Dinners · Recipes

How To Teach a Kid To Cook A Perfect Medium Steak

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Cooking a steak is simple, right? There are many ways to cook steak but often it is so easy to overcook and I am beyond guilty of it.

I usually try the wait and cut technique aka just cooking it at a heat that is too high and end up cutting into it before it’s done, then I lose my patience and slice the whole thing and throw it back in the pan because everything else is done and my feet are starting to hurt and I just want to be done cooking.

Since, I’m not serving it at a fancy pants steak house, it’s fine to have either a big slice in my steak or have a pile of well done sliced steak on the plate.

I also only recently got a meat thermometer that I can leave in while it’s cooking and it’ll tell me when it’s done. I love it and you can get one here

Today, I taught JJ how to check a steak without using a thermometer or slicing into it. It was an experiment for both of us and it was a success!

I learned the technique just by watching a show on Food Network, probably one featuring Bobby Flay because he is always cooking steaks and peppers, and it’s pretty solid advice. Read on to the recipe for the technique!

Steak with bacon mashed sweet potatoes and green beans 

This recipe features use of the Instant Pot pressure cooker. It made for quick, worry-free sweet potatoes. I didn’t have to tend to them while showing JJ how to properly cook the steak, yay!

You can get one here


  • Steak
  • 4 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 strips of bacon, we used turkey bacon
  • 2 cans of beans
  • 1 cup water

Let’s cook!

  1. Peel and dice sweet potatoes.
  2. In an Instant Pot, add one cup of water, place a metal steamer rack and add your sweet potatoes. 
  3. On the Instant Pot set time to 8 minutes. This does not include time to build the pressure, but it’ll be done at about the same time the rest of your food is. 
  4. Season your steak with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat some oil in your pan and add the steak to the pan. (We like to watch a vlog called The Frey Life, pronounced “fry,” and they have a cute saying “Sizzle, sizzle, Frey, Frey” so I told JJ “if there is no sizzle sizzle, there is no Frey Frey” meaning heat your pan before adding your steak to the pan. We’re dorky and that’s okay.)
    That sizzle sizzle

    That frey frey
  6. To check your steak by feel, you compare it to the base of your thumb on your palm. It sounds weird, but when you touch your thumb and your index finger together, it’ll feel rare, thumb to middle is about a medium-rare, thumb to ring is medium and thumb to pinky is an abomination.

    Feeling for doneness: a medium steak should feel like this spot on your palm while your thumb and ring finger are touching
  7. Slice up a few pieces of bacon and crisp them up in a pan. Turkey bacon is not ideal for this because it’s difficult to crisp up, but that’s what we had so we went for it.

    Turkey bacon is not the most attractive form of bacon
  8. While your steak is cooking and your sweet potatoes are Instand Pot-ing, heat green beans in a pot, they’re not really a star here, so I won’t talk about them much. Sorry green beans, it’s just not your time to shine.
  9. When the sweet potatoes are done, release the steam and run them through a potato ricer. You can use a fork to do mash them too since they are falling apart by the time they are done in the Instant Pot, but this was more fun.  
  10. Add your bacon and butter to the sweet potatoes. Season with some salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. JJ kept wanting to add more spices, but this is why I am watching him. Sometimes less is more. Tasting sweet potatoes is better than just tasting seasoning. At this point, out steak was done and resting. Resting meat is important and helps keep it from drying out by allowing the juices to redistribute. 
  11. Slice your steak on the bias, and be super impressed that your 11 year old nephew was able to cook a spot on steak. 
  12. Serve with green beans, sweet potatoes and enjoy!

Have you ever used an Instant Pot? What is your favorite way to make steak or sweet potatoes?

If you make this recipe or use this steak technique, please show me! Take a picture and tag me on instagram @thevintagetart


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