Well. It's an okay hypothesis. Well not really a "hypothesis" in any scientific sense. Look. I just want to try something you pedant!
I've been reading and watching videos and having people show me the "right way" to cook a steak. My step-dad actually makes an amazing steak and I've been trying to repeat his technique for some time (mostly without the same amount of success because I do things differently than he does for various reasons). So, there are a list of things I do currently whenever I cook steak.
- I dry the steak with paper towels.
- I leave the steak out on the counter-top for about an hour to bring it up to room temperature -- it should be an hour per inch of thickness. (This is apparently a process called "tempering".)
- I season the steak for the time I left it out.
- I use sea salt (coarse these days) or coarse kosher salt. I also use garlic powder and onion salt. I would probably use black pepper / lemon pepper and worchestershire, but that's a non-starter since the wife's pregnancy has left her incredibly sensitive to pepper and turned her tastebuds against worchestershire.
- Because of the pregnancy, I cook the steak indoors rather than on the grill because I can control the temperature of the steak better (because I'm still a grill noob). Also, it's been "cold" (aka below 60 F) up until now (meanwhile my step-dad was grilling in -10 F in the snow in Maine).
- I get the cast-iron pretty hot before putting the meat on it and I turn it a few times (mostly because I don't have a lot of temperature control on an electric range in a cast-iron pan). I should probably get it hotter than I have been.
- When I'm nearly done cooking, I'll throw in butter slices and baste.
- I let the steaks rest for awhile.
Things were going well (for cooking well-done steaks, anyway). Then I watched / read Julia Moskin's Cast-Iron Steak recipe in the New York Times. She salts the pan, but not the meat. I watched Omar Allibhoy make a Spanish paella. He salts what looks to me like a cast-iron pan too. Google lead me to a blog post by Karen Ahn and, from there, I've got a new set of things I want to try.
Before cooking, I want to leave the process the same, except that I think I'll wipe off the seasoning with a paper towel and re-dry the steaks. Additionally, I'm want to salt the pan with coarse salt (kosher or sea). And maybe use an herbed-butter instead of just butter or let the steaks rest on some herb-bed.