Friday, April 19,2024 5:30 pm EDT

Cooking with Cast Iron: A Detailed Guide to Cooking Steak in Cast Iron Skillets on a Campfire

For those of us who love a good steak, the challenge is always finding the best way to cook it. But have you ever tried cooking steak in cast iron skillets? If not, you are in for a treat. This method is not only incredibly simple, but it also guarantees a succulent and flavorsome steak every time. And the best part? You can do this right in your RV kitchen! In this detailed guide, we will walk you through each step of the process.


Overview of cooking with cast iron and its benefits

For centuries, cast iron has been appreciated for its durability and excellent heat retention. Cooking steak in cast iron skillet has many advantages. It provides even heat distribution, which is perfect for cooking steak in cast iron skillet, as it ensures all parts of the meat are cooked uniformly. Moreover, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet adds a unique flavor to the food, enhancing the taste of your steak. Cast iron skillets are also versatile – they can be used on a stovetop or in an oven, making them ideal for your mobile RV kitchen.

Cooking steak in cast iron skillets

When you’re out on the road in your RV, you don’t want to compromise on the quality of your meals. A cast iron skillet is a great tool to have in your RV kitchen because it’s compact, durable, and versatile. The process of cooking steak in cast iron skillets involves four main steps: preparing the steak, preheating the skillet, cooking the steak, and finally, resting and serving the steak. Let’s delve into each step in detail.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cooking Steak in Cast Iron Skillets

Step 1: Preparing the steak

Seasoning the steak

The first step in preparing your steak is seasoning it. This can be done with a simple mix of salt and pepper. Apply the seasoning generously on both sides of the steak. You could also add garlic powder or any other spices you prefer. The key is to let the steak absorb the seasoning for at least 15 minutes before you start cooking.

Bringing the steak to room temperature

Before you start cooking, it’s important to let your steak reach room temperature. This allows for even cooking throughout the steak. To do this, remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before cooking and allow it to sit. This is a crucial step that many people overlook.

Step 2: Preheating the cast iron skillet

Heating the skillet on the stove

Place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop and heat it over medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to get hot but not smoking. A hot skillet is essential in achieving the perfect sear on your steak. It might take about 10 minutes for the skillet to reach the desired temperature, so patience is key here.. Once the skillet is hot, you can proceed with cooking your steak.

To check if the skillet is hot enough, you can sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the surface. If the water droplets sizzle and evaporate almost immediately, the skillet is ready for cooking. Another way to test is by holding your hand about 6 inches above the skillet. If you can feel the heat radiating, it’s a sign that the skillet is hot enough.

Remember to use oven mitts or a handle cover when handling the hot skillet to avoid burns.

Adding oil or butter to the skillet

Once your skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil or butter. You can use any high-heat oil like canola, vegetable, or grapeseed oil. If you are using butter, be aware that it has a lower smoke point and can burn easily. Whichever you choose, ensure it coats the entire bottom of the skillet.

Step 3: Cooking the steak

Searing the steak on high heat

Now comes the exciting part – searing your steak. Place your steak in the skillet and let it cook undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes. This gives the steak time to develop a nice crust. Remember, the key to a successful sear is not to move the steak around too much.

Flipping the steak and searing the other side

After the first side has been seared, flip the steak using tongs or a spatula. Let it sear on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. If you’re cooking a thick cut of steak, you might want to sear the edges as well. This will give you a steak that’s beautifully browned all over.

Adjusting the heat and cooking time based on desired doneness

The cooking time for your steak will depend on how you like your steak done. For a medium-rare steak, you might need to cook each side for about 3-4 minutes. For a medium steak, it could take up to 5-7 minutes per side. Remember to adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning. If you have a meat thermometer, it can be a helpful tool to ensure your steak is cooked to your preferred doneness.

Step 4: Resting and serving the steak

Allowing the steak to rest before slicing

After you’ve cooked your steak to perfection, resist the temptation to dig in immediately. Let the steak rest for at least 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, making it more moist and flavorful.. Additionally, allowing the steak to rest before slicing helps to retain its juiciness.

When you cook a piece of steak, the heat causes the juices inside the meat to move towards the center. Slicing the steak immediately after cooking would cause these juices to escape, resulting in a drier and less flavorful steak. By allowing the steak to rest, you give the juices time to redistribute themselves, which will result in a more evenly moist and flavorful steak.

To allow the steak to rest, simply place it on a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. This will help to keep the steak warm while it rests. The length of resting time can vary depending on the size and thickness of the steak, but a general rule of thumb is to let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes.

During this resting period, the steak will continue to cook slightly from the residual heat. This is known as carryover cooking. Resting allows the internal temperature of the steak to stabilize, resulting in a more evenly cooked piece of meat.

After the resting period, you can proceed to slice your steak. It’s best to slice the steak against the grain, which means cutting across the muscle fibers. This will result in a more tender bite.

By allowing your steak to rest before slicing, you’ll achieve a more flavorful and moist result. So, resist the urge to dig in right away and give your steak the time it needs to rest.

Serving the steak with desired accompaniments

Your delicious steak is now ready to serve! You can enjoy it on its own or pair it with your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, grilled veggies, or a fresh salad. Don’t forget to pour any leftover juices from the skillet over the steak for added flavor.

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Cooking Steak in Cast Iron Skillets

Choosing the right cut of steak

The cut of steak you choose can make a big difference in the outcome of your meal. Some cuts that work well with this method include ribeye, T-bone, and strip steaks. These cuts have a good amount of marbling which makes them juicy and flavorful when cooked.

Properly seasoning the steak

Don’t skimp on the seasoning. A well-seasoned steak enhances the flavor and adds depth to your dish. Experiment with different combinations of spices and herbs to find your favorite blend.. Here are some tips for properly seasoning your steak:

1. Start with a good quality steak: The quality of the meat itself plays a big role in the overall flavor of your steak. Choose a well-marbled, tender cut like ribeye, New York strip, or filet mignon for the best results.

2. Salt generously: Salt is a crucial ingredient when it comes to seasoning steak. It helps to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. Liberally sprinkle kosher salt or sea salt on both sides of the steak and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the salt to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful steak.

3. Add some black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper adds a nice kick and complements the taste of the beef. Sprinkle it evenly over the steak after salting.

4. Experiment with herbs and spices: Beyond salt and pepper, you can get creative with different herbs and spices to add depth and complexity to your steak. Some popular options include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, rosemary, or a steak seasoning blend. Mix and match these ingredients according to your personal preference.

5. Apply the seasoning evenly: Make sure to coat both sides of the steak with your chosen blend of seasonings. Press the seasoning into the meat gently to help it adhere better. You can also rub the seasoning mixture onto the steak using your hands for better coverage.

6. Let it rest: After seasoning the steak, let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking. This allows the flavors to meld together and the steak to come to room temperature, resulting in more even cooking.

7. Cook to perfection: Once your steak is properly seasoned, cook it to your desired level of doneness using your preferred cooking method (grilling, pan-searing, broiling, etc.). Remember to follow the appropriate cooking times and temperatures for the specific cut of steak you are using.

8. Don’t forget to let it rest again: After cooking, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful steak.

By properly seasoning your steak, you can elevate its taste and make it a delicious centerpiece for any meal. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the seasoning combination that suits your palate the best.

Monitoring the heat of the skillet

It’s important to keep an eye on the heat of your skillet when you’re cooking steak in cast iron skillets. If it gets too hot, the steak can burn and become charred. If it’s not hot enough, you won’t achieve that desired sear. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the perfect balance.

Letting the steak rest before slicing

Allowing your steak to rest after cooking is a crucial step that many people overlook. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak. Patience is key here, so resist the temptation to cut into your steak right away.. Instead, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.

During the cooking process, the heat causes the juices in the steak to move towards the center. If you were to immediately cut into the steak, those juices would escape, leaving you with a drier and less flavorful piece of meat. Allowing the steak to rest gives those juices time to redistribute throughout the entire steak, resulting in a more even distribution of flavor and juiciness.

Resting also helps to retain moisture in the steak. When you cook a steak, the heat causes the proteins in the meat to contract, pushing out some of the moisture. By letting the steak rest, you give those proteins time to relax and reabsorb the moisture, resulting in a juicier steak.

To let your steak rest, simply remove it from the heat source and place it on a cutting board or plate. Tent the steak loosely with foil to help retain some heat while it rests. The exact resting time will depend on the size and thickness of your steak. As a general rule, let smaller steaks rest for about 5 minutes and larger steaks for about 10 minutes.

While the steak is resting, take the opportunity to prepare any side dishes or sauces that you plan to serve with your meal. This way, everything will be ready at the same time when it’s time to eat.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to letting your steak rest. It may be tempting to dive right in, but by allowing those few extra minutes, you’ll be rewarded with a more tender, juicy, and flavorful steak.


Cooking steak in cast iron skillet is a game-changer for any steak lover. The even heat distribution and excellent searing capabilities of a cast iron skillet make it the perfect tool for achieving a deliciously cooked steak. Whether you’re grilling at home or cooking in your RV kitchen, this method will never disappoint. So fire up your skillet, follow these step-by-step instructions, and enjoy a mouthwatering steak that will surely impress your family and friends.

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