Sticky Steak @ Pan

I read about people that use cast iron skillets after weeks of using lard to season their pans. What happens when they cook their steak, it just sticks. They are frustrated, so they go online to try and find out what happened – so what happened?

I talked about this before, I’ll raise it again with the focus in trying to help amateurs cook a steak and optimize the texture and flavor. When you begin to cook a steak do not take it directly from the fridge, don’t leave it for too long on the counter unless the room is temperature controlled. There is no reason to char meat on a grill, as it causes carcinogens. It is said it may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.


Most people take their steak and toss it onto an extremely hot grill, or lubricated pan’s surface. If the surface is properly lubricated you are in the right direction, a steak’s heat or thermal energy flows one direction, from hotter pan to the colder steak.

So what happens is, the pan’s heat moves to the steak until the two have the same temperature and come to an equilibrium. In between you may experience that the steak will stick to the pan especially if it’s not coated. A steak should not be thrown onto, or into extreme temperatures unless you wish to destroy it.

The meat’s fibers suddenly contract when subjected to a shocking hot surface, and this makes the meats cold surface stick like glue as it warms up. Think about it, the object is to get meat surface coloration, this can be done by warming the meat’s surface and then raising the temperature (slowly) to get a Maillard reaction. This is more suitable and your steak.

Hence if the steak is from the fridge the greater the difference the faster the flow of heat. The flow of heat and transfer depends on the temperature difference, so a cold steak takes longer and is likely to get destroyed.

By the way, I carefully deglaze my meat with a smart amount of liquid, avoiding contact with the meat, the liquid must reach boiling point, or you risk to destroy the meat. I use some sake, or shoyu, or whatever I have that is appropriate.

I take the pan and slightly tip it, this keeps the liquid away from the meat, under control the water and alcohol evaporates. Then I swirl the meat and coat both sides. The swirling helps the liquids and meat’s seasonings from burning. This coats the meat and gives it a nice shine. Make sure that there is nothing gets burnt when you are going to try this.