How to Cook a Chicago-Style Steak

A person using tongs to sear steaks on the grill.
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A Chicago-style steak is charred on the surface and cooked to your desired doneness on the inside, according to The BBQ Experiment. Any type of steak can be prepared Chicago-style, though it's best to choose lean cuts such as strip steak or T-bone steak. Traditional Chicago-style steak recipes incorporate butter, though you can prepare a similar, lower fat version with oil, says cookbook author Mark Bittman.


Preparing the Steak

Step 1

Take the steak out of the refrigerator, remove it from its packaging and put it on a plate. Cover the plate with a sheet of plastic wrap and leave the steak sitting at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes.

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Step 2

Pour corn oil into a large, shallow dish and add the steak. Turn to coat the other side, then allow the excess oil to drip off before placing the steak on a clean plate.


Step 3

Sprinkle the steak with pepper and kosher salt, using enough to generously coat each surface. Set the steaks aside.

Cooking on the Grill

Step 1

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Use tongs to put the steak on the grill's hottest section.

Step 2

Grill the steak for three minutes. Use tongs to turn it over and allow the meat to grill three minutes on the opposite side.


Step 3

Continue to grill the steak, turning it every three minutes, until the meat is charred on both sides. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to confirm that the internal temperature of the steak has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4

Put the steak on a cutting board or serving platter. Allow it to rest, undisturbed, for three to four minutes before cutting and serving.


Cooking on the Stovetop

Step 1

Turn on your stove's exhaust fan, if available. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat for four to five minutes.

Step 2

Put the steak into the center of the heated skillet. Cook for three to five minutes without turning down the heat or moving the steak.


Step 3

Turn the steak over with tongs and allow to cook for three to five minutes more depending on your desired level of doneness. Remove the steak from the skillet, confirm the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit and rest the meat for three to four minutes before serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Steak, your desired cut, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick

  • 2 plates

  • Plastic wrap

  • Corn oil

  • Shallow dish

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Tongs

  • Instant-read meat thermometer

  • Cutting board or serving platter

  • Heavy skillet


If you prefer, use a mixture of your favorite herbs or spices as a low-sodium alternative to coating the steak with salt. (See Reference 5)

While it's possible to include steak in a healthy, balanced diet, limit your consumption of lean red meat to no more than two 3-ounce servings per week, recommends the Harvard School of Public Health. (See Reference 3)


High consumption of red meat can significantly increase your risk of dying from chronic medical problems like cancer and heart disease, reported an "Archives of Internal Medicine" study published in 2012.

The large amount of salt used to prepare Chicago-style steak makes the dish high in sodium. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, use less salt or avoid this method for cooking steak altogether.




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