The Biggest Mistake You Make When Cooking Steak, According To Bobby Flay

It isn't hard to make steak at home, but even if you season it perfectly and use a prime cut of meat, that isn't a guarantee for restaurant-quality results. You may think you need to be a professional chef or have a commercial-grade stove, but according to Bobby Flay, the temperature is what matters, and it's where most people go wrong. "Home cooks never let their pans get hot enough," Flay pointed out in an interview with Bon Appétit. "If you don't see a wisp of smoke coming from the oil in your skillet, you'll never get a proper sear on that steak or fish."


Instead of playing it safe with a lower temperature, crank up the heat to medium-high. Flay also recommends using cast iron, explaining in a YouTube sent to the Borgata Hotel and Casino that its ability to retain heat makes it ideal for cooking steak. For the best results, the celebrity chef also suggests using a light oil with a high smoking point such as canola or vegetable oil.

What happens when you don't cook steak at a high enough temperature

If you try to cook steak in a pan that isn't hot enough, you'll essentially be steaming it. Steak is naturally moist, and some liquid will remain even if you pat it dry. Unless you cook it in a hot pan so it can evaporate, this excess moisture will prevent the steak from developing a sear. Crowding the pan also gets in the way of a good sear, Flay tells Bon Appétit. Too many cold steaks will eventually bring the temperature of the pan down, and that's not what you want.


While a steak with a good sear certainly looks appetizing, it isn't purely aesthetic. A sear is also responsible for a considerable amount of flavor because it's the product of the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction takes place when proteins and sugars combine with heat, developing a savory flavor in the process. If your pan is too cold, your steak won't taste or look as good.

There's a fine line between overcooked and perfectly seared

Since a high temperature is necessary for achieving maximum flavor and color on a steak, it can be easy to end up with overcooked results. Flay therefore recommends cooking the steak for just two minutes on each side. In those two minutes, don't move or flip the steak around. "You want it to be nice and brown, nice and crusty," Flay explained in the YouTube video. "The only way you can do that is direct heat." As soon as both sides are seared, he takes it off the stove.


Only four minutes of cooking might not seem like enough time to properly cook a steak, but as Flay shared on "The Rachael Ray Show," steak also continues to cook when it's resting due to the residual heat. However, if you still find that your steak is too rare for your taste, you can always finish it low and slow in the oven. No matter the level of doneness you prefer your steaks to have, they're sure to be more flavorful thanks to Flay's steak searing technique.