak night hosted by the New York Beef Council. They sent me and some other bloggers some gorgeous steaks and we all hopped on zoom and cooked them together. It was a ton of fun, and I picked up some really great tips for making the most perfect pan seared steaks.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught the event in my stories. I wanted to make sure to share some of those tips here though, so more people can see them and learn how to cook a steakhouse quality steak at home.
Of course, I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on the recipe. The night of the event, we made steaks with blue cheese and sun dried tomato butter. They were delicious, but I wanted to make something a little bolder.
Enter, chipotle compound butter. Did you know chipotle peppers are just smoked jalapenos? They add a great hint of spice and wonderful smoky flavor to this compound butter. It’s a great way to add a little bit of that smoky grilled flavor when you cook your steaks inside.
How to sear steaks perfectly (without setting off your smoke alarm!)
Perfect seared steaks start before you even turn on the stove.
First off, you’ll want to choose the right steak. Strip steaks are a great option. Look for nice thick steaks that have bright red coloring and marbling throughout. If you’re looking for a leaner option, sirloins are also great for this recipe. Either way, steak is a carb conscious option with plenty of protein and iron.
I like to buy big, thick steaks, like the ones pictured above, since thin steaks have a tendency to overcook very quickly. They’re pretty heavy though! A serving of beef is 4 ounces, so we usually buy one steak and split it between the two of us. If I do make two steaks, I’ll save one and use it to top a salad the next day. Choosing steaks that are close to the same size as each other will help them cook at the same rate.
A lot of people recommend pulling steaks out of the fridge, salting them, and letting them come to room temperature. This actually isn’t a good idea. Leaving the steaks on the counter for that long isn’t safe, plus the salt draws all of the moisture out of the steaks so it pools on top.
Instead, what you want to do is take the steaks out of the package and leave them uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two before you cook them. This dries the surface of the steaks at a safe temperature. You’ll get a great sear, but the inside of the steaks will still be super juicy and tender.
Trust me, drying your steaks in the fridge is a complete game changer!
Next, you’ll need to heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat. I love making seared steaks in a cast iron skillet, since it holds heat so well. You’ll also want to heat your oven to 450F.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper and add them to the hot, dry pan. They should immediately start to sizzle.
Now comes the hard part: don’t touch them.
I know, you’ll be so tempted to see what’s happening under there but you won’t get a good sear if you keep moving the steaks around in the pan!
The steaks will spit and sputter, but cooking them over medium heat means they won’t create a ton of smoke in your kitchen. If they do start to smoke, turn your burner down.
As the steaks cook, you’ll notice the color of the steak slowly changing, starting from the bottom and gradually moving toward the top. After 5-8 minutes, the color should reach the midway point. Now it’s time to flip your steaks!
The steaks should release from the pan easily. If they seem stuck, give them another minute or two for a nice crust to form before flipping them.
Next, you’ll transfer the pan to the hot oven for another 8-10 minutes, or until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 145F.
Pull the steaks from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board and top them with some of your compound butter. Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes so the juice can redistribute.
This is a great time to make a side dish! I love serving these seared steaks with sauteed green beans, but a sweet corn salad would also be excellent.
Chipotle compound butter
Chipotle compound butter gives these steaks more flavor and really takes them over the top. I’m drooling just thinking about all of that savory, smoky, beefy flavor.
What is compound butter?
If you’ve never tried compound butter, you’re really missing out. Compound butter is basically just flavored butter. It can be sweet or savory and is amazing on everything from oatmeal to vegetables to proteins like these steaks.
How to make compound butter
Compound butter is so easy to make! You’ll need to start with softened butter. Make sure you pull it out of the fridge at least an hour before you plan to cook.
Next, mix in some chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Make sure you mix everything up really well. You shouldn’t see any white streaks of butter. Starting with butter that’s completely softened will make this a lot easier!
You can spoon the chipotle butter over your steaks just like this, but if you want to get fancy and make compound butter medallions, shape the butter into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap. Then refrigerate or freeze it until the butter solidifies again. 15-20 minutes in the freezer is plenty of time to do the trick!
Compound butter will keep well in the freezer for several months. You’ll have some leftover to put on steaks another night or try it on corn or even mashed potatoes.
For the chipotle compound butter
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo minced
- ½ lime juiced
For the steaks
- 2 strip steaks 2-inches thick
- Salt and pepper
For the compound butter:
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter, chipotle peppers, lime juice, and salt. Mix until everythign is well combined, no white streaks of butter should remain.
- Roll the butter into a log and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
For the steaks:
- Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered, for 2-3 hours before you start cooking.
- Heat your oven to 450°F. Sprinkle your steaks generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the steaks. They should immediately begin to sizzle.
- Cook the steaks without touching them, until they are cooked halfway up the side. This will take 5-8 minutes.
- Flip the steaks over. They should release from the pan easily. If they don’t, let them cook another 2-3 minutes to form a nice crust.
- Transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the steaks reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Carefully transfer the steaks to a cutting board (remember the pan will be very hot!). Top each steak with two small pats of butter, about 1 teaspoon each. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.