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I have some frozen steaks I want to cook rather quickly. I want to follow this method: this question but I am not sure how to season it. How do I apply seasoning to a steak without defrosting it?

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  • Is your question about what to season it with (I vote salt and pepper) or WHEN to season it?
    – moscafj
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 23:25
  • Both really. More of what to season it with.
    – masfenix
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 23:26
  • Actually, this question borders on "off topic" for two reasons: It might be seen as a recipe request or is too broad. There are loads of options what you could put on a steak and it depends a lot on personal taste.
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 6:31
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    Hi masfenix, it is indeed offtopic to ask what to season it with. You can use any herb, spice, condiment or flavor extract you can come up with, and none is more "correct" than the other. But the question of how to get the seasoning to stick to a frozen steak is a reasonable one. So instead of closing, I removed the part which asked for flavor recommendation and edited to ask about the method only.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 10:04

3 Answers 3

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I'm not sure how much it matters, other than the fact that it is difficult for seasoning to stick to a frozen steak. I would season with salt and pepper (or whatever spice blend you prefer) after the sear and before the oven step...but you could also season at the end of the cook. If it is a good steak, keep the seasoning simple.

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  • I did this last night (for a pork shoulder destined for posole,) seasoning after the sear. It seemed to turn out well. Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 13:47
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The technique to get the seasoning to stick if frozen solid is one of the following:

  1. Preferred method: Let it thaw enough for the outer layer to be wet rather than solid ice. This will also improve cooking as well.

  2. Spread olive oil or other oil of your choice all over the meat. The seasoning will stick to that.

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    Wet steak means poor searing. You want a dry surface or you'll end up steaming the outside of the steak.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 20:55
  • Dude I meant not frozen solid, I think that was pretty clear.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 21:16
  • "let it thaw enough for the outer layer to be wet". Empasis added.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 21:29
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    Right as in not frozen emphasis on the not
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 23:42
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I find that cooking steak that is not close to room temperature and dry on the surface does not yield good results.

Cooking a frozen steak will yield something edible but for something as nice as a steak which is often expensive I think it is worth going through some extra steps.

The easiest way to thaw a frozen steak is to put it in a plastic bag, push out as much of the air as possible, and immerse it in warm water until it thaws, changing the water if it becomes too cold. A sous vide bag is ideal but even if you don't have that, any plastic bag will do. Putting the frozen steak directly in water causes it to absorb some of the water and makes it almost impossible to sear and degrades the texture.

The surface of the steak should be dry before it is cooked. If the steak is frozen or cool, water tends to condense on it so it is hard to keep it dry. You can dry it immediately before putting it in the pan, but if you do this you'll probably wipe off the seasoning.

When salt is applied to steak, at first it draws out moisture, which makes the steak dry and hard to sear. But then after about 15-20 minutes, the liquid is reabsorbed into the steak along with the salt, which seasons it below the surface and leaves a dry surface which is easy to sear. It isn't necessary that the steak be fully thawed at this point, but it has to be thawed enough for the salt to penetrate.

That is all to say, thaw the steak 1/4 to 1/2 with the plasic bag method, season it, and wait until it is fully thawed and close to room temp, and then cook.

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