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How to Cook T-Bone Steak Correctly: The Simple & Tasty Way

December 30, 2020
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If you don’t cook steak a lot, trying your hand at serving a perfect t-bone cut is intimidating. There’s a lot of pressure to do right by this tasty cut of meat, as it’s considered one of the best steaks among foodies. 

To make things more confusing, everyone has a different opinion on the best way to cook t-bone steaks. A quick Google search reveals hundreds of recommendations for cooking methods, seasonings, etc. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. 

That’s why we’re here to help you make the best t-bone steak! Read on for a complete t-bone steak recipe guide so you receive endless praise the next time you host a BBQ.

Ingredients for The Perfect T-Bone Steak

To make the perfect t-bone steak, you’ll need to get the right ingredients. Here are some items to add to your shopping list:

T-Bone Steaks

Of course, you’ll need some t-bone steaks. You must buy high-quality cuts of meat. Even if you cook it perfectly, subpar meat won’t taste good.

You can assure our grassfed meats:

  • Are firm and bright red
  • Have an even distribution of fat (the thin white lines known as marbling)
  • Have a thickness of around one inch or so

Avoid cuts that are soft or have a darker color. This will ensure you pick cuts that are juicy, tender, and full of flavor.

Other tips for choosing the right cuts include:

  • Checking the expiration date
  • Verifying that the packaging is intact

How Many Steaks Should You Get?

Typically speaking, one t-bone steak should be enough for one person. If the cut is particularly large, it might be enough for two people.

We know offer “mini-bundles” to help you get the most value for you food dollar.

Seasonings

Some people marinate t-bone steaks with olive oil and other ingredients. However, marinating is more appropriate for tougher cuts like a sirloin tip. Because t-bone steaks are tender, simple seasonings are enough.

Salt and pepper are musts when it comes to seasoning your steak. For optimal flavor, be sure to use coarse-grained Kosher salt (not regular table salt) and freshly ground black pepper.

You really don’t need to use other seasonings. The simple salt and pepper combo will allow the steak’s natural flavor to come through. But, if you want to make things interesting, feel free to experiment with other seasonings like:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground mustard
  • Dried thyme
  • Brown sugar

Additional Ingredients

For our recipe, you will also need butter or olive oil.

Other Equipment

For the cooking method we describe, you’ll need other pieces of equipment, including:

  • Designated plates for raw and cooked meat
  • Bowls for seasonings/butter
  • Heavy skillet
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer 
  • Knife to check doneness

How To Cook T-Bone Steak: Step-By-Step

You should have all of your ingredients and equipment. But, before you do any cooking, you’ll want to prep your cuts.

1. Prep

How you prep your cuts depends on whether or not they are frozen:

If your Steaks are Still Frozen

Make sure to fully thaw your cuts before cooking them because this ensures they cook evenly.

The best way to thaw cuts is by putting them in the fridge at least 24 hours before cooking. If you didn’t plan this far ahead, you can use other defrosting methods like:

  • Cold-water defrosting. If the meat is in its original packaging, you can use the cold-water defrosting method. Submerge the package in a large bowl of cold water. The meat should thaw out in an hour or two. Be sure to periodically add fresh water. 
  • Microwaving. Microwaving isn’t the tastiest method. However, it is fast and safe. Defrost the cuts according to your microwave’s instructions. Pay close attention as you don’t want to end up cooking the meat.

Once your steaks are thawed, let them sit out on the counter for around 45 minutes. They are ready to cook once they reach room temperature.

Another way to know they are ready: They “give” a little when you press on them with your thumb.

If you’re so short on time that you can’t thaw the steaks, you can cook them frozen. Follow our instructions for whatever cooking method you’re using. Just be sure to cook them for a little longer as they will have to defrost on the grill or in the oven. To be extra careful, check the internal temperature to ensure doneness.
If Your Steaks Are Refrigerated
If your steaks are refrigerated, the prep process is a little easier. Simply take them out and let them come to room temperature. This should take around 45 minutes. To be sure they are ready to cook, press into them with your thumb. Ready steaks should give a little.

If you're impatient or pressed for time, it can be easy to skip this step. But, letting a steak come to room temperature before cooking is well worth the effort. You’ll be thanking yourself once you’re enjoying melt-in-your-mouth steak.

2. Season

Once your steak is prepped, it’s time to season it.

There’s a lot of debate on proper seasoning technique. Chefs often argue about when they should put certain seasonings on during the cooking process.

Here are some foolproof tips that will result in flavorful t-bone steaks.

  • Pat the steak dry. Before seasoning, pat the steak dry with a paper towel. In addition to letting the steak better absorb seasonings, this will also prevent any accidental steaming.
  • Don’t salt in advance. If you add salt too far in advance, the crystals will draw out moisture. This will result in a less juicy steak. It’s best to add salt right before cooking.
  • Add pepper before cooking. Some chefs swear by adding pepper after cooking. They claim that this prevents the peppercorns from burning and creating a bitter flavor. However, most people don’t have a problem with this. Plus, if you add pepper before cooking, the peppercorns will stick better to the meat. 
  • Find a balance. When you season a steak, you’re only seasoning the surface. This means the majority of it is unseasoned. So, be sure to generously season all sides. At the same time, be careful not to use too much. This will take away from the steak’s natural flavor.

3. Cook

While there are several ways to cook steaks, one of our favorites is the reverse sear method.
Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 275°F.
  2. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Place prepped steaks on top of the wire rack. 
  3. Once the oven preheats, place the baking sheet on the oven’s center rack. 
  4. Cook until just before your desired level of “done-ness.”
  5. Remove steaks from the oven and cover them lightly with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. 
  6. Preheat a heavy skillet over high heat. It should take about 5 minutes. 
  7. Add butter or olive oil to the hot skillet. Sear steaks for one minute on each side.
  8. Serve immediately.

How to Tell When a Steak Is Done

People have varying preferences when it comes to how they like their steak cooked. Typical degrees of steak doneness include:

  • Rare (internal temperature of 120°F). Rare means a cool to warm red center. It will be very soft and tender. 
  • Medium rare (130°F). Medium rare indicates a warm red center. Like with rare, medium rare is soft and tender. Many people praise medium rare as the ideal steak doneness. But, be sure to ask your guests what they like. Some people don’t like the color found in a medium rare steak. 
  • Medium (140°F). With medium steaks, you can expect a hot pink center. They are slightly firmer. 
  • Medium well (150°F). Medium well means a mostly brown center and firm texture. 
  • Well done (160°F+). Well done is the firmest, driest degree. It should have no color.

Keep the following tips in mind when checking for steak doneness:

  • Use a meat thermometer. Most people don’t bother with a meat thermometer. However, it is an accurate and safe way to verify doneness.
  • Check the color. When you think the steak is about done, cut into it. Looking at the color should give you an idea of how done it is. If it is rarer than you would like it to be, continue cooking.

If you’re new to cooking steaks, telling when they are done can be tricky. But, as you become more experienced, it will become second nature.

4. Serve

Unlike with other cooking methods, reverse searing doesn’t use high heat (at least in the oven). This prevents juices from being drawn out, meaning you don’t have to let the steaks rest. You should serve them immediately.

Before serving, you’ll have to cut the steaks. Transfer them to a cutting board and cut the meat away from the bone. Be sure to cut against the grain. This will make them easier to chew.

What to Serve With T-Bone Steak?

T-bone steaks are a timeless favorite. Whether it be a BBQ or dinner party, you can serve them at any event.

What’s even better is that they go great with a variety of dishes. You can easily find foods that will complement this delicious cut of meat.

Some of our favorite pairs include:

  • Russet potatoes. You can’t go wrong with steak and potatoes. You can serve them however you like. Fried, mashed, and roasted are all good options. If you really want to make the perfect pairing, go with a loaded baked potato! 
  • Sweet potatoes. Change things up with sweet potatoes. They create the perfect combo of sweet and savory.
  • Other vegetables. Use olive oil to roast asparagus or green beans. Or, create a medley of onions, squash, carrots, and other delicious veggies.

Conclusion

We hope you find this t-bone steak recipe guide helpful. With these step-by-step instructions, you should end up with delicious, melt-in-your-mouth steaks.

If you know who you’re serving, we recommend asking for their temperature preferences ahead of time – this way, you can prepare to wow them with their ideal t-bone cut and delicious sides.

Kim Hitzfield

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