The Simple Step That Takes Air Fryer Steak Above And Beyond

The beauty of cooking with an air fryer is that you use a lot less oil or fat and the cooking time is slashed tremendously. While you can have an air fried steak on the table in mere minutes, there is a catch to be aware of. When conventionally cooking meat over the grill or searing on the stove top, any inherent fat renders off — because it has time to. Since a steak will cook swiftly in an air fryer, the fat does not have enough time to heat up and liquify, especially if you like your beef on the rarer side. If you opt for a cut with subcutaneous fat around the outside of the meat, it will be done cooking long before that fat has a chance to melt off. You'll be left with chewy chunks of fat you'll have to gnaw your way through.

There's an easy solution to this conundrum. Simply cut the visible fat off prior to cooking the steak. There's really no need to rub the steak with any oil prior to cooking, but you can opt to slick a little bit of olive oil over it if you wish.

The best cuts of steak to cook in the air fryer

The steak cuts best suited for the air fryer are those with more intramuscular fat. Known as marbling, this type of fat consists of thin threads that run throughout the muscle, as opposed to large sections of white fat surrounding the meat. When heated, they melt and imbue flavor and moisture throughout the steak. Because they are so thin, this happens fairly quickly and a few minutes in an air fryer will do the trick. The air fryer will give the meat a nice sear and crust while the inside stays juicy and tender.

Ribeye and a New York strip make excellent matches for the air fryer. They are both very flavorful, beefy cuts of steak and have generous marbling and less subcutaneous fat than other cuts. Trim off any outside fat in excess of ¼ inch to avoid chewy bits and potential drippings. Top round and tri-tip are other great options for air frying. They, too, are very flavorful with little subcutaneous fat. They are thinner cuts than ribeye and strip so they'll benefit from a pre-cooking marinade. With cuts thicker than 1 inch it's a bit more difficult to gauge the level of doneness, so stick to thinner cuts until you get the hang of cooking steak in the air fryer.