Alton Brown's 30-Second Rule For The Perfect Crust On Steak

For meat lovers, perhaps no dish out there can produce as much nirvana upon that first bite as a generously-seasoned, perfectly-seared, and patiently-rested steak. Whether your cut of choice is a beefy ribeye, a well-marbled porterhouse, the steakhouse favorite New York strip, or a classic filet mignon, there can be little better than a nice, juicy steak accompanied by the perfect side dish, such as buttery parsley potatoes or beer-battered onion rings.

Correctly cooking steak at home is a rather straightforward matter, but if you're just starting out with steak cookery, you might encounter a few pitfalls. Mistakes that might trip you up with steak include under seasoning the meat, choosing a too-lean cut, or cutting into it too soon (via Reader's Digest) — and another common error, according to "Good Eats" host Alton Brown, is moving the steak around too much once it's hit your carefully preheated pan.

Leave the steak in the pan for a good 30 seconds for a nice crust

If you're a fan of Alton Brown, you know the food whiz has a knack for breaking down complicated-seeming cooking tasks into their most approachable steps. So it isn't surprising that when it comes to demystifying the process of getting a beautiful brown sear on a piece of steak, Brown's solution is simple: Follow the 30-second rule.

When searing steak in a pan, you've got to resist the urge to move it around too much, lest you jolt its developing crust loose before it's truly browned and set (via Insider). But if you want to know exactly how patient you've go to be, 30 seconds is a good guideline. In a video clip from "Good Eats" in which he prepares a steak, Brown preheats his cast iron skillet in the oven, moves it to the stovetop, and then plunks his salted, peppered, and canola-oiled steak onto it — and leaves it alone.

"Do not touch this for 30 seconds," Brown counsels. After the half minute is up, he flips the steak with his tongs and remarks, "Now, see — that brown crust. That's what we're after." After an additional 30-second sear on the second side, Brown transfers his now perfectly crusted steak to the oven to cook through. And then? More patience comes into play with a three-minute resting time before digging in. "Be patient," Brown says. "I promise, you will be rewarded."