Who Loved You With His Frozen Love

This is not normally how I eat, but man is it enjoyable every now and then to tuck into an immaculately cooked hunk of grass-fed sirloin. A nearby market has begun carrying beef from a farm across the river, about 20 miles away, which is actually run by a vegetarian who cares so deeply for animals that she raises ones that carnivores can eat in good conscience. With the family out for the evening, I indulged.

I have written before about cooking beef and lamb straight out of the freezer; especially with thinner cuts, it’s the only way to get a proper sear on the outside without cooking the inside to a despondent grey. All the recipes that tell you to bring your meat up to room temperature before cooking it are frankly wrong. This piece was thick enough (an inch and a half ) that fridge-cold was sufficient for me to put a righteous, buttery crust on both sides, but for steaks or chops an inch or less in thickness frozen is best. After a ten minute rest, it was perfect outside and in. I made a quick pan sauce with capers, herbes de Provence (duh), mustard, and a bit of kimchi brine, and put a big mound of kimchi on one side of the plate and a smaller spoonful of good mustard on the other.

What a satisfying plate of food. The only thing that could have improved the meal was a bottle of good Burgundy, but since I was getting over the cold I took it easy and had one IPA instead.

Seriously, though: use this technique. You can be as aggressive as you want in the pan or on the grill without worrying that you have ruined a beautiful piece of meat. Especially when it’s pastured—which, let’s face it, is the only meat you eat, right?—and has less intramuscular fat than factory-farmed animals. The only other way to get the inside this pink and the outside so dark is to cook it sous vide, then chill it, and then fry it. And that’s more work and gadgetry than most people can manage. I’m going to keep bringing this up until everyone is converted. Cook frozen steaks.

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  1. holy fuck me running!!!!!! I haven’t seen a steak I wanted so bad since Linda aka Salty Seattle made Beef Wellington with that perfectly pink and juicy midsection.

    I have never before tired the frozen steak method, but I will now, and perhaps, I shall fall in love. Thanks Peter!

  2. October 22

    You just explained something for me. I’ve never put together how it is possible to cook thin steaks and have an edible result. Never considered starting frozen. I’m going to try this as part of my smaller portion smaller midsection campaign!

  3. October 23

    I’m shaking my head – seems impossible – but, heck, I’m going to try it! Tired of grey steaks.

  4. Elizabeth
    October 23

    How long did you cook it on either side frozen to still cook it and get the pink? I’m new to this and I would love to make and enjoy a piece of meat like that!!

    • Peter
      October 23

      I didn’t time it. Do you know the poke test for doneness? It’s your best guide. You want it not squishy soft and NOT firm.

  5. EL
    October 24

    I have been doing burgers this way for a long time (I rarely have much money for steak) and they are delicious whether on the grill or in the pan. Since I generally am mixing in bison or venison it really helps.

  6. October 29

    Holy cow that looks delicious! Did you sear it in cast iron? That’s my favorite. It just sears SO well and seems to taste just that much better.

    Making me hungry!

    • Peter
      October 29

      Yep, cast iron. I use it for almost everything.

  7. Victoria
    December 13

    Tried it. Count me among the converted.

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