FitttZee » Knowledgebase » All About Meat – Rest or not to rest steaks?

All About Meat – Rest or not to rest steaks?

Rest or not to rest, the steak’s the question! Check out these tips and tricks for a perfectly juicy steak that crackles of perfection!

When it comes to meat preparation, the question of resting versus immediate slicing often arises. While both methods have their proponents, understanding the science behind each approach can help one make informed choices based on desired texture and flavor profiles.

  • Moisture retention
    There is a significant difference in moisture retention between rested and unrested meats. This can be easily demonstrated by cooking two identical steaks (ideally from the same cut) to the same temperature. Slicing one immediately and allowing the other to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing reveals a noticeable difference in the amount of juice released.
  • Flavor and Texture
    The true difference lies in the textural experience. Unrested meat exhibits a significant temperature gradient, with hotter edges and a cooler center. Conversely, rested meat boasts a more even internal temperature distribution.

Rested meat delivers a consistent tenderness with gradual juice release, while unrested meat offers a contrasting experience: the outer layers release juice readily, leaving the center slightly chewier. Ultimately, the preference for either approach hinges on individual taste.

For those seeking optimal juiciness and a consistently tender texture, resting the meat allows for even distribution of juices and relaxation of muscle fibers. However, those who enjoy a more contrasting experience with pronounced exterior juiciness and a slightly chewier center may prefer immediate slicing.

 Resting vs. Searing

Maximizing flavor and texture in meat often involves a delicate balancing act, with resting emerging as a key factor. While many associate resting with diminished crust, this need not be the case.

For those who relish the iconic charred, crisp “crackle” of a pan-seared or grilled steak, concerns regarding the softening effect of resting are understandable. Indeed, the longer the resting period, the greater the softening observed. Studies suggest that foil further amplifies this effect. For some, this trade-off between resting benefits and crust perfection is deemed unacceptable.

Between Steak‘s Worlds

However, fear not! Achieving a perfectly rested steak with a sizzling, crusty exterior is absolutely possible. By employing specific techniques, we can have our stake and eat it too, or in this case, savor both the juiciness of resting and the delightful crunch of a perfect crust.

Reclaiming the Steak’s Crust

During resting, residual moisture from the steak’s interior migrates towards the crust, causing it to soften. This moisture release is a natural process, but we can address it through various techniques.

Pan-Seared Steaks

  1. Reserve the Power
    As the steak rests, retain the pan drippings in the skillet. These concentrated flavors and fats hold the key to re-crisping.
  2. Heat Surge
    Just before serving, heat the drippings over high heat until they smoke vigorously. This intense heat dehydrates the pan drippings, transforming them into a crackling, flavorful fat coating.
  3. Sizzle and Serve
    Pour the hot drippings over the rested steak, creating a visible bubbling and crackling reaction. This revitalizes the crust, offering a burst of flavor and texture. Remember to serve promptly to preserve the crispness.

Grilled Steaks

  1. Restful Preparation
    Allow the grilled steaks to rest off the heat without foil or covering. This promotes even distribution of juices for optimal tenderness.
  2. Fuel the Flames
    While the steaks rest, prepare the grill for intense heat. Add additional coals to a charcoal grill or crank up the gas grill to high, preheating with the lid closed.
  3. Final Sear
    Briefly return the rested steaks to the hottest part of the grill for 45-60 seconds. This quick sear re-crisps the exterior without overcooking the interior.
  4. Serve Swiftly
    Enjoy the revitalized crust and juicy interior immediately for a truly satisfying culinary experience.


  • Resting meat helps with juiciness but ruins crispiness.
  • Reheating crust after resting provides the best of both worlds.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *