After cooking LOTS of steaks in my life and having plenty of bad ones at restaurants (ok, some good ones too), I wanted to share the proper way to cook a steak.
1. Buy a good quality steak with good marbling. Marbling is fat. Fat is flavor. If you don't want to think about fat, then don't eat steak! As long as the marbling lines are skinny, the fat will melt into the meat and you won't even know it's there. Steak without marbling is just not worth the money. Costco sells Prime (the best quality) steaks relatively cheap, but you can get a good steak just about anywhere. It really depends on the selection that day. One of the best steaks I've ever cooked came right after the Stock Show (seriously). It was a regular New York Strip from King Soopers but the marbling was soooo perfect, it just melted in my mouth. Ahem, anyway, I digress
2. Seasoning. You can marinate a steak or use all kinds of seasonings, but I prefer the KISS principle...Keep It Simple Stupid! I rub olive oil all over the steak and then sprinkle generously with fresh ground pepper and French Grey Sea Salt. I use coarse Kosher salt in just about everything, but I really like the Grey salt on steaks.
3. Rest #1. Ideally, you want to season your steaks and then leave them on the counter 30-60 minutes before you cook them. Getting them to room temperature helps the steak cook more evenly and quickly.
4. High heat is essential. This is the mistake that most cooks (home or "professional") make. Using high heat to cook a steak will create a nice crust on the outside and lock in the juices, creating a beautiful and delicious contrast. I hardly every order a steak in a restaurant anymore, unless it's a Prime steakhouse like Del Frisco's, because most people don't understand this.
5. Where to cook it. I prefer a grill over a skillet, but both work well. The flavor on a skillet steak will definitely be different than on a grilled steak, but hey, work with what you have.
6. Cooking time. Every grill is different, so it will take a few times to dial in the right combination of time and heat for your particular grill. For a "normal" cut (not 2" thick), I like cooking mine about 3 minutes, then rotating it 90 degrees. This will give it nice grill marks and also create more crust (because more area is touching the hot grates). After a total of 6 minutes, flip over and repeat for another 6 minutes. For me, this results in a medium (pink center) steak.
7. Rest #2. After cooking, leave on a plate or platter for 3-5 minutes (longer for really thick cuts), lightly tented with foil. The steak will continue to cook during this step so you want to take it off the grill a couple minutes BEFORE it reaches your desired temperature. This step is essential because it allows all the juices to stay in the meat, resulting in a juicier steak. If you didn't do this, the juices would run all over your plate and your steak would be dry.
8. Grub on. I think you know what to do in this step!