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Every time my friends come over for dinner in the summer, they know what I’m cooking: Steak. Not to brag, but I’ve pretty much perfected the art after cooking them for the past three years, with my favorite being a tried-and-true New York strip. I cook it at least once a week in the summer, and while the cut of the meat is important, the tools are just as crucial.
In fact, once I started using a cast iron skillet to sear up my steaks, they’ve seriously never tasted better. That’s not the only rave-worthy tool I use, though — I’m always reaching for my carving knife, and my pair of prep and serve trays are beyond helpful
If you’re looking forward to a steak-filled season, read on to discover my seven favorite tools to use. Best of all, prices start at just $16. Transforming your steak from grocery store weeknight dinner to restaurant quality at home has never been easier.
7 of the Best Products for Cooking Steaks:
Lodge 10.25-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
To buy: $20 (originally $34) at amazon.com
First thing’s first: I personally like to cook my steak on the stovetop instead of the grill, as I find it keeps all of the juices locked in. I always reach for a trusty cast iron skillet, and I love my Lodge one. . This one comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil right out of the box, plus, it can be used everywhere from the campfire to the grill and everywhere in between depending on if I want to venture beyond the stovetop. Beyond its versatile usage, cooking up a steak in one of these babies is one of the easiest routes to a perfectly cooked meal. I personally love to keep it simple in a cast iron skillet by seasoning with salt and pepper and basting with butter, rosemary, and garlic. Maybe I’ll throw it in the oven for a little reverse-sear action if I’m feeling fancy.
Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer
To buy: $16 (originally $20) at amazon.com
Getting an accurate internal temperature reading on your steak is crucial to making sure it’s ready. I love this pick from Alpha Grillers because it has a super fast response time (2 to 3 seconds) and the backlit digital screen is easy to read, regardless of whether you’re using it on the grill or indoors. While there are other more expensive options, like the Meater, which connects straight to your phone, this one is really all you need. I use it every time, and the results are always perfect.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
To buy: $16 at amazon.com
I used to grab a spatula to flip my steak, but recently, I made the switch to this stainless steel pair of tongs from OXO. I especially love the non-slip handles that even have thumb rests to ensure you have a solid grip before picking anything up. They’re also dishwasher-safe, which makes cleaning up afterwards a breeze. Plus, I love the click-click sounds they make.
Cuisinart Grilling Prep and Serve Trays
To buy: $22 (originally $33) at amazon.com
There’s nothing more annoying than having to go back and forth constantly to bring out whatever you’re cooking up next — that’s why I love these prep and serve trays from Cuisinart, which are specifically designed to make the transportation process easier. It comes with two trays: A red one for raw meat and a black one for finished meat, both of which nest together for easy storage. At 17 by 10.5-inches, they’re a good size, and are even made from a shatter-proof material. They help me stay organized, and make the cooking process go so much smoother.
Checkered Chef Cooling Rack
To buy: $18 at amazon.com
A cooling rack can be used for a variety of things in the kitchen — I use mine the most for finishing off cookies and cakes, but I also love to rest meat on it. At an affordable price point, you can snag a two-pack of these cooling racks from Checkered Chef, made from stainless steel construction and dishwasher-safe. They’re sized at 8 by 11-¾ inches which means they should fit most standard ovens and cookie sheets, too. An additional perk? The material is warp-resistant so they should last a good long time.
OXO Pepper Grinder
To buy: $18 at amazon.com
While a pepper grinder isn’t a total must-have for cooking steaks, it’s definitely a nice luxury, and this pick from OXO is my top choice. It has five grinding settings (yes, five) while the ceramic design pledges not to absorb any flavor from your peppercorns of choice. The body of the grinder is BPA-free and, when you’re ready to refill it, all you have to do is turn it over and uncap it instead of funneling in those pesky spheres and getting them all over the counter. We’ve all been there. The ergonomic design makes it easy to grind pepper onto my steak, ensuring they are always properly seasoned.
Cutluxe Slicing Carving Knife
To buy: $34 (originally $60) at amazon.com
I’m generally a believer in splurging on a carving knife for your kitchen, especially if you’re a frequent griller or meat eater. This option from Cutluxe isn’t too expensive, but it still has nice features that result in easy, even cuts. I love that the knife has a sharp edge for effortless carving, while the handle offers a comfortable, ergonomic grip. It’s also 12-inches long, which means I can slice through my New York strip with one swift motion.
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