Can Steak on the Stovetop be as Good as Grilled?


Very often, people mistake “lifting coach” and “studier of exercise physiology” with “judgmental food snob.” 

Sigh. I will explain again. I’ll help you with your workouts. I’ll help you lose fat; it’s not rocket science. But I won’t ask you to eat only chicken and salad the rest of your life. 

I won’t judge you for wanting good food. 

I won’t judge you for having a beer. 

I want you to enjoy cooking and eating your food. 

I want your food to support your physical activities! 

Now that we have that settled, I hope you better understand why I cook good, hearty meals that aren’t only “diet food”. Steak on the grill is my favorite, and I have it at least once a week. It’s so delicious, and so easy to throw on sides.

Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak

What would I do if I didn’t have a grill, like most of my apartment-living life? I made it my goal to prepare a steak on the stovetop that is just as delicious as a steak on the grill. 

This Southern Living recipe called Cast Iron Cowboy Steak is the perfect experiment. I made it twice, once followed to a tee (well, almost), and once modified to cook inside. 

The original recipe recommends you use a cast iron skillet on the grill. On Round 1, I used the cast iron skillet on the stove top. No grill. Round 2, I followed directions. Both were delicious, but the second was definitely better. Below is Round 1.

Round 1: No Grill

Set oven to 400. 

Put on music. My pick is Motown radio. The Shirelles? Yes, please. “Will you still love me tomorrow?”

Grab your drink of choice. 

Put on apron. Non negotiable. Do it. 

Wash potatoes and place on aluminum foil that has been lightly coated with vegetable oil. Put potatoes and empty cast iron skillet in the oven.


Set timer for 40 minutes for potatoes.

Set timer for 10 minutes for skillet.

While you are waiting for then skillet to heat, apply salt and pepper to both sides of steak, chop thyme, garlic, and wash vegetables and salad. 

When the 10 minute timer goes off, use TWO pot holders to remove the skillet from the oven and put on the stovetop. It’s hot! Set the flame to high. 


Put the oil in the skillet, and spread around. Add the steak, and set timer for 6 minutes. If you have a splatter screen, now is the time to use it. And don't make fun of me for the apron. It’s a human-sized splatter screen. Also, my mom made this one for me and I love it.

Six minutes on one side with top halfway on. 

When 6 minutes has passed, use tongs to hold steak on edge, fatty side, for 1:00. Then cook the steak 4 minutes on other side. For about 2 minutes, while tilting the skillet, spoon the butter, thyme and garlic mixture on top of steak. 

Take the steak off the heat and let it rest while you dress up that potato and throw the salad together. Time to dig in!


Lessons Learned

The recipe called for 10 minutes on each side, but I had a thinner steak than they called for so I felt like that would be too much. I dropped it to 6 minutes, and it was still a little too well done for me. 

The butter, thyme and garlic mixture was savory and delicious!! It was a tad heavy on the garlic, though, so I will adjust that down next time. 

Round 2: Cast Iron on the Grill


I followed the directions and used the cast iron on the grill this time. I prepared everything the same way, except I skipped the garlic and added Montreal Steak seasoning. Couldn’t resist throwing some mushrooms on the grill too. 

Five minutes on each side and one minute on the fatty edge was still a little too done. It had amazing flavor which I enjoyed even more without the overpowering garlic. 


Lessons Learned

Thyme is a winner! I will be using thyme in my cooking more. 

I now have a great method of cooking steak inside should I ever need to. 

And the big question: can steak on the stovetop be as good as grilled? Maybe. Further studies are necessary. ;)