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How hot is too hot? (steak question)

IkoIko Posts: 25
edited 7:21AM in EggHead Forum
I seared a 1.5" NY Strip TRex method on the new cast iron grate last night. When building the fire, I left the DFMT off to get things REALLY hot but when I came back the dome temp was beyond max (actually the needle had swung back around to the other side!). I went ahead and did 90 seconds per side, then the 20 minute rest, and back on to roast for another 4-5 minutes per side (temp had fallen to 400 by then).

The steak looked great (see pic below), but it was tough, dry and flavorless despite a liberal dusting of Dizzy Pig Cow Lick rub about 20 minutes before cooking. It was definitely not overdone, and it was a good quality steak from Whole Foods. My question is, can the Egg be TOO hot for searing steaks? Anything else I could have done wrong?

PS - the gasket survived so at least there's that. Also remembered to burp before opening during the sear (Thank God!)



  • LFGEnergyLFGEnergy Posts: 618
    Dont know about the dry part, but it is not uncommon for beef to have no all! I dry aged a choice subprimal last year, and even with aging it was the most flavorless cut of meat you could imagine...I mean NO flavor....even discussed it with the butcher and he confirmed it happens on occasion, and offered to replace the entire subprimal.

    Did you let it rest before cutting into it? Resting allows the juices to distribute in the cut of meat.

    Pic looks good though!
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    If your needle had wrapped and you cooked those 1.5" steaks as long as you said I'm surprised you didn't have a lump of charcoal left instead of a steak! That steak pictured may have been tasteless, but the redness tells me it wasn't overcooked. Have you calibrated your thermometer lately?
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • That's interesting about the dry aging the sub primal because I dry aged a whole "Prime Grade" rib eye for 45 days and it sucked. I thought it was because I aged it too long. It was a huge waste of money and I thought I will never do that again, 28 days max for me. I think now that you posted this, I will work my way back towards 45 days just to see.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,505
    I've seared steaks with the dome therm all the way back around to 150. Have not noticed that it made the steaks any less tasty. However, I suppose that at extreme temps, everything but the salt in the rub burns away.

    My guess (and just a guess) about the "tough and dry" is that the steak may have been frozen somewhere along the line. The breakdown of the muscle fiber can make the cooked meat have less succulence than otherwise.

    Steaks are actually among the least flavorful cuts of beef. They are chosen for their tenderness and fat content.
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,446
    It sure looks good! I'm surprised it was dry. Not to state the obvious, but one thing you could try is a different cut. A rib-eye has much more fat marbled through it, so it tends to be more moist. Of course, it also tends to have more calories!

    Everyone finds something that works for them, but I have had the best luck with a reverse sear for steaks. I let the egg get up to about 600 for the sear.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    I let my last ribeye age for 60 days and it was quite tasty, juicy and fork tender. Me thinks the cow and how it was fed might have something to do with it.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    I agree on the reverse sear - even common logic prevails IMO.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • E-ville EggE-ville Egg Posts: 100
    Every once in a while you'll get a steak with no flavor. Could be due to a few factors:
    1. Butchers fault. When we cut meat we are looking to get the most steaks out of the loin. Some loins come to the meat cutters with a big wedge. This means that when the cow is being broken down the butcher cuts the loin or rib off and it has one or both sides with a big slant or wedge. When th meat cutter gets this kind of cut we cheat to try to get more steaks out of the loin. Sometimes you can cut too much with the grain and the steak will be tough.
    2. Cows fault. Some cattle are just tougher than other. This. Is due to diet and activity level.
    3. Combination fault. Organic Grass fed cattle seem to have less flavor than your farm raised butcher cow. The things they feed and do to the mass raised beef cattle causes more fat to be in the meat. When I get meat at Whole Foods I buy 1 or 2 and only buy ribeyes. 3,4 and 5 are too pricey for me and look to not have much marbling.

    Most butcher shops will replace a bad steak as long as you don't eat all but a small bite and try to return it.
  • It was a Costco rib eye and all the other ones I have bought there have been very good. Glad you posted the picture, mine was shrunk to about that size at 45 days. Sure is a big weight difference from fresh. No wonder they charge so much for them at a nice resturant.
  • CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
    Yeah, I've had similar experiences with my steaks and I'm still trying to figure it out. Like you, my thermometer is usually wrapped back around to over 100 -- perhaps because without the DFMT there is enough oxygen for flames to be reaching the thermometer -- I sometimes wonder if being directly in fire for too long dries out the meat.

    On the flip side, top steak houses seem to cook with a lot of direct flame. And the best steaks I've made on my EGG were cheap 1" (or a little less) rib eyes that I cooked almost directly on the coals for 2 minutes a side. (Then I wrapped them in foil for about 5 minutes and served them. They were fantastic.)

    I tried the reverse sear but it's pretty unforgiving. I apparently left the steaks on too long for step 1 so by the time I got the sear I wanted in step 2 they were way overdone. At least with the TRex method you can check the steaks and pull them when they are ready.

    Haven't tried hot tubbing yet, but I plan to soon. I've also thought about cooking the steaks with the dome open and maybe finishing them in the oven, like they do at nice restaurants.

    Fortunately, even the failed experiments have tasted pretty good!
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,539
    While I certainly enjoy rib eyes, my favorite cut has always been a NY strip. Sysco used to have a retail outlet in Albany, NY and at times, they would offer whole strip loins for $3.99/# (cut to your liking)! Even after months in the freezer, those steaks were always fantastic! Nowadays, I buy from different markets, and the quality varies from fair to pretty good. Kind of disappointing because visual cues aren't always reliable, and the "Angus" label leaves me wondering... There's a quality butcher shop here in town and I might have to bite the bullet and shell out a few extra bucks for what I hope will be a savory cut of beef. BTW, your steak looked so good! Hard to imagine it was totally flavorless! Also, I used to cook the steaks from Sysco on a Weber 'gasser' (before I became an 'egger') and they still were fantabulous!! As E.B. used to say.. "those were the days!"
  • HungryManHungryMan Posts: 3,470
    Without reading the other posts. i would say the steak was not as good quality as you think. It's cooked perfect.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    ??? you said I tried the reverse sear but it's pretty unforgiving. How can that be? You roast the meat at a lower temperature and then pull them off while the fire is getting hot enough to sear. Sorry, but overcooking when doing a reverse sear is negligence - not a problem with the method.

    I am also a huge fan of hot tubbing, but that was merely an outgrowth in principle of the reverse sear also - that is, getting the internal temp up and then searing.

    As for finishing off your steaks in an oven...well...I won't go there!
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • PjoePjoe Posts: 224
    Reverse sear is the way to go on everything. The trick is learning what temp to pull before the sear so things finish at the right doneness.

  • CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
    I respectfully stand by my original statement. :)

    With TRex I can sear the steaks to my desired level of char, and then finish by cooking them at a lower temperature. This second step gives me lots of time to check the steaks. Even if I pull them early I can put them back out if they are not quite done yet.

    With the Reverse Sear I cook the steaks until they are still pretty raw. Then I sear them over high heat and pull them. If I cook them too long in the first step the steaks will be overcooked. If I don't cook them enough in the first step then additional cooking will result in too much char.

    A couple of notes:

    1. The Reverse Sear may well be a superior method of cooking, but I do think it is less forgiving. (I'm going to try it again.)

    2. My wife likes her steak really charred, almost burned. So I can't just throw the steaks on for a quick sear.

    3. The one and only time I tried the Reverse Sear technique I made the mistake of following the directions on my old oven thermometer. (Which says beef is "medium" when it is 160 degrees.) So I cooked the steaks at step 1 until they were 140 and then my later sear overcooked them. I know, I know, "Buy a Thermapen." ;)
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    My experience is after 45 days there isn't much more loss. I assume you recall I use Drybags to age my sub-primals, but here has been my results for 4 rib eyes as for pure weight loss - NOT trimming loss:

    28 days 19.0% loss
    35 days 19.2% loss
    45 days 20.8% loss
    60 days 21.1% loss
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,819
    excuse me but you are basing this on reverse searing one time...I rest my case :whistle:
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
  • IkoIko Posts: 25
    Thanks for the comments guys. I'm inclined to believe the quality of steak was at fault. The steak was cooked pretty much perfectly. I used the exact same technique on a rib-eye from Whole Foods the week before and it was outstanding! This was the rib-eye from last week:


    So I guess the lesson is stick to rib-eyes or only buy strips where you can get Prime for better fat marbling. Second lesson is to drive the extra 20 minutes to the local area meat market that shares a supplier with Peter Luger (John's Meat Market in Scotch Plains, NJ :woohoo: ) over the organic, grass-fed Whole Foods crapola :angry:
  • CrazyHarryCrazyHarry Posts: 112
    We're just talking about which method is more *forgiving* (for a newbie like me) and in my [limited] experience that is TRex.

    My first TRex steak was perfectly cooked and I could probably cook 5 more and they would be perfect, too.

    I overcooked my first Reverse Sear and it will take me at least one more try to get the technique down.

    RRP: You are clearly the more experienced EGGer here and I have to assume from your comments that you prefer the Reverse Sear. So that's good enough for me! I'll definitely try this method again as I'm still looking for that "Oh-my-god-this-is-the-best- steak-I've-ever-had" moment.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    My 2¢ is that it was the meat. I took some steak and put the grate within 1/2" of the lump so the sear temperature was +/- 1,000°. 90 seconds per side, then put in the fire ring, grate and steaks for the roast.

    The sear was unbelievable good and the steak had great flavor.




  • Rezen73Rezen73 Posts: 356
    hey GG, which cooking grid is that down on top of the fire box on the mini?
  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511

    Very very nice. B)
  • BotchBotch Posts: 5,274
    Another vote here for "just a poor steak". Two weeks ago I sprung for a Wagyu, it cooked perfectly, but tasted really mediocre. A T-bone I've done since then, slightly overcooked, tasted MUCH better!
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    The grid that came with the mini...

  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    40 days commando is spot on for me. :)
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    Reverse sear sucks.Trex em ,but only if they sre 1.5 inches thick or more. ;)
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    MY BAD,Strips dry out. I do not like them.Ribeyes are more forgiving. B) I have only eaten 1 stripsteak that I liked and I cooked it. :)
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    Thanks! ;) A real testament to the grass fed BULL$hit!It ain't fit to eat. :sick: I tried it.YUCK!I have eaten grassfed beef in Argentina that I would compare to the finest Prime I have had in the States.NEVER had a bite raised here that was even tolerable.
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    It was the cut of meat.
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