12 Best Steak Recipes to Cook for Father’s Day, Plus 5 Easy Marinades
Father’s Day might look a little different this year, but one thing doesn’t have to change. You can still cook up a classic Father’s Day feast — a tasty steak dinner.
I haven’t lived with my dad for decades, and because he’s in his 80s we haven’t been seeing much of each other since quarantine started. New York City, where I live, is still under a lot of restrictions, so I won’t be visiting him for Father’s Day. Instead, this year I’m thinking about doing a little Zoom dinner, where my siblings, my dad, and I each cook the same steak recipe, then eat it together (along with my husband and son, of course — dads of all generations should be there!). It won’t be quite the same, but it’ll give us a hint of the good old days.
Jump ahead to:
Basics for cooking steak
So let’s talk about steak. You should know a few key things about how to cook the perfect steak before you get started.
The cut determines the cooking. Tenderness and toughness vary widely, depending on what kind of steak you’ve got. Steaks that come from the more muscular parts of the steer, like flank steak, have plenty of beefy flavor but tend towards toughness. They work well with a marinade, which helps to tenderize the meat. An extremely tender, milder-tasting filet mignon, on the other hand, needs nothing more than a little salt and pepper and some time in a hot skillet.
Steaks love salt. To bring out the beefiest flavor and achieve the crustiest sear, use a generous sprinkling of salt. And by “generous,” I mean “way more than you think you need.”
How do you know when steak is done? Temperature matters. In most cases, you’ll want to bring the meat to room temperature before it hits the heat — otherwise, it could cook unevenly. And speaking of cooking, monitoring your steak’s temperature is the easiest way to know when it’s reached your preferred level of doneness. (Here’s more on meat cooking temperatures.)
Well done: 155°F or higher
With an instant-read thermometer, you’ll need to spear the steak when you suspect it’s done. But with a leave-in thermometer, you insert it in the steak before you start cooking and (you guessed it) leave it in while it cooks. That lets you monitor the progress remotely. The Yummly Smart Thermometer takes the idea a step further. You tell it what you’re preparing and how well you’d like it cooked, and it tells you when to flip and when to take it off the heat. (Guess what my husband is getting for Father’s Day?)
Let it rest. Like most cuts of meat, cooked steak needs to sit a few minutes, untouched, for the juices to settle back in before it’s ready. Loosely tent it with foil and go off to do other things, like make a quick pan sauce or finish setting the table.
How to cook steak also depends on what you’re in the mood for. Here are some of the best cooking methods for steak, with recipes to match.
Get your grill on
This time of year, grilling seems like the obvious way to cook a steak. And I can’t think of a cooking technique more associated with fathers than manning the grill. (Could the griller use a brush-up? Check out our top tips for grilling.)
Ribeyes are one of my favorite steaks to grill — they’re so luscious and so tender. This recipe keeps the meat itself simply seasoned, but tops the finished steaks with a shallot-thyme butter. (Think garlic butter, but more complex and interesting.) As it melts, it mixes with the meaty juices and creates a powerful pop of flavor.
A garlic-thyme marinade already elevates these strip steaks, but the seared onion-tomato topping really takes the dish into special territory. The vegetables get cooked on the grill, too, but in a cast-iron skillet — a clever trick that keeps them from sticking to or falling through the grates.
Don’t let “salsa verde” mislead you into assuming this recipe has a Mexican flavor profile. In this case it’s an Italian sauce made with herbs, shallots, capers, and lemon juice. That bright, briny flavor on top of perfectly grilled skirt steak would definitely make my dad happy.
Pan-fried steak recipes
If you’re looking for an easy way to cook a steak dinner for the dad in your life, go with pan-frying. You don’t have to do anything more than heat up a pan until it’s really hot, add a bit of fat, and cook the steak on both sides. Though you can certainly add some extra pizzazz if you like.
Gotta love a complete, lickety-split dinner. Here you’ll pre-cook some tiny potatoes in the microwave while the steak’s in the skillet. Then, while the steak is resting, you’ll put those spuds in the skillet along with garlic and grape tomatoes. The vegetables will pick up all the delicious browned bits of steak left in the pan, creating a luscious, saucy side.
One of the best parts about cooking your steak in a frying pan: You can baste it with butter while it’s cooking. Dad will feast like he’s at a fancy steakhouse, but the technique couldn’t be simpler.
This recipe produces the easiest possible steak dinner — so easy a middle-schooler could cook dinner for Dad. But the beefy flavor is all there, with nothing but salt, pepper, and a little butter.
Sear, then roast
Think of this as a step up from simply pan-frying, perfect for thicker cuts of meat. When you pan-roast a steak, you start on the stovetop with an oven-safe frying pan and high heat. Once the steak has a deep, crusty sear, you transfer the steak, pan and all, to the oven. The even heat of the oven finishes cooking the meat, with more control than the stovetop alone.
This recipe uses more of that butter-basting technique I raved about earlier. Here, you’re giving a 2-inch-thick New York strip steak a good sear, then basting with herbs and butter before transferring to the oven. It’s ridiculously tasty for relatively little effort.
I love this idea: You marinate a couple of sirloin steaks. While that’s going, you caramelize a couple of onions. Then you pan-roast the steaks, and while they rest you add the extra marinade to the caramelized onions, which cook down to form a luxurious sauce. My dad would go crazy for this.
Pan-roasting works beautifully with a tenderloin or filet mignon, which need relatively little handling. While the steaks are resting, you’ll deglaze the pan with red wine, then cook the wine down along with plenty of sliced mushrooms. Pile those wine-glazed mushrooms on top of the steaks and you’ve got an elegant, easy dinner for Dad.
Roast, then sear (how to reverse sear a steak)
The reverse sear technique is the option if you’re spending a lazy afternoon at home with Dad. Instead of starting out by searing your steak in a screaming hot pan, you’ll cook it low and slow in the oven for as much as an hour cook time. (And again, a probe thermometer comes in handy.) It’ll be perfectly cooked on the inside, juicy, and tender — and a final minute or two in a hot pan will make it perfect on the outside, too.
Apply the reverse sear to a nice, thick ribeye for a truly memorable steak. The garlic butter with herbs takes just minutes to come together in a food processor, but a bit on top of the steak… oh my stars.
Does Dad prefer the bistro to the steakhouse? This recipe is for him. To make it, you’ll reverse-sear a ribeye, and while it rests you’ll simmer a cream sauce made with peppercorns, Dijon mustard, and brandy. Oo la la, Papa!
This recipe works with any kind of steak, as long as it’s a thick cut. And it keeps things beautifully simple, seasoning the meat with just a few garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme. Because it’s so simple, make sure you’ve got an extra high-quality steak (you may want to shop at a specialty butcher or farmers’ market).
Everyone loves a marinade for steak
This last group of recipes isn’t about a cooking technique so much as a preparation. Marinating a steak adds flavor and tenderizes the meat. So while you can marinate pretty much any cut, it’s ideal for tougher, thinner steaks like flank, skirt, and hanger. Once your steak has had a nice, long bath (usually no more than 12 hours), pop it on the grill or into the frying pan.
The recipes here offer an option for whatever Dad craves. Head towards Mexico with fajita marinade made from fruit juices and dried spices, Korea with a salty-sweet soy-based combo, or Argentina with an herb-packed chimichurri marinade. Or keep things closer to home with an anything-but-basic balsamic, olive oil, and herb marinade. Does Dad have an adventurous palate? The marinade built around cold brew coffee will knock his socks off.
More tips and recipes for meat-lovers
From steaks to burgers, we have loads more to explore on Yummly!