There’s an art to cooking a perfect steak. Stetson pays the experts at Carman Ranch in Wallowa, OR a visit to learn straight from the professionals.
Photography by Joe Haeberle
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Perched on the banks of the river for which it is named, Wallowa is one of many charming outposts along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway in Eastern Oregon. The ranch is in the Northeastern corner of the state in the beautiful Wallowa Valley.
Spurred by a vision to sustain their century-old family ranch, Carman Ranch has grown in the last two decades to include a small group of the West Coast’s most respected producers. They are family ranchers focused on building soil and sequestering carbon while producing exceptional grass-fed beef. They believe that the food they grow, and the way they grow it, has the power to change our world.
Healthy and complex soil is the basis for all life. It supports the nutrient-rich forage our animals graze throughout their wholesome, stress-free lives. In turn, they help sequester carbon, fertilize pastures and renew grasslands. And they nourish us. Not only is the meat from our animals highly nutritious, but its flavor is also unsurpassed and deeply satisfying.
It’s a virtuous cycle that results in superior nutrition, strong rural communities, a delicious dinner, and a better planet.
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How to Cook a Perfect Steak
Generously season steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the best results, arrange the steaks on a wire rack set inside a foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. If you don’t have time, let them sit on the counter while you get your heat your oven or grill.
Preheat the oven to between 200 and 250 degrees F. (The lower the temperature, the more evenly the meat cooks.)
Place the steaks, still on the rack, in the oven, and roast until they’re 10 to 15 degrees F rarer than you want to serve them. (For medium-rare, or 130 degrees F, remove at 115 degrees F.) An accurate meat thermometer is essential.
Just before removing the steaks from the oven, heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy stainless steel pan over high heat with 1-tablespoon oil. As soon as the oil begins to smoke, add the steaks to the pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and cook, shaking the pan slightly, until one side is nicely browned, about 45 seconds. Turn the steaks over, sear the second side, and then quickly sear the edges.
Remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Heat the grill. For gas, light the burners on one side and heat on low with the cover closed. For wood or charcoal, prepare a two-zone fire and rake the coals to one side when the fire is hot. How hot? You shouldn’t be able to hold your hand 3-inches from the grate for more than 3 seconds.
Place the steaks on the cooler side of the grill, cover, and cook until the temperature is between 110 and 120 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes. Raise the heat on the hot side with more charcoal or by adjusting the burners. When the grill is hot (use the 3-second rule again), sear the steaks until evenly browned, rotating as needed, about 1-1/2 minutes total. Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.