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Best Oil For Cooking Steak
Nothing beats a well-seared, perfectly cooked steak! Whether you cook it over a grill or fire up a cast iron skillet, there are some important things to consider. One thing you should never overlook is the type of oil you use.
There are several varieties of oils out there for you to consider, but not all are ideal for cooking steak. Some varieties are also much healthier than others, and so is the preferred choice. Which oils are these, and why are they considered the most popular? Read on to find out the best oil for cooking steak!
Things To Consider When Choosing Your Oil
Before settling on one oil, you must consider some essential factors. You want to look for oil that has a high smoke point, shows oxidative stability, and generally has unprocessed makeup. Such oils will not only give your steak the sear you want but will also prove to be healthier choices.
1.) Smoke Point
The very first thing to consider is the smoke point. A cooking oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke and burn. If you overheat oils beyond their smoke point, they may leave a rancid, burnt taste in your meal.
Apart from this, there is also a concern about the potential formation of free radicals that can trigger inflammation in the body and other carcinogenic compounds.
Naturally, you want to get the perfect sear when cooking steaks, and for that, you will have to place it over high heat. This is why oil with a low smoke point should be avoided unless you want a burnt odor and taste from your steak.
2.) Oxidative Stability
Oxidative stability is perhaps the most important factor you must not overlook. Generally, all oils slowly oxidize as they encounter air. However, when exposed to heat, this oxidative reaction chain speeds up exponentially.
The oxidative chemical reactions will start to break down the oil and produce harmful compounds and toxic by-products. Consuming such oil can lead to health complications down the road and should therefore be avoided.
To be on the safe side, always choose cooking oil with higher oxidative stability. This is the quality that allows oil to resist or slow down the oxidative process.
3.) Purity & Ingredients
Finally, you should consider the purity of the oil you choose. For one, if your oil is heavily processed, it may have added chemicals or ingredients that can lower the smoke point of your oil.
Apart from this, unrefined cooking oils are hands down much healthier compared to refined oils. You should always look for oil produced with minimal processing and as close to its natural form as possible.
Top 4 Oils For Cooking Steak!
Now that you know what factors to look out for, let’s also take a look at some of the most popular cooking oils for cooking steak. To be thorough, we include certain oils that we may not promote due to health reasons but are popular and should be included. We look at the upside as well as the side effects of each of these but it is clear which one stands out and that we recommend! (Spoiler Alert… It’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!!)
1.) Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds and is usually made as a byproduct of winemaking. It is a very popular choice for cooking steaks because it has a high smoke point, around 420°F, and adds plenty of flavor to your steak.
Though highly regarded for its high smoke point and light, nutty flavor, grapeseed oil may not be the best choice for cooking stake. Grapeseed oil is a polyunsaturated fat with a largely neutral flavor profile, which means it does not offer an interesting or unique flavor when combined with steak.
Furthermore, it has comparatively lower oxidative stability since it is richer in its share of PUFAs, which means it can become bitter if cooked at high temperatures, making the steak unappetizing. This also leads to a vast array of potential health issues from ingesting PUFAs over time including inflammation and Alzheimers/dementia.
2.) Canola Oil
It is a vegetable oil extracted from the canola plant. Canola oil is also a popular choice when cooking steak thanks to its excellent smoke point, around 400°F. Besides its high smoke point, canola oil is rich in Omega 3 (good!) but also Omega 6 (bad!).
While canola oil may appear to be a better choice, it has a low smoke point compared to other cooking oils, which means that the oil starts to break down and generate smoke at lower temperatures. Studies show that it is very susceptible to oxidation owing to the large number of linolenic acids (PUFAs) it carries.
Like with grapeseed oil, this can lead to health issues down the line as well. It is best to avoid Seed Oils altogether if you suffer from chronic inflammation.
Additionally, due to its light flavor, canola oil can be overpowered when combined with high-flavored foods like steak. If you want your steak to be nice and seared on the outside while being perfectly tender and juicy on the inside, canola oil may not be the best option.
3.) Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from peanut seeds. It tends to give your food a slightly nutty flavor that can actually complement your steak well. Peanut oil, like most oils on the list, also has a very high smoke point of around 450°F which makes it a growingly popular choice for searing steak.
Though it may seem like peanut oil is the universal favorite for cooking steak due to its high smoke point and neutral flavor, there are also some disadvantages. Peanut oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat, which can result in an overly greasy texture of the meat and increase your risk of food poisoning if not stored correctly after use.
Since it is also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is more perceptible to oxidation, especially when heated to its smoke point. Like with the first two options, this leads to adverse health affects over time and needs to be avoided.
Furthermore, since peanut oil has such a distinct flavor, it can easily drown out the more subtle spice and herb combinations you may have added while cooking. For all these reasons, it’s best to switch up the type of oil that won’t affect the taste and still provide enough heat for searing, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cheesy segway but here we go to our favorite!).
4.) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Finally, we saved the best option for last and that is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Olive oil is derived from pressing whole olives. EVOO is a version of olive oil that is cold pressed from the olives, is exposed to no chemicals or heat during processing, and so is very natural, unprocessed oil.
This means that EVOO is a much healthier option for consumption. EVOO is rich in antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, promotes a healthy heart, reduces the risk of cancer, and helps avoid type 2 diabetes. It also has a very high smoke point, around 410°F, making it the best oil for cooking steak.
What’s more impressive is that EVOO is known for its oxidative stability, unlike the oils we have listed. EVOO oil has very low levels of PUFAs and is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which hinder or slow down the oxidative chain reaction. This makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil far and away the healthiest option and the only oil you need for searing steak.
So, there you go. With the information we shared, you can now easily decide on the best oil for cooking steak!
Shop Our Line of Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOOs) Below!