The cast-iron skillet is essential for this recipe. Iron is heavy, and that means an iron pan holds the heat and distributes it evenly, so it browns well rather than scorching the food in some spots and leaving it pale in others. It's also nonstick.
With paper towels, dry steaks. Rub meat all over with oil, salt, and pepper.
Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the pan.
Cook steaks in hot skillet 5 minutes. Flip; cook until medium rare, 5 minutes more. Cook strip steaks in two batches.