As you may have seen, I’ve posted here in the past about my inability to get good sear results despite approaching it several different ways. Well, I finally tried something that seems kind of obvious, and it worked! I didn’t even use a special pan, just my regular old (actually new) non-stick skillet. (I know those things are gonna kill me.) I had a porterhouse (my first ever porter), dropped a wad of butter in the skillet and heated until the butter was smoking and sizzling. I dropped the steak in and cooked each side for about 30-40 seconds. The result: a nice dark crust completely covering both sides of the steak.
A cast iron skillet should work better because you can heat it to a higher temperature. A mix of oil and butter would also allow for a higher temperature. Cover the bottom of the skillet with oil; don’t be stingy!
Yes, cast iron is wonderful for searing but that comment about mixing oil and butter “would allow for a higher temperature” is a myth. Mixing oil and butter will not change the smoke point of either.
For higher temperature searing use an oil with a high smoke point (eg. avocado or sunflower) and add the butter near the end of the sear so it doesn’t have time to burn. My preference is to use clarified butter. Higher smoke point (around 450F) and still has that nice buttery flavour. I can sear several steaks in succession without worrying about burning milk solids.
Here’s a useful page on oils and smoke points: https://anovaculinary.com/the-anova-overview-to-cooking-oils-smoke-points/
I have found good, sear, results with a cast iron oiled skillet, butter near end. If your method works, go for it smile: Results are what works for you.
Another option is to use ghee. Look up slow cooker ghee for an easy way.
Excellent idea, @stevej. Thanks for this!
My flame thrower torch from Harbor Freight works so well, I can’t imagine ever doing it any other way. And what’s even better, is that I got a propane splitter for the big tank we have on our BBQ’er, so I don’t have to keep unhooking the BBQ’er to hook up the flame thrower, then back and forth.
And the greatest thing, is that I also use the BBQ grille, as a perfect place to lay my meat when searing It’s just a beautiful thing
Oh, and another thing that’s better about the torch than pan searing (IMPO) is that I can concentrate the heat on certain parts, like the fat shoulder, vs. heating the whole thing, which might not need as much searing…