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How Long To Let Steak Rest Before Cooking

How Long To Let Steak Rest Before Cooking

Few things can excite people, like a juicy, delicious steak. A tasty, moist, succulent steak can brighten up a dark day, whether it is a ribeye, ranch, or Tomahawk steak. 

However, tough, dry steaks are extremely unpleasant. Luckily you can prevent this by resting your steak.

Resting steak is essential if you want a juicy, tender, and, most importantly, delicious steak. Most people think steak is supposed to rest after it is cooked. However, the steak should also be allowed to rest before its cooked. 

I know what you’re thinking; resting steak before it cooks. That sounds crazy. Trust me; once you rest your steak before it cooks, you will never go back to cooking steak the same way. 

Should I Let Steak Sit Before Cooking?

While I could simply say yes, you should rest the steak before cooking, let me explain why you should try this trick. In simple terms, letting a steak sit out before cooking impacts how it cooks. 

Sometimes cooking a steak can seem as simple as placing the steak into a skillet. However, all steak lovers and enthusiasts know steak is much more complex. 

If you desire a steak with a rich deep brown crust without overcooking it, you need to trigger the Maillard reaction as soon as possible.

The Milliard reaction is a chain reaction of chemical reactions that cause meats like steak to develop a rich brown crust. 

High temperatures trigger the Milliard reaction. This is why experts believe it’s best to let the steak rest before cooking it.

The steak’s temperature before it hits the pan or grill drastically affects the end result of your steak. 

Before the steak enters the Milliard reaction, two other changes must occur. First, the steak must enter the temperature stage. In this stage, the steak’s temperature increases.

Once the steak’s temperature reaches 212°F, the boiling point of water, it will enter the evaporation phase. 

During the evaporation phase, the hot skillet or grill grates cause the moisture on the steak’s surface to evaporate. 

The evaporation phase takes up most of the steak cooking process. Therefore, you do not want to move the steak once it touches the pan or grill.

The Milliard reaction will not occur until the majority of the moisture on the surface of the steak vanishes. 

Some people do not believe in resting steak before it cooks. However, letting the steak rest ensures it browns evenly. If you place a cold steak into a hot pan, it will brown unevenly. 

Furthermore, by the time your steak’s internal temperature reaches an internal temperature between 130°-140°F medium-rare, the outside will be black and burned. Therefore, it’s best to let the steak rest before cooking it. 

Is It Safe To Let Steak Sit at Room Temperature?

Everyone knows that food will eventually spoil. However, specific foods are prone to rotting more than others.

For example, meat and dairy products are prone to spoiling. Since steak is meat, it is susceptible to becoming rancid.  

You should not leave steak out for long periods of time because of the danger zone. The danger zone is a specific group of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. 

Bacteria develop at a rapid rate at these temperatures. Because of the way steak is fabricated, it is at greater risk of becoming tainted with dangerous bacteria. 

Therefore, the USDA asserts that steak should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the temperature of the room is at or above 90°F, the steak can only be left out for 1 hour. 

How Long To Let Steak Rest Before Cooking 

So, how long should it rest at room temperature if steak cannot be left out for more than two hours? You would have to examine the steak’s size and thickness to find the exact time.

For example, a 1-inch Denver steak will take less time to come down to room temperature than a 2-inch tomahawk steak. 

Therefore, the average time to let a steak rest is 30 minutes to 1 hour. However, let’s dig a little deeper into how long to rest the steak before cooking. 

A 6-ounce steak needs 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature, while an 8-ounce steak takes 20-25 minutes.

Ten-ounce steaks need to rest for 25-30 minutes, and 12-ounce steaks need 30-35 minutes before cooking. 

Larger steaks need more time to rest. For example, a 1 1/2-pound steak will need 40-45 minutes to rest. 

A 1 3/4-pound steak will need 45-50 minutes to come to room temperature. If your steak is 2 pounds or more, it’s best to let it sit for an hour. 

Remember, the steak can only sit out for 1-2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature, before it gets tainted with too much bacteria. It’s easy to forget you left your steak sitting on the countertop. So set a timer, so you do not forget about your steak and have to toss it in the trash. 

Should You Rest Steak After Cooking?

Since we are talking about resting meat before it cooks, we should also cover whether or not to let the steak rest after it’s cooked. 

Yes, you should always let your steak. This is because the muscle fibers will stiffen and tighten as the steak cooks.

If you slice your steak as soon as it comes off the grill, the juices will literally pool on your butcher block. 

The muscle fibers will relax as the steak rests, allowing the juices to redistribute into the steak. Ultimately, if you do not let the steak rest, you will end up with tough, dry steak. 

It does not matter which steak cut you are cooking, let it rest at least 5-10 minutes after it is cooked. In contrast, bigger steaks will need about 10-15 minutes to rest. 

Final Thoughts

Resting a steak before it cooks is just as important as resting after it is cooked. Letting the steak rest creates the most beautiful sear, and it helps the steak cook more evenly.

If you do not rest the steak before it is cooked, say goodbye to that perfectly seared and evenly cooked steak. 

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