Pan-seared top blade steak with garlic, butter, and herbs is super tasty. Let me walk you through how to cook this steak in a skillet on the stovetop. I’ll show you each step and share some tips to avoid those easy-to-make mistakes so you end up with a perfect steak every time.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
To prepare a flavorful and tender top blade steak on your stovetop, you’ll need:
- Top blade steak (1.25 to 2 inches thick)
- High-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh Thyme or Rosemary
The Tools You’ll Need
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Instant Read Thermometer
How to Cook Top Blade Steak on a Stove
Here’s my guide on how to cook a top blade steak in a skillet on a stove so it comes out just right – nicely browned on the outside and cooked just how you like it inside. I’ve included not only the basic instructions but also many handy tips and some photos to help you along the way.
Note: I used a 1.5-inch thick top blade steak in this recipe.
Step 1: Prepare the Top Blade Steak
Start by patting your top blade steak dry with some paper towels. Then, depending on what works for you, pick one of these three ways to salt it:
- Option 1: This one’s my favorite. Just sprinkle a nice amount of salt all over the top blade steak, then place it on a wire rack and let it chill in the fridge overnight. The salt does its thing and makes the steak taste amazing. Don’t forget to let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking it the next day.
- Option 2: Don’t want to wait one day? No worries. Just salt the top blade steak, place it on the wire rack, and let it chill for about 45-60 minutes before cooking it.
- Option 3: In a rush? If so, skip the salting part and jump to the next step.
About salting top blade steak: when you first salt it, the surface of the steak gets moist in just 2-3 minutes. But, if you wait an hour, the meat reabsorbs most of that moisture back in. This is why searing the steak 2-3 minutes after salting it, or even within that first hour, isn’t your best bet. If the steak surface is still wet, forget about getting that amazing crust. It needs to be dry first. That’s why what I usually do is salt it a day ahead. Trust me on this. When you pull it out the next day, it’s gonna be nice and dry, perfect for searing. And another thing, the flavor? It gets way better after a night with the salt in the fridge.
Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet
Preheat your cast iron skillet or any thick pan over medium-high heat. Give it about 2-3 minutes. Then, pour in a tablespoon of refined avocado oil and let it heat up for a minute. Your pan should be hot enough in about 3-4 minutes total, somewhere between 400°F and 475°F – perfect for getting a good sear on a top blade steak.
While that pan’s getting hot, take a moment to season your steak. Sprinkle some finely ground pepper on both sides of the top blade steak. Haven’t you salted it yet? No worries. Wait until your pan’s hot, at least 400°F, then sprinkle the salt on. Do it right before you pop the steak in the pan. This way, you avoid those tiny moisture droplets forming on the steak from the salt.
Step 3: Place the Top Blade Steak in the Skillet
Place your seasoned top blade steak into a really hot skillet. Give it a flip every half a minute or so, keeping an eye on it until your thermometer shows it’s hit 100°F. Once you’re there, turn down the heat to medium-low and move to the next step.
Note: Don’t worry about flipping the steak too often. If this is your first time cooking steak, flipping it more can be good. This helps cook the steak evenly and lets you keep an eye on that nice crust forming.
Step 4: Baste Top Blade Steak with Butter
First, add the butter, garlic, garlic cloves, and your choice of rosemary or thyme into the pan. While waiting for that butter to melt, it’s the perfect time to give your steak’s sides a quick sear. Once the butter has melted, give the pan a little tilt so all that lovely butter gathers at one side. Then, grab a spoon and start basting this melted butter over the steak. Keep this up, like a rhythm, for about 30 to 45 seconds on each side. You want to do this until your steak is about 15-20°F away from your desired doneness.
When your thermometer shows the steak is 15-20°F below your target temperature, take the steak out of the pan and turn off the heat. You don’t want to burn that lovely butter. And, if you’re wondering why this step matters, check out the FAQ section; it’s got all the answers.
Step 5: Let the Pan-Seared Top Blade Steak Rest
The last thing you must do with your steak is to let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. This chill time is key because it lets the juices spread out evenly. That way, when you slice into it, you’re not losing all that yummy goodness.
Plus, there’s a very interesting fact. While the steak’s resting, it keeps cooking a little because of the heat it’s holding onto. So, don’t even think about touching it for at least 5 minutes. After that, you can cut the cooked top blade steak however you like.
When’s the best time to remove a top blade steak off the pan?
If you’re aiming for that perfect medium-rare or whatever doneness you love, remove the top blade steak from the pan when it’s about 15°F below your target temperature. You might have seen recipes that tell you to take the steak off the heat when it’s about 5-10°F below your target temperature. But trust me, that’s a bad advice.
You have to deal with carryover cooking when cooking a steak in a skillet. Carryover cooking causes the steak’s internal temperature to continue to rise despite removing it from the pan. The steak’s internal temperature can easily go up another 15-20°F in just 10 minutes, which is a lot. So, if you don’t want to overcook your steak, take it off the heat earlier than you think.
I’ve seen it happen a lot, especially with folks who aren’t too familiar with pan-searing. They leave their steak on the heat too long because their thermometer tells them it’s just about there, like 5-10°F away from the target temp. But what they don’t realize is they’re actually overcooking it.
What is the ideal doneness for a top blade steak?
Medium-rare is the ideal doneness for top blade steak, offering a juicy, tender, and flavor-packed experience. Interestingly, top-blade steak maintains decent tenderness and juiciness, even when cooked to medium or beyond.
Pan-Seared Top Blade Steak
- top blade steak ideally, around 1.5 inches thick
- kosher salt
- black pepper finely ground
- butter unsalted
- 1 tablespoon High-smoke point oil I recommend refined avocado oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- thyme or rosemary fresh
- Prepare the Top Blade Steak:Pat the steak dry, then choose a salting method:Overnight: Salt generously, then refrigerate on a wire rack overnight. Next day, let the steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.Quick: Salt the steak and refrigerate on a rack for 45-60 minutes.In a hurry: Skip salting and move to the next step.
- Preheat the Skillet:Heat skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add a tablespoon of avocado oil and wait another minute. In the meantime, season the steak with black pepper, and salt now if you haven't already.
- Sear the Top Blade Steak:Place the steak in the hot skillet and flip it every 30-45 seconds until it reaches an internal temperature of 100°F. Then lower the heat to medium-low and move to the next step.
- Baste with Butter:Add butter, garlic, and rosemary or thyme to the skillet. Sear the sides of the steak and start basting with the melted butter for about 30-45 seconds on each side. Remove the steak when it's 15-20°F below your desired doneness.
- Rest the Top Blade Steak:Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.