Steak Master Series Finalist on Searing the Perfect Fillet

Degrees of Steak Doneness, Searing the perfect steak, Steak Master Series
Picture courtesy of Longhorn Steakhouse


Last month, I was invited to Longhorn Steakhouse to witness three of their grill masters compete for the title of Western Division steak master. During this competition, we also got to sample their creations along with some side dishes from Longhorn Steakhouse. The Steak Master Competition started in early February- March, each restaurant in each region had its own grill chef compete for the best. Then the top in each market compete to win. It started off at 18 semi finalist, and is now at 7 finalists for the steak master champion title. Michael Cortes, of Denver Colorado will be representing the Western Division in the finals in Florida, next Thursday.

Following the celebration, I had a chance to sit-down with Michael Cortes and get some advice on grilling a perfect fillet. 

Degrees of Steak Doneness, Searing the perfect steak, Steak Master Series
L-R: Michael Cortes(Denver), Mauricio Salazar(The Woodlands), Darius Jones(Arkansas) 


Cooking steaks at home starts with good seasoning and a good cut of meat. For a seasoning recommendation with lots of flavor, you can purchase the Charbroiled seasoning at your local Longhorn Steakhouse. We’ll begin the process by selecting a meat; a fillet for instance. Cortes suggests using “The Big 4” in seasoning your meat; salt & pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder will bring out lots of flavor in the steak. Don’t be afraid of over-seasoning, because most of it will fall off while you’re cooking. The next step is to prepare the cookware. Cortes recommends a cast iron because it works with the seasoning by sealing in the juices and leaving a nice flavor.

Once you’ve readied the meat, add either Canola Oil or a little butter to the cast iron(depending on the surface you’re cooking on, Cortes recommends 400 degree temp). Once the oil starts bubbling, place the fillet on the cast iron and sear 3-4 minutes on each side depending on how hot the skillet is. For a fillet, medium rare is recommended, one tip is searing the sides to seal in moisture and leave it juicy. 

To test the level of doneness, use the palm test for steak(this can me googled).

Now for the pairing! With a steak, garlic mashed potatoes or a baked potato is the way to go. That way you’ll have your proteins and your carbs, a side of spinach or asparagus wouldn’t hurt in my book. Then wash it all down with a red wine of choice(this will help you break down and digest the meat).


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