Grilled or Fried Steak, Which Is Better?

Published Categorized as Food
Steak on a platelisovskaya /Depositphotos

You can’t go wrong with a juicy steak. Here’s how to decide between frying it on the stove and sizzling it on your grill’s grate.

We will take a look into grilling and frying steak to see which one is better. The critical factor is that it is always in the cook’s preference (and the folks at the table).

Still, these ideas you will read about may persuade you either way, whether it is for the cleaning up chore, the healthy living, or if wanting to cook indoors or outdoors.

There’s nothing better than grilling and eating a smoky, lightly charred steak on a summer day. However, if the weather is bad or you want to cook the steak quicker, you can decide to do so in a pan on the stove.

We could look at the scenarios of each with their pros and cons—and offer up our best advice to come up with a conclusion if it were a competition.

Each can offer their own opinions, but some may judge on aroma and flavor, and others on appearance and ease. You will have to decide for yourself, that’s for sure, but let’s look at what each of these two options has to offer.

The Positives of Grilling Steak

Beautiful days call for being outdoors and grilling, and what better meat to grill than a steak? The outdoors and peacefulness are some of the biggest perks in grilling a steak for those who love the scenery and are not kept behind four walls.

There is also nothing like the smell of grilling steak. It can indeed smell up the neighborhood and get all of your neighbors hungry. Below, you will find some more of the pros of grilling steak and what makes it special:

Only a small amount of oil is used to grill steaks. Oil is spread on the grill grates to keep the meat from sticking. Using a small amount of oil helps keep the cholesterol levels down versus the amount of oil used in frying.

There is added flavor to the steak when grilled, especially when you are cooking over charcoal or wood. There are also the quintessential grill marks, which you can only mimic if you use a grill pan on the stove.

Last but not least, while cooking outdoors, you can also have a picnic to enjoy the outdoor scenery.

The Downsides to Grilling Steaks

There are minimal downsides to grilling steaks. Listed below are the ones most people find annoying:

Cleaning the grill can be hectic at times, and it is time-consuming. Sometimes it takes a bit of elbow grease to get it right, but it is all worth it once it is clean. A special tip would be to clean it after each use and keep the grates oiled. 

The weather can play a heavy factor in grilling. Some are fortunate enough to have their grill under a carport or covering to keep them dry. Then there are the freezing cold days or steamy hot days that may make it uncomfortable to grill.

Gas grills are not that time-consuming as they light up in a second, but it takes time to get charcoal from the home improvement store and ignite it until it turns white and ashy. The former depends on your location, and the latter tends to take 20 to 30 minutes.

Another downside to grilling is those pesky flies that the smoke always attracts. There may not be a single fly around until the pit is fired up. Then there is always a swarm of them that comes out of nowhere. 

Special Grilling Tips for Steak

We have some exceptional tips to offer that may entice you for grilling. These may help you decide what is right for you if you choose between pan-frying or grilling: 

  • If you are looking for a healthy way out, choose a lean steak. The more fat on a steak, the higher cholesterol;
  • Another grilling tip is to go for a steak that is cut an inch thick. It is also easier to cook to perfection, especially over direct heat;
  • To obtain a good sear, dry-brine the meat for 40 minutes before putting it on the grill;
  • If you are using charcoal, give the charcoal time to ash over, about 30 minutes to prevent flare-ups, and for everything to cook evenly. 

The Positives on Pan-Frying Steaks

We would like to make it clear, pan-frying and deep-frying are different. Pan-frying steaks can cook a perfect steak that melts in your mouth and delivers a beautiful brown outside for show and tell.

Deep-frying is submerging the meat into grease, while shallow-frying is coating the bottom of the pan with cooking oil or butter. Below, we offer the positives in shallow-frying steaks:

Shallow-frying is a quick and easy process. There is no cleaning process before like grilling. You put the pan on the stove with oil at the bottom, and it is ready to go once it is preheated.

It keeps the moisture inside the steak while producing a beautiful (and flavorsome) brown coating on the outside.

There is no worry about the weather outside. It can be hot, cold, rainy, or snowing, and you are safe indoors. Also, no flies or bugs will pester you while cooking.

The Downside of Pan-Frying Steaks

Like grilling, there are a few downsides to pan-frying steaks. Pan-frying is a bit more involved than grilling while the steaks are cooking.

Both should have safety measures at the top of the list to prevent severe burns. Listed below are the negative points: 

When the pan gets hot, grease splatters everywhere. Extreme caution is a must. It is strongly advised to turn the steak over slowly when it is ready for flipping.

Floors can become slippery from the splattered grease causing slips and falls. The cleanup afterward can be a mess with all the splattered grease.  

While cooking on high heat without a good range hood, it may set off the smoke alarms and make the house smoky.

Special Tips for Pan-Frying

These tips are meant to save time and energy while pan-frying your steak. There are a few things to keep in mind and plan ahead when cooking indoors that will make the cleanup much more manageable:  

  • Use a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet, a carbon steel skillet, or a clad stainless steel frying pan;
  • Seasoning the steak well will promote a beautiful crust and add to the flavor. The more, the merrier (just be careful with the salt)!
  • Move the steak around in the pan to cook evenly and turn it over after every minute. This move will prevent the seasonings from burning;
  • Ensure the pan is on high heat, or the steak may come out soggy with oil. 

The Final Outlook is in Preferences

As we mentioned, everyone is different and will appreciate one method over the other. Time-wise, pan-frying is better because the time it takes to clean the grill and have it fired up, the steak would already be served. 

The flavor would be the only argument in the matter. According to statistics, most people prefer the grilled taste of a juicy steak and the opportunity to cook outdoors.

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