The T-bone steak is a hearty cut, so it’s a natural fit for the grill. But what if there’s a foot of snow outside and you just can’t stand over the stove frying steaks in a pan yet again? Turn to the slow cooker or crock pot to create a juicy, tender steak that has the rich flavor of the best pot roasts. This is a great way to add marinades or strong seasonings to the T-bone and get the best results because slow cooking helps concentrate flavors and push them deeper into the meat. Learn the ins and outs of slow cooking T-bone steak with a long roast in an unconventional piece of cooking equipment.
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What is Slow Cooking?
The term slow cooking encompasses all kinds of methods that focus on lower temperatures and longer cooking periods. Steaks are often slow-cooked in the oven, but this method can be tricky for the T-bone due to its composition. The T-bone has two distinct cuts of meat on either side of the T-shaped bone in the center that gives the cut its name. The tender filet mignon is on the smaller side, while the larger side is a strip sirloin section. This means that grills and ovens can leave one side overcooked when the other side reaches perfect doneness. Using a dedicated electric slow cooker or crock pot solves this problem, evenly cooking the entire steak at the same time while maintaining a tender and juicy texture.
Preparing T-Bone for the Slow Cooker
You can technically toss a raw steak into the slow cooker, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and add your favorite flavoring liquid, and come back two to four hours later to a well-cooked steak. However, there are some preparation tricks to make the best possible T-bone in the slow cooker.
Tips and Tricks
- Let the steak come to room temperature by sitting it out for 10 to 20 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker. This is even more important if you plan to sear the steak first.
- Dry the steak before sprinkling salt and pepper on the surface so it adheres. Even if you are adding liquids to flavor the meat as it cooks, you’ll want some seasoning on the surface before it goes into the slow cooker.
- Choose a well-marbled T-bone with plenty of fat around the edges as well. The fat gets the biggest chance to melt into the meat with this kind of slow cooking method, and it’ll keep the meat from getting tough or dry from extended exposure to heat.
- Sear the steak in a cast iron skillet or grill pan before adding it to the crock pot. Heat the skillet with a little high-heat oil or clarified butter, then let the steak cook for three to four minutes on each side. Since T-bone steaks are a thicker cut, try to sear the sides as well for at least a minute each.
Things You’ll Need
Your slow cooker should have a high heat setting if you want a medium or medium-well steak. Low heat settings take longer to cook the steaks and won’t make it easy to catch the steak at a less well-done state. A skillet or grill pan makes it easy to sear the steak before it goes into the slow cooker, which adds to the flavor and texture of the finished dish. A meat thermometer is the best way to tell when your steak is done. Knowing the correct temperature for levels of doneness for the T-bone steak cut will help you determine when to take the steak out of the slow cooker.
Slow Cooked T-Bone Steak Recipe
Prepare your own slow-cooked T-bone steak for a filling and hands-off dinner you can enjoy any night of the week.
- 1 well-marbled Prime or Choice T-bone steak
- Salt and black pepper (or any other dry rub seasonings)
- 1/2 cup of liquid, preferably flavorful ingredients like wine or soy sauce mixed with water or beef broth
1. Let the steak rest and come to room temperature, which takes around 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. Dry the surface with a paper towel and sprinkle on salt and pepper, patting so the seasonings adhere well.
2. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of high-heat oil or clarified butter. Sear the surfaces of the T-bone steak in the pan, leaving it for three minutes or so on each side.
3. Set the slow cooker to high or medium heat. Place the steak in the cooking compartment, then pour in the cooking liquid to the side of the steak. Cover the cooker and set it to run for at least two to four hours.
4. Begin checking the steak’s internal temperature at the two-hour mark. Use a doneness chart for the T-bone steak cut to find when it’s done to your preference. It’s easier to get medium to medium-well doneness than any other level with this cooking method.
Try tossing in whole mushrooms and pearl onions to add flavor and create an automatic topping for your steak at the same time. After slow cooking, the juices left over are easily used as a gravy base. Thicken the juices with cornstarch or flour and butter to create a brown gravy that pairs perfectly with both the T-bone steak and your favorite mashed potatoes.
The slow cooker is a great way to cook a juicy T-bone, especially when you’re busy and can’t stand over the grill or keep an eye on a hot oven. This slow cooking method is easy to set up in the afternoon so you can return home to a dinner that’s ready to serve with little further work. Find a highly marbled T-bone steak here at Chicago Steak that will respond beautifully to this kind of slow cooking method.
Slow Cooking Steak FAQs
Leaving the steak cooking for more than four hours, especially on a higher heat setting, is likely to overcook it. It can become toughened and dry if the liquids are lost, or it can just become so soft it comes apart as you take it out. Softened steak may not be as satisfying to cut, but it still makes a tasty taco or sandwich. Toughened meat is harder to enjoy, so keep plenty of liquid in the cooker and check it regularly once you’re past the two-hour mark of cooking. Try not to set it and forget it since a steak can’t take the 8-hour cook time a roast can handle.
Slow cooking steak makes the meat more tender and easy to eat with just a fork, especially if you maintain a steady liquid level. The slow cooker encourages this by condensing moisture and dripping it back down on the steak, basting it for you. Just make sure not to let the slow cooker’s compartment run dry and don’t go past four hours when cooking unless you’re sure the steak still needs more time.
Marinating is particularly useful when slow cooking a cut of meat like the T-bone. Beef absorbs liquid while slow cooking, so you can add the marinade as the flavorful liquid when cooking to help force more of the flavor inside near the bone. Make sure not to make the marinade too salty or vinegar heavy if you want to follow this method since the slow cooking method will greatly concentrate the flavors. Aim for a more diluted marinade or add broth to water it down when adding everything to the slow cooker.
Slow Cooked T-Bone Steak
- 1 well marbled Prime or Choice T-Bone Steak
- salt and black pepper (or any other dry rub seasonings of choice)
- 1/2 cup liquid, preferably flavorful ingredients like wine or soy sauce mixed with water or beef broth
- Let the steak rest and come to room temperature, which takes around 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. Dry the surface with a paper towel and sprinkle on salt and pepper, patting so the seasonings adhere well
- Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of high-heat oil or clarified butter. Sear the surfaces of the T-bone steak in the pan, leaving it for three minutes or so on each side
- Set the slow cooker to high or medium heat. Place the steak in the cooking compartment, then pour in the cooking liquid to the side of the steak. Cover the cooker and set it to run for at least two to four hours
- Begin checking the steak’s internal temperature at the two-hour mark. Use a doneness chart for the T-bone steak cut to find when it’s done to your preference. It’s easier to get medium to medium-well doneness than any other level with this cooking method