Pan Seared T-Bone Steak

My pan-seared T-bone steak stands out due to the perfect combination of ingredients and proper cooking techniques. The tenderloin portion’s tenderness and the strip portion’s flavor make the T-bone steak uniquely delicious, especially with the right combination of salt, finely ground pepper, butter, garlic cloves, and fresh rosemary. Trust me; you don’t need anything else to get the best out of this steak.

Preparing a T-bone steak in a skillet can be challenging due to its bone and the two different cuts on either side. However, my clear instructions will guide you through the process, helping you prevent any potential issues during cooking.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To prepare a delicious t-bone steak in a skillet, you only need a handful of ingredients, most of which you likely already have at home:

  • A 1.5 to 2 inches thick T-bone steak
  • High-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • Kosher salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh Thyme or Rosemary

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Cook T-bone Steak on a Stove

Below, I provide a step-by-step guide on how to cook a delicious T-bone steak in a skillet on the stove. The T-bone steak is a more challenging cut than other steaks, so it’s important to pay close attention to my valuable tips. These will help you avoid common mistakes often made by inexperienced cooks. If this is your first time cooking a T-bone steak in a skillet, I recommend reading the instructions multiple times.

raw t-bone steak, fresh rosemary, and garlic cloves on a wooden cutting board, and salt, ground pepper, avocado oil, and butter in bowls
All ingredients for pan-seared t-bone steak

Note: For this recipe, I’m using a T-bone steak that’s 1.5 inches thick. When purchasing a T-bone steak, opt for a cut that’s ideally between 1.5 and 2 inches thick. I emphasize this recommendation frequently for this cut because a steak of this particular thickness ensures you achieve the desired internal doneness while still achieving a beautiful crust on the exterior.

Step 1: Prepare the T-bone Steak

salt seasoned t-bone steak on a steak revolution wood cutting board
Salt-seasoned t-bone steak

A common question is: When should you salt the steak? The timing of salting depends on when you plan to cook the steak and the desired outcome. I’ve explored three salting options, and here’s my take on them:

  • My Preferred Method: Start by patting the steak dry with paper towels. Next, generously salt it on all sides, including the edges. Once salted, place the steak on a rack that allows free air flow and refrigerate it for 24 hours. The following day, let it rest at room temperature for around 30 minutes. After this, move on to the next step of the recipe (seasoning with pepper and preheating the pan).
  • A Quicker Alternative: Remove the steak from the refrigerator and pat it dry. Generously salt all its surfaces and let it sit at room temperature for 40-50 minutes. If the steak still appears wet, give it another pat down to remove excess moisture before moving to the next step.
  • For Those in a Hurry: If you don’t want to wait, remove the steak from the refrigerator and pat it dry, then let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes without salting. When you’re ready to sear, season the steak after your pan has preheated. This way, the salt won’t draw out too much moisture from the meat before the steak hits the pan.
T-bone steak, 5 minutes after salting
T-bone steak, 5 minutes after salting
T-bone steak, 24 hours after salting
T-bone steak, 24 hours after salting

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Heat the skillet over high heat for 3-4 minutes until it reaches a temperature of around 450-500°F. Then, add a teaspoon of oil with a high smoke point and let it heat for one minute. While waiting, season the steak on each side with finely ground pepper. If you haven’t already salted the steak, now is a good time to do so. Once seasoned, you can move on to step three: cooking.

T-bone steak seasoned with ground black pepper
T-bone steak seasoned with ground black pepper

Note: Be careful when placing the steak in the pan, as the skillet and the oil will be extremely hot. For the oil, always opt for one with a high smoke point. I recommend using refined avocado oil with a smoke point of about 510°F.

Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.
Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.

Step 3: Place the T-bone Steak in the Skillet

Carefully place the steak in the skillet to avoid burning your hand. Once it’s in, gently press it with a spoon or tongs to ensure maximum contact with the skillet’s surface. To develop a better crust, press down on the steak with your spoon or tongs after each flip.

Flip the steak every 1-2 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches approximately 100°F, then reduce the heat to low and move to the next step.

Note: An instant-read thermometer is essential for achieving the perfect steak doneness every time you cook. Typically, with this recipe, the steak reaches an internal temperature of 100°F in about 4-5 minutes. However, it’s essential not to rely purely on time, as various factors can alter the steak’s cooking rate. What is the best approach? Always use an instant-read thermometer.

Step 4: Baste the T-bone Steak with Butter

Add the crushed garlic clove, rosemary or thyme, and butter to the pan. As the butter melts, take the opportunity to sear the steak’s sides.

T-bone steak, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
T-bone steak, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.

Is the butter mostly melted? If so, move the steak to the upper section of the pan. Meanwhile, tilt the pan to gather the melted butter, browned garlic, and herbs at the bottom. Next, take a spoon and consistently baste the steak with this flavorful butter for 30 to 60 seconds on each side. After basting, check the steak’s temperature. If it’s approximately 15-20°F below your desired temperature, remove the steak from the pan and let it rest.

Baste the t-bone steak with the melted butter
Baste the t-bone steak with the melted butter

For medium-rare doneness (130-135°F), I removed the steak from the pan when its internal temperature reached around 115°F. If you prefer a different level of doneness, keep the steak in the pan longer.

Note: Only add butter at the end of cooking, and make sure the heat is reduced to low. A common mistake is adding butter too early or keeping the heat high at the end of cooking. This can lead to burned butter, which ruins the steak’s flavor. With a low smoke point of around 300°F, butter isn’t ideal for searing. Therefore, follow the recipe’s instructions and add it only at the end of the searing.

Step 5: Let the T-bone Steak Rest

I understand that many people might be hesitant about this step, but trust me, letting the steak rest on the cutting board for at least 5 minutes is crucial. Resting allows the muscle fibers to relax and the juices to redistribute throughout the steak.

Internal T-bone Steak filet section Temperature 133
Internal T-bone Steak filet section Temperature 133.2°F
Internal T-bone Steak Strip section Temperature 130
Internal T-bone Steak Strip section Temperature 130.3°F

If you skip the resting step and cut into the steak immediately, you’ll lose a significant amount of its juices. So, regardless of the type of steak you’re pan-cooking, always wait those few minutes. You’ll notice a substantial difference.

pan-seared t-bone steak; medium-rare doneness
Pan-seared t-bone steak; medium-rare doneness
Pan-seared t-bone steak; medium-rare doneness

Pan Seared T-Bone Steak

Adam Wojtow
Try my pan-seared T-bone steak for a taste of home cooking done right. It's got that ideal crust; the inside is super juicy, and the fresh herbs and butter take it to the next level.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 T-bone steak 1.5 to 2 inches thick
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ stick butter unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon High-smoke point oil I recommend refined avocado oil
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • thyme or rosemary fresh

Instructions
 

  • Get the Steak Ready:
    If you have time, salt that steak and leave it in the fridge for a whole day. Bring it out half an hour before you cook.
    In a rush? Salt it and leave it out for about 40-50 minutes.
    No time at all? Just let it sit out for 30 minutes and salt it right before it hits the pan.
  • Preheat Cast Iron Skillet:
    Heat on high for 3-4 mins until 450-500°F. Add a teaspoon of high-smoke point oil and wait another minute.
  • Season the Steak:
    Season with finely ground pepper. If not pre-salted, salt now.
  • Cook the Steak:
    Carefully place steak in skillet and press down for maximum contact. Flip every 1-2 mins until internal temperature reaches 100°F, then reduce heat to low and move on.
  • Baste the Steak:
    Toss in some crushed garlic, your choice of herb, and a good knob of butter. Once the butter’s melted, tilt the pan and spoon it over the steak for 30-60 seconds per side. Take it off the heat when it's about 15-20°F below your desired temp.
  • Let the Steak Rest:
    Rest on the cutting board for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Always use an instant-read thermometer for accurate doneness.
  • Only add butter at the end to avoid burning.
  • Choose steak cut between 1.5 and 2 inches for best results.

More Pan-Seared Steak Recipes To Try

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.