Ali in the Valley: Salt-Fried Cast Iron Steak


Salt-Fried Cast Iron Steak is the Bomb! No oil is needed to sauté these steaks—the juices from the meat mix with the salt to form a delicious crusty coating that prevents them from sticking to the pan.


If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you need to get one. A cast iron skillet is a beautiful thing, and you’ll find yourself using it to brown meat for stews, fried chicken, and whatever else you can think of.

Salt-Fried Cast Iron Steak

Prep time
60 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
1 hour 30 mins
Author: Alison Ball
Serves: 4
  • Coarse salt, such as kosher salt or Maldon sea salt
  • 1 or 2 boneless beef steaks, 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds total), such as strip, rib-eye, flat iron,
  • chuck-eye, hanger or skirt (preferably “outside” skirt)
  • Black pepper (optional)
  1. Remove packaging and pat meat dry with paper towels. Line a plate with paper towels, place meat on top and set aside to dry further and come to cool room temperature (30 to 60 minutes, depending on the weather). Turn occasionally; replace paper towels as needed.
  2. Place a heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, on the stove and sprinkle lightly but evenly with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt. Turn heat to high under pan. Pat both sides of steak dry again.
  3. When pan is smoking hot, 5 to 8 minutes, pat steak dry again and place in pan. (If using two steaks, cook in two batches.)
  4. Let steak sizzle for 1 minute, then use tongs to flip it over, moving raw side of steak around in pan so both sides are salted. Press down gently to ensure even contact between steak and pan. Keep cooking over very high heat, flipping steak every 30 seconds. After it’s been turned a few times, sprinkle in two pinches salt. If using pepper, add it now.
  5. When steak has contracted in size and developed a dark-brown crust, about 4 minutes total, check for doneness. To the touch, meat should feel softly springy but not squishy. If using an instant-read thermometer, insert into side of steak. For medium-rare meat, 120 to 125 degrees is ideal: Steak will continue cooking after being removed from heat.
  6. Remove steak to a cutting board and tent lightly with foil. Let rest 5 minutes.
  7. Serve in pieces or thickly slice on the diagonal, cutting away from your body and with the top edge of the knife leaning toward your body. If cooking skirt or hanger steak, make sure to slice across the grain of the meat.





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