Pan-searing a thick-cut steak (a steak almost as thick as it is wide) presents a unique challenge: How to keep the perimeter from overcooking while the very center of the steak reaches the desired temperature.
We wanted our steak to have a good crust and medium-rare center, without a wide band of dry, gray meat between the two.
We found it was essential to sear the steaks quickly to keep the meat directly under the crust from turning gray. The key was to start with dry meat. We moved the steaks straight from the fridge into a 275-degree oven, which not only warmed them to 95 degrees but also dried the meat thoroughly. At this temperature, when the steak met the hot skillet, it developed a beautiful brown crust in less than four minutes, while the rest of the meat stayed pink, juicy, and tender.