When it comes to cooking steak, thicker is better. Achieving that perfect sear on the outside and juicy goodness in the inside is just a lot easier to do with thicker cuts.
Often the thickness of steak is overlooked, but the thin supermarket-style cuts can destroy high quality beef. There’s a huge margin of error in cooking thin steaks, and the reason for this is quite simple. The heat has to travel less to reach the steak’s centre, making it easy to overcook.
Because of this, the bare minimum for recommended steak thickness is 1 inch (the exception being naturally thin cuts, like flank and skirt).
Beware - supermarkets often sell their steaks at one-inch thickness (or less) simply to move more stock. Don’t waste your money on a well-marbled, only to find it’s overdone before you’ve built up a good sear.
Cooking Thin Steak
For thin cuts of steak, its best to use extreme heat for short periods. Sear it quickly so the heat doesn’t have the time to penetrate much further than the surface. Get your pan or grill up to the hottest it can manage, and then sear each side for about 60 seconds.
Cooking Extra-Thick Steak
If you ordered some 3-inch cowboy style ribeyes, its best to use the reverse-sear technique. This allows you cook your steak at a lower temperature to bring it up to doneness, and then sear it at a much higher temperature. You’ll get a juicier steak overall and less heat penetration, resulting in a more even centre. Keep in mind that a thicker steak also needs more seasoning.
The Sweet Spot: 1.5 Inches
The best steaks, especially premium cuts like ribeyes, are around 1.5 inches (3.8cm) in thickness. With a 1.5-inch thick steak, the steak’s centre is better insulated compared to thinner steaks, allowing you to be much more precise when it comes to doneness.