I've never made steak before (20 years as a vegetarian). I have grass fed rib eye steak and I thought I would pan sear it, but i have some questions.
1) all the recipes that I've found call for either olive oil or canola oil. I don't want to use canola oil and I thought olive oil was not to be used for such high heat as this as it turns it rancid. Anyone else make steak and use a different oil
2) Is the searing itself bad? I seem to remember reading somewhere that searing meat oxidizes it and renders it harmful for your health - free radicals and such. ...?
Yes, using olive oil in cooking damages the oil. However, I typically bake my steak in the oven until it reaches an internal temp of about 150...that is about medium rare to medium and let it sit for a while after taking it out of the oven.
If you pan sear, then I think the best oil that you can use is coconut oil.
I believe the second part of our question regarding the oxidation if referring to PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which are formed when meat is placed on a grill, the fat liquifies and drips into the fire, therefore causing the release of PAH's which attach themselves to the meat. But this is just for grilling, and a great way to grill without PAH's is by using a cast iron skillet on top of the grill. Pan searing is safe since the fats do not come into direct contact with the heat source and there is a barrier between the two.
I think it has been proven that searing in no way "seals in the juices" - instead it simply gives the meat a different flavor as opposed to just baking or slow cooking the piece. I do not prepare steaks in my house, maybe once in awhile in the summer, but do prefer the taste of a seared steak, in which case I will sear it in a pan and then finish it in the oven - or use the cast iron skillet on the grill.
I would say raw coconut oil would be your best bet.
The way I do it, is I preheat my oven to 500 degrees (though 400-500 is fine) and I grease my cast iron skillet with some bacon grease. Then I heat the skillet in the oven for 5-10 minutes so it's really hot. Then I turn the oven on High broil and throw the steak on the super hot skillet and make sure it's directly under the broiler heat.
It makes a great steak. :-) especially if you use some flaked or kosher salt on the steak to make it crispy. Make sure the meat is well marbeled, it's better eating.
We use ghee and it works and tastes great! If your pan is hot enough (at least this is true with our cast iron pans), you don't really *need* to add fat per se. But the ghee adds a nice nutty flavor IMHO.
I don't use grease when I cook steaks. I slap them into a hot dry CI skillet. But then my butchers never trim all the fat off, so there's enough on the steak itself to keep it nice and juicy.
I know its not a ribeye, but i made minute steak tonight with some grassfed beef cutlets. My cast iron had a little bit of bacon grease in it and i did my thing that way. It was DELICIOUS! :)