The Not-So Starving Student—DIY Simple Steak Recipe

While steak may seem outside of the student budget, there is still a lot of opportunity for students to celebrate in lieu of taking a vacation. Afterall a steak dinner is still much more affordable than flying abroad. During Christmas break, I had the chance to perfect my steak recipe and wanted to share my favorite tips and tricks for preparing the perfect steak. Some of the lessons I learned came from making many mistakes in the kitchen and finally after many experiments, I tasted one of the best steaks that was not prepared in a restaurant.

Unlike other recipes I’ve shared on this blog, steak requires very little seasoning and ingredients because of the natural tender and rich flavor of meat. Especially, if AU students splurge on a slightly better cut of beef, it can truly make a difference! In today’s example, I’ve used the bottom round steak which is a leaner cut and comes from the posterior part of the cow. While it’s considered less tender, it is also healthier cut with less fatty tissues. Typically to prepare the best tasting steak, using a cast iron frying pan will help bring forward the natural flavors from the meat. Moreover, the combination of iron ions from the pan and the beef protein creates a taste that’s unlike the effect created from your average teflon pan. While the steak recipe is often simple, a lot of the magic happens in the preparation steps as well as the cooking technique rather than seasoning.

My fully prepared final dish to show the family over winter break


  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 4 slices of bottom or top round steak (1.5 inch thickness)



  • Cast iron frying pan
  • Spatula



  1. Ensure beef is at room temperature before cooking and pat dry with a paper towel if lots of moisture is present. Set aside for 30 minutes
  2. Set the round steak on a cutting board and coat evenly on both sides with salt and black pepper
  3. Rub the salt and pepper grains into the beef and allow it to sit for 30 minutes
  4. Preheat the cast iron pan to 160 degrees F and pour vegetable oil in while the pan heats
  5. Before placing steak into the pan, add a pinch more salt and pepper to both sides
  6. Place the steak into the pan and press down with a spatula to ensure contact is made
  7. Add half of the thyme and garlic on the top surface and save the other ½ for the other side of the steak
  8. After 1 minute, a thickened brown crust should be seen on that contact surface, now flip to the other surface
  9. Add the other half of the thyme and garlic for the other side of the steak
  10. Add unsalted butter into the pan
  11. Once both sides are evenly browned with a crust, then turn the steak on its side and cook the four sides of the beef
  12. Tip the cast iron pan to its side and scoop the liquified vegetable oil and butter in the pan onto the steak to add flavor
  13. Touch the steak with the spatula and check the meat texture by pressing into the steak.
  14. Continue cooking on 120 degrees F for the optimal (medium rare) texture, keep flipping the steak on each side and turn heat to 80 degrees F for rare and 160 degrees for well done
  15. Remove steak and place on cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes
  16. Serve by cutting along from the grain of the meat

    Another opportunity to show off my upgraded knowledge and understanding of steak