Think Twice Before Pan-Searing T-Bone Steak

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Pan-seared steak creates perfectly juicy meat every time, particularly for ribeyes, tenderloins, and strip steaks, according to Serious Eats. The trick is to brown the outside of the meat on high heat after a couple of minutes per side before letting it cook the rest of the way, notes The Kitchn. Not only does caramelizing the outside of the steak seal in the juices throughout the cooking time, but it also adds deep flavors — thanks to the oil, butter, and flavorings seared into the outer layer of the meat. If you're looking for the right pan to sear steaks, consider cast iron, since it holds and maintains heat very well. Plenty of fantastic brands offer high-quality cast iron skillets for pan-searing steak.

T-bone steaks are beautiful cuts of steak, says Serious Eats. On one side of the bone, you get New York strip steak — fatty and marbled — and the other side of the bone is a tenderloin you'll find in filet mignon. You get the best of both worlds: One side is easier to chew while the other has plenty of flavor from the fat. You might be tempted to pan-sear a T-bone for convenience when you want the delectable flavor from this higher-end cut of meat. But you might reconsider pan-searing this cut of steak — at least while the meat is still on the bone.

The bone is why pan-searing is trouble for T-bones

Although it's possible to pan-sear a T-bone, the process isn't ideal for this cut of steak, according to Serious Eats. The outside of the meat sears very quickly on high heat, which shrinks the steak as it releases the juices. But the bone doesn't shrink, and the meat stays attached to it. The surface of the steak may not contact with the high heat of the pan very well, which makes browning the surface harder. A lack of browning prevents the fat and juices from building up inside.

Rather than pan-searing T-bone, try broiling in the oven or grilling with the bone in, says Serious Eats. Besides, you'll have more room in the oven or grill, because T-bone steaks take up a lot of space in the pan. Another solution is to cut the meat from the bone. That solves both dilemmas with pan-searing and a lack of room in the pan. You might be able to fit two or three New York strips in a single pan versus a single T-bone. 

A T-bone measures anywhere from 8 inches to a foot long, according to Crowd Cow. Meanwhile, a New York Strip is about ½ to ¾ of that size, also from Crowd Cow. Then you can use the tenderloin for bacon-wrapped filet mignon, fitting four of them in a single pan. All it takes is a few extra minutes to cut the steak from the bone with a sharp knife.