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How to achieve a constant browning and even cooking when you have a bunch of steaks that do not fit on the pan?

What happens to me is that usually the first batch gets not brown enough, and the second and subsequent batches get browner (more than what I like.)

What is the proper technique to have all the pieces cook about the same?

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3 Answers

It sounds like you are adding meat to the pan before it comes fully to temp, which is why your first batch is coming out unbrowned, and you are additionally cooking the steaks to completion in the pan which is why you have too much browning on the second and subsequent batches.

The way to solve this is make sure that your pan is hot for the first batch. I normally throw the pan that i'm going to be searing in on the fire about five to ten minutes before I start to cook but you might need to adjust that time based on type of stove and how quickly it heats. The trick to steaks after that is to sear in the pan and finish in the oven. This lets you control the darkness of the sear independantly of the doneness of the meat. It is critical that you let the pan come back to temp before starting your next piece of meat. Once you have gotten the desired sear on the meat, bring to desired doneness in a 350 degree oven.

Let rest for at least five minutes to allow the steaks to reabsorb the juices.

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Be very careful in preheating if you use a non-stick pan though - above 500F, the coating will start to degrade and can make you sick. –  Eclipse Jul 27 '10 at 3:22
    
yeah, you should always remember that non-stick doesn't handle heat like stainless or cast iron. I try to avoid them for searing for just that reason. Thanks for pointing that out Eclipse. –  sarge_smith Jul 28 '10 at 1:21
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Don't crowd the pan; brown in small batches. It takes longer, but if you put too many steaks in the pan at once, the pan's temperature drops too low to brown your meat (and it steams rather than sears in the pan).

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Another thing you can do is add a little oil to the pan and wait for it to barely smoke. Not sure if you want to use oil for searing your steaks, but I do and this technique usually yields great results.

I noticed also that using a stainless pan is a bit more difficult because it gets hotter faster. Try searing your steaks in a cast iron pan. I have found this is a great way to get a good crispy, yummy sear and also you can toss the pan in the oven for a few to finish the meat.

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