The Cottage Smallholder

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How to cook perfect sirloin or rib eye steak recipe

Photo of two sirloin steaks on a marble cutting board

Frying steak is easy once you have been shown how to do it

Friday night is steak night chez Cottage Smallholder. It has become an institution. We started it when Danny was weekly boarding at at an assignment in Exeter, five years ago. The promise of a really good steak bolstered him up on the drive home.

The steak has become an integral part of our life. We now accept no invitations on a Friday night, preferring to batten down the hatches, open a bottle of good red wine and pig out on unbelievably good sirloins and, occasionally, rib eye steaks.

These were supplied by Fred Fizpatrick on the Exning Road, Newmarket (now retired) and always cooked by Danny.

His recipe is below.


How to cook the best tastiest pan-fried steaks recipe (for two)
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Danny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Timing and temperature are the key yings when cooking steak
  • 2 sirloin steaks, not too thin. We love ours at about ½ inch or 2 cm thick
  • 2 small knobs of butter, about ½ oz (10g) each
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic granules or powder (this is optional and does not overwhelm the steak)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • A timer that can measure minutes and seconds
  1. This method is for medium rare steak. Simply allow extra cooking time if you prefer medium or well-done steaks.
  2. Using a flat frying pan or a skillet (there is no difference in cooking time), pour the olive oil, one knob of butter and sprinkle on the salt, black pepper and garlic granules (optional). Set your stove top ring to a medium heat. Ours goes from 1 to 9 and we set it at 6. Allow it 2 to 3 minutes to heat through, so that the butter has melted and the pan is hot.
  3. Place the steaks on the frying pan. Arrange them so that the fatty edges are in the middle of the pan.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes on one side. Then turn them over and cook for 1½ minutes on the other side. If you like them medium rare, do not exceed these timings.
  5. Remove from the pan onto warm plates (not hot, as cooking will continue) and leave them to relax for 5 minutes or more.
  6. Add ½ mug of boiling water to the pan and toss in the second nugget of butter and the Balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat down to about 3 so that it reduces without boiling dry.
  7. Pour this “jus” over your steaks.

We always cut our steaks in half so that we each get a portion of the two steaks. For some unknown reason, they never taste the same.

  Leave a reply


  1. Morghanne

    I just made this tonight! Cooked perfectly, tasted delicious! It is perfect for college students who don’t have a grill. Thanks!

  2. René De Beaumarchais

    What’s a mug in milliliters?

  3. annette

    …I’m crap at cooking stakes so i’m going to give this a go tonight. I already see one problem..I use to cook them way toooooo long. My poor husband must really love me sticking around with my cooking. I’ll report back with the outcome! wish me luck.

    BTW :Thanks for the super easy to follow steps.

  4. Hi, am going to try this recipe tonight sounds good – will let you know……xx

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Darren

    I’m sorry but I missed your comment. Great idea getting steaks of different sizes, thanks.

    Hi Matt

    Good news. My mouth is watering just thinking of steak.

  6. I came, I saw, I cooked – fantastic advice, produced my first ever good steak – many thanks!

  7. Thanks for the excellent recipe – I tend to rub salt / pepper onto the steak before cooking but the balsamic is a great idea.

    My wife likes medium steaks whilst I like rare or medium rare (depends if its a full moon!) and I’ve found the easiest way to solve this is to get the butcher to cut a slightly thicker steak for me – cook them both for the same time in a single pan and we each get the steak cooked to our preference but at the same time.

  8. Sounds Excellent. Thanks for the swift reply. I shall head off to the supermarket for the butter etc tonight!

  9. Danny Carey

    Hi Alan, and thanks for choosing our method for the Big Test. Hope we can repay your faith!
    We have a friend, a vet, who is probably one of the most highly qualified in the world in her speciality. At last count she had 31 letters after her name. But she cannot face any pink in cooked meat either. With roasts and joints it’s easy because all we have to do is pop her slices under the grill for a few seconds to get the desired effect.
    One thing you did not mention is how you like your own steak (rare, med, well done).
    I fear that the only way to be sure is to use your steak as the “control” – test your steak every so often and when you think it is the way she would like hers, then you are done. A small sacrifice for the greater good.
    First off, bring the steaks to room temperature by taking them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking and put them side by side on a plate. That ensures that the inside middle bits are not still chilled.
    Secondly, the pan needs to be a little cooler than we would use for our rare steaks. Otherwise the longer cooking time that you need would result in shoe leather at high temperature. I think it’s best to do it like we cook tougher rump steak. Set the ring to 4 and give the steaks 3 minutes on each side. Then test yours – make an incision and see how pink the inside is. Give them an extra minute on each side if required. Test again and cook some more if required.
    NO – you must not use a spread like Olivio. The method needs the dairy fat in the butter. But you can leave out the butter altogether. It does add a nice extra bit of flavour but leaving it out will not really spoil the overall effect.
    YES – pepper and onions sound like a tasty combo. Start cooking them gently 30 minutes before the steak goes on, maybe at ring setting 1 to 2 so that they soften nicely without burning. Have your oven warming up fairly low, maybe 50 c (may take some guessing) and transfer them to a warm plate on some kitchen paper towel to absorb any excess fat or oil while you cook the steaks.
    The all-important bit is to let them rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. The great thing about cooking well done is that it can go back on the pan for a minute or two if needs be, while you distract the guest with some witty and engaging conversation 🙂

    Good luck!

  10. Hi there,

    Reading your atricle and preparing myself to cook this tomorrow night.

    I just hope I have everything I need!

    Can I use olivio type spread instead of butter?

    Also, I was thinking of putting peppers and onions in the pan. Would that work?

    My girlfriend is not a steak lover but this is my chance to convince her. She does not want to see ANY red meat or blood, but also does not want it to be tough as an old boot!


    P.s. I got 2 sirloins around the size you suggested and have an electric cooker which goes from 1 to 9


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