Remove steaks from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
Place cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper, gently pressing seasoning into the steaks.
Once pan is hot, add canola oil. When hot and rippling, add steaks to pan, making sure they do not touch each other.
Set a timer and sear first side for 2 minutes and 30 seconds (For a 1 inch steak at medium doneness - see table below for temperatures). Flip steak and set timer for 2 minutes and 30 seconds for second side.
Cooking times for a steak will vary based on the thickness, size, and shape of your steak. For best success, I suggest a meat thermometer. You'll want to remove your steak from the pan when the temperature reaches 5 degrees below your desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook slightly while it is resting. Temperatures are listed in Fahrenheit.- Rare: 125 degrees - Medium-rare: 135 degrees- Medium: 145 degrees- Medium-well: 150 degrees- Well done: 160 degrees.
After flipping steak, add butter, smashed garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs to pan. Once melted, spoon butter over steaks while second side cooks.
Once steak is cooked to your desired temperature, remove steaks immediately from pan and transfer to a plate. Rest steaks by covering loosely with foil for five minutes. At this point the garlic and thyme can be discarded from the pan.
Optionally, drizzle extra garlic herb butter over steaks before serving.
I highly suggest using a meat thermometer if you are not familiar or comfortable with pan-searing steaks. Due to the variance in thickness, temperatures of the stove top, size, and shape of your steaks, the cooking times may vary.