Which is best for cooking steak, butter or oil?

One of the more contentious subjects when discussing steak, aside from how to have it cooked, is whether to use oil or butter. There is no right answer here as we all have different preferences but it constantly amazed me at the veracity of some people’s arguments for or against one particular method.

Both have their pros and cons.

Butter on steak

Butter has a lot of flavour but a lower smoke point. Some don’t want that extra flavour on their steak and prefer to keep it as nature intended. Butter is ideal for continually basting a steak and lends itself perfectly to some cuts and for those who like to be there tenderly managing the cooking. Being there and continually basting means the butter is less likely to burn and mar the flavour.

The downside of using butter is that you cannot leave it to go and do other things. While cooking steak is a pastime of kings, if you’re cooking other dishes and may leave the steak unattended, butter isn’t for you.

Steak and oil

There as are many different types of oil as there are steak cuts. From olive to groundnut, vegetable to peanut, there is an oil and a proponent for everything. Some oils are neutral like canola, rapeseed and vegetable. They provide the moisture but not the flavour which will sit well with those who like to taste their steak in its purest form.

Some oils are flavoured like olive, groundnut and more exotic oils. These impart a subtle but detectable flavour that you will either love or not.

Different oils also have different smoke points so will be more suitable in different situations. Olive oil for example has a much lower smoke point than rapeseed oil so requires a little more attention. Then there are the different types of olive oil with different amounts of pepperiness.

Steam and no oil

It is also possible to cook a steak without using oil at all. Especially if you’re using a grill or barbecue. As long as you use a clean, very hot surface, you can easily cook your steak au naturelle without any oil at all.

As I said at the top, there is no right answer to this question. We each have our preferences and that can vary between people, cooking methods or steak cuts. Whatever you prefer to use, the fact that you’re enjoying a cooked steak is what’s important!

What do you use to cook steak at home?

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