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Parmesan-Crusted Steak

by Brad Prose

Step up the savory flavors with this Parmesan-Crusted Steak. Using filets, we’re adding an incredibly creamy layer of cheesy umami and spices. Only a few extra minutes transform this into a very special meal.

Sliced parmesan crusted steak, ready to eat.

You might be thinking, is this necessary? Don’t answer that, because once you taste this you’ll be realizing that it absolutely transforms the experience in front of you. Think about garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and grilled asparagus, and suddenly you’ve got a full steakhouse meal at the table. Just need to grab that bottle of red wine.

Need other indulgent recipes? Try out the Seared Steaks with Mushroom Gorgonzola Sauce, Gorgonzola Steak Alfredo, or even the Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin.

Why You’ll Love This Parmesan-Crusted Steak

Most of you would agree that simple recipes are the most helpful, and thankfully that’s what this is. Creating the parmesan-crusted steak just adds another 6 minutes or so to your cooking process, that’s it: A simple mix of ingredients with a quick broil. Perfect medium-rare steak with a creamy and crispy crust.

  • Oven or the smoker, it’s a simple process. Low and slow temperatures ensure you nail the perfect temperature.
  • Low maintenance. There’s hardly any work, which is nice for a fancy meal. Essentially the steaks are baked and broiled.
  • Elevated flavor. Steak is special on its own, but this creamy, crusty topping takes it over the edge.
  • Easy to time. Once you make this you’ll understand the timing, making it easy to plan for the meal.
parmesan-crusted filet mignon with glazed carrots

What’s the Best Steak for a Parmesan Crust?

You’ll see above that I’m using filet mignon for this recipe. Part of the reason is that this is a special recipe, so using a higher-end cut makes you feel that way as you’re eating it. There’s more to that though, which is balance.

The parmesan-crusted steak is topped with a mixture of freshly grated parm, mayo, Dijon, and other herbs with spices. Mayo and cheese are added fats, coming together to form the melted crust on top. The richness in eat bite is prevalent and quite strong. I’m recommending using filet mignon steak if possible due to their naturally lower fat content. You’ll thank me for the balance.

The filet also works well for using the reverse-sear process and broiling to finish off the creamy crust. Using thinner steaks has a higher potential for you to overcook the steak in the oven, especially if the topping layer is too thick and you need to make sure it’s broiled.

Need a backup option? I would use a NY Strip Steak as an alternative. The fat content isn’t as high as a ribeye, which I would not recommend, so you’ll still have leaner bites with the rich topping.

Generously seasoning the filet mignon before putting into the smoker.

Prepping the Steak

Having a crispy crust on the steak is just as important as the attention to the parmesan crust. Now that you see the recommendation to use lower fat, thicker cut of steaks such as tenderloin or filet, we need to impart it with as much flavor as possible. Seasoning the steak ahead of time gives it a chance to soak in flavors, improve overall texture, and maximize juiciness. Also, it’s easy to prepare ahead of time.

What is Dry-Brining?

This is a fancy name for the simple process of salting and resting meat before cooking it. Doing so provides the same goals of wet-brining without diluting the natural flavors of the meat. The food becomes deeply seasoned and remains very juicy.

Season the meat, and allow it to rest uncovered in the fridge for a period of time. It’s as simple as that. Osmosis and diffusion do the magic, drawing out excess moisture and sucking back in salt, creating a natural brine that penetrates deep into the muscles.

Benefits of Dry-Brining

  • Crispier bark, crust, or skin on the outside.
  • Deeply seasoned food throughout every bite.
  • Higher juice and moisture retention.
  • Simple process, very little work involved.

You’ll be using this same method for ALL meats, including whole chicken, turkey, pork, chicken wings, and more. Dry-brining works well for anything that will be smoked slowly, or grilled directly over the coals.

How Long Should the Meat Dry-Brine?

The time required for dry-brining depends on what you’re doing and the size of the meat. Smaller cuts that you’ll cook for a shorter period of time and searing on the grill won’t take much longer than an hour or so, and larger cuts like the Prime Rib above need to dry-brine overnight. Most meats will be seasoned properly if rested overnight.

Equipment for Dry-Brining

Aside from your seasoning of choice, the only equipment that I recommend is a wire rack on a baking sheet. Allowing the meat to be elevated provides even airflow around the meat, drying out the outside on the bottom as well, which lifts it out of its own juices. Having a soggy bottom goes against what you’re trying to accomplish.

Target temperature of 115 for medium rare.

How to Cook Parmesan-Crusted Steaks

You’re in for a mind-blowing experience if you’re not familiar with “reverse-sear”. Don’t be scared, this is a simple process of baking the steaks slowly, below the target temperature you’d like to serve them. Typically what you’d do for the second half is searing them in a hot skillet, or over a grill to create a nice crust. You’ll have a perfect temperature inside with minimal grey colors on the outside.

The process of reverse-searing is not new and can be adapted for the oven or smoker. I’m using the smoker, so you’ll notice that my final results are bright red. This color is indicative of taking a short smoke bath at a very low temperature. Just stick with the same temperature for the oven and it will cook your steak at the same rate.

Baking the Steaks to Target Temp

  • STEP 1: Preheat oven or smoker to 225°F. I personally prefer the smoker, but this is absolutely doable inside the house as well.
  • STEP 2: Place the steaks on the grill grate, or a wire rack with a baking sheet into the oven. Cook the steaks low and low until they are about 10-15 degrees from your target temperature. You’ll see in the photo above that I pulled my steaks at 115°F for a Medium-Rare finish when we’re done.

Shown above is the Thermoworks MK4 which is the best out there for quick, extremely accurate temperatures. Check them out, they always have sales.

Here’s a handy chart!

DonenessTarget Temp in the SmokerFinal Temp After Sear
Rare105°F120°F 
Med-Rare115°F 130°F 
Medium125°F 140°F 
Med-Well135°F 150°F 
Topping the steak with the creamy parmesan mixture before going into the broiler.

Ingredients for the Creamy Parmesan Topping

Here we go, the key to the entire parmesan-crusted steak. Whip up this recipe in a few minutes as your steak is cooking slowly, and have it ready for the broiler.

Parmesan Topping Recipe

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

My main advice here is to use freshly grated Parmesan. Asiago, Parmigiano Reggiano, Granada Padano or Romano are all fine substitutes too. The powdered cheese from the famously green can will not give you the results you’re looking for.

Variations for the Parmesan Crust

This is the base recipe for what you see. Customizing it is extremely simple too!

  • Panko bread crumbs: Adds an even crispier texture.
  • Different herbs: Try basil, fresh thyme, or a combination of herbs.
  • Spicy: Chipotle powder, chile flakes, or smoked paprika can amp up the flavors.

Smear a layer on top of the steaks when they are ready to be pulled out of your smoker and set them in the preheated cast-iron skillet. The steaks can go in the broiler immediately, do not let them rest.

How to Crisp the Parmesan Crusted Steaks

Finally, the finish line. This final step is obviously crucial, and you don’t want to walk away while the steak is in the oven. There’s a fine line between charred and burnt. Stay close!

  • STEP 3: Prepare the oven for broiling (High not Low if your oven has the options) as you’re close to the target temperature. Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat it, which gives us an incredibly hot surface to sear the bottom. Make sure that you use a well-seasoned skillet. Do not add oil to the skillet, it could potentially smoke when you’re broiling it in the oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to sear the steaks?

You do NOT need to sear the steaks for this recipe. I would not recommend it either, as the cast-iron skillet will be searing the bottom while the broiler is crisping the parmesan crust.

Can I use a non-stick pan?

I do not recommend using a non-stick pan for this recipe. This method has not been tested by me, and many non-stick pans are not designed for broiling in the oven, and for safety concerns, I would recommend against it.

Will the parmesan crust recipe work with other meat?

Absolutely! Try this parmesan crust on salmon, chicken, or even cuts of pork. It’s fantastic.


More Steak Recipes to Fire Up…

Parmesan crusted steak, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots
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Sliced parmesan crusted steak, ready to eat.

Parmesan-Crusted Steak

Step up the savory flavors with this Parmesan-Crusted Steak. Using filets, we’re adding an incredibly creamy layer of cheesy umami and spices. Only a few extra minutes transforms this into a very special meal.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 Filet mignon steaks
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Topping

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp mayo
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Season each steak with salt and pepper, let them rest at room temperature while you prepare the rest.
  2. Preheat your smoker or oven to 225°F.
  3. Cook the steaks for 45-60 minutes, depending on how you want them to be cooked. I recommend pulling them off at 115°F for medium-rare. Place the steaks on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath if using the oven.
  4. Prepare the parmesan topping while the steaks are cooking. Mix all ingredients together, taste and adjust.
  5. When you’re close to the target temperature, preheat the broiler with a cast iron skillet inside. If you’re using the oven, just wait until the steaks are at the target temperature, and then switch to broil.
  6. Pull the steaks out of the smoker or oven when you’ve reached the target temperature (see chart in the guide). Smear the parmesan topping on each of them and place them in the hot skillet, and then under the broiler. Do not walk away, the topping will crisp up in just a few minutes. When it looks like it’s ready, take out the skillet carefully (will be blazing hot) and remove the steaks, allowing the parmesan to cool slightly.
  7. The steaks are ready after a few minutes, they do not need extended resting time. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

Pay attention to temperatures for the first half of reverse-searing. Make sure you do not add oil to the skillet and place it under the broiler, just use a well-seasoned pan. The steaks will sear just fine.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Smoking
  • Cuisine: Steak

Keywords: steak, filet mignon, parmesan, reverse sear, smoking, oven, parmesan crusted

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