Is It Better To Grill Or Pan Fry Steak?

The answer depends on how you like your meat cooked and your health considerations. Both grilling and frying have their pros and cons.

In other words, some people prefer one over the other according to their taste. It’s not a competition; just a battle of preferences, so to speak.

To understand which option you should choose, you need to understand both intimately. Here is some information that can help.

The Case For Grilling the Steak

Grilling meat not only retains its nutritional value but also makes it plate-ready. The best type of meat that grills well includes filet, rib eye, and porterhouse.

Chances are you may not get these every time, though. That’s fine. Just ask the butcher to prepare those for you.

You can also ask them if the choices they have on display are prime grade or not. A top of the range cut lies quite close to prime in terms of quality.

Chances are your first grilling experience will be on a barbecue. If it has a lid, be careful.

You should grill vegetables with the top open so they cook and can burn quickly. If you are grilling thick cuts of meat, you should close the top. This includes whole roasts and boney chicken steaks.

Benefits Of Grilling Steak

Here are some benefits of grilling a steak:

It Requires Only A Tiny Bit Of Oil

If you love to grill steaks, you know that a little oil goes a long way. Grilled steaks have more moisture.

This means you won’t have to reach for oil, butter, or shortening. Since it is not drenched in oil, your cholesterol intake reduces as well.

Grilling does not drain all the fat from the steak, though. It just reduces it enough to aid in weight loss. Toss some veggies on the grill as well, and you have a healthy meal.

It Adds Flavor

Grilled meat has a distinct flavor that foodies really love. The taste may also differ, depending on the source of the heat used.

Whether you use gas, wood, or charcoal, you will get a different flavor each time. You can even experiment with different types of charcoal.

Your steak will taste unique each time. In fact, with the right grilling technique, you may not need to season much.

It Doesn’t Reduce The Meat’s Nutritional Value

Since grilling allows the meat to roast gently, the cooking process preserves its nutritional value.

This includes thiamine and riboflavin, which gives steak its nutritional value. The meat basically cooks in its own juices. This enhances flavor and makes it super-healthy.

It Is Ideal For Picnics

Unlike pan-frying, you can grill meat outdoors as well as indoors. Plus, you won’t have to breathe in the smoke it produces.

It dissipates in the open air. It is one of the reasons why a barbecue is still a beloved family past time.

A day filled with activities followed by a healthy and delicious lunch. What’s not to love?

Top Grilling Tips

  • Grilling is a healthier alternative to pan-frying. However, the health benefits you get from it will depend on the choices you make. For instance, go for the leanest beef when you plan on making burgers on the grill. Plus, add veggies, such as onions, sweet corns, or sweet potato as side dishes. Those are less fatty than say fries or mayo-filled coleslaw.
  • If you are grilling just for the sake of grilling, go for a cut that is an inch thick. The thickness will help you get a perfect red center. It will look pretty impressive once you start carving.
  • Finish off the grilled steak with some finishing salt after slicing it. If you don’t have time to temper the meat beforehand, season the meat immediately before grilling. Do this within 40 minutes of grilling. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get a nice char or crust on the meat.
  • Allow the charcoal to get red hot before placing the steaks on the grill. It should take 20 or 30 minutes to get that hot. That way, you will have evenly distributed heat across the grill. It will also reduce smoke and prevent flare-ups. The meat will also remain tender on the outside and crispy on the outside.
  • Crack your own pepper. The spicy granules will add crunch and flavor and a burst of flavor to the steak. The pieces don’t have to be even, and you don’t need a pepper mill. Just place some peppercorns in a plastic bag and crush them with a mallet.
  • Oil the meat rather than the grill. An even oily coat of vegetable oil will ensure a perfect and even cook.
  • Invest in a digital thermometer to check if the meat is done. A rare steak should have an internal temperature of 125 degrees. A medium-rare should be 130 degrees. A rare steak should be 155 degrees.
  • Don’t cut into a steak that is hot off the grill. Allow it to rest for eight minutes but wrap it in foil first. The fibers of the meat will relax and allow the juices to flow to the center. This will give the meat more flavor and make it juicier as well.

The Case For Pan Frying the Steak

Pan-frying is not favored by health experts. That’s because this technique utilizes excess oil and fat to cook meat.

However, it produces steaks that melt in the mouth and are a feast for the eyes as well.

Also read: Is Pan Frying Actually Healthy?

Contrary to popular belief, pan-frying and deep-frying are not the same.

Deep frying requires a higher temperature compared to the former. It can cook the meat through, but you will have difficulty achieving the cook you need.

Pan-frying can also cook the meat through, provided you are vigilant. Plus, it is ideal for getting a gorgeous brown char on the surface.

If you deep fry meat, it will have a crispy golden top and a juicy center. If you pan-fry it, it will be tender and brown. Plus, you will have to flip the steak once or twice during pan-frying to get an even cook.

If the temperature is not hot enough, you may get a soggy and oily steak.

In the end, the frying method you use depends on what you are frying. For example, you should deep fry cheese sticks and onion rings. This will preserve their juiciness and maintain the crust.

Benefits of Pan Frying

  • Pan-frying is a fast process, from start to finish. That is if the meat you are cooking is suitable for it.
  • Pan-frying brings out the flavor of meat and adds texture to it as well. This results in a great looking dish.
  • It retains the inner moisture of the meat while making it crispy on the outside.
  • If done correctly, pan-frying can retain the nutritional value of steaks. That bubbling and hissing is the water in the meat turning to steam. However, this depends on the meat you are cooking. For example, if you pan-fry tuna, you will reduce its nutrient content by 70%. Adversely, pan-frying potato wedges maintain their vitamin B and C content.

Pan Frying Tips

  • Only buy the best steaks for pan searing. This includes boneless ones that are about an inch or an inch and a half thick. Good examples are New York strip steak or a boneless rib-eye. Plus, make sure the meat has good marbling throughout. If you don’t find these, ask the butcher to cut you fresh steaks. This is important because a thick steak remains juicy in the center when it is cooking. Plus, the meat retains its texture and unique flavor well.
  • Season the steak well. You can do one of two things. You can season it before the searing to get a nice crust. On the other hand, by seasoning it a day before, you can get a more flavorful steak. However, this will make the meat moist, which can prevent a crust from forming.
  • Time is of the essence when you pan fry steak. You need to cook the meat at a high temperature and quickly. Use the heaviest pan you have for this and place it on high heat. Add the meat to the pan when it starts to smoke a bit. The high heat will create a nice crust on the meat.
  • Keep the steak moving when you are pan-frying. Turn or flip it every minute or so. This will create a thin and even crust on the outside. Add some butter and herbs at the end to make a hot baste. Finish the meat by basting it with a large spoon. Continue flipping the steak till it is done.

Whether you love to grill or pan fry your steaks, both offer great flavor.

Most people choose based on the health benefits, taste, and texture of the meat.

Of course, without the perfect cut, you won’t be able to make the most of either.

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