red wine vinegar
ground black pepper
The Meat Pick USDA Choice or Prime beef. These top two grades will have
enough marbling (thin streaks of fat in the muscle) to give you a tender, juicy,
flavorful steak. Know your cuts and what you like. Filet mignon will be
oh-so-tender, but not necessarily very flavorful. Rib-eyes have excellent
flavor, but can be very rich. Strip steaks have good flavor, but are tougher.
Sirloin is tasty, but lean and can get dry. T-bones and porterhouses offer a
compromise by combining the strip and the filet.
Experiment with different cuts until you find your favorite. Once you pick a
cut, get a nice one. Don`t pick from the case. Decide what you want and have an
honest-to-god butcher cut your steaks right off the primal (the whole
straight-off-the-cow rib, short loin, or sirloin). Get them at least an inch and
a half thick. Look them over. You want a nice, red, compact steak with a minimum
of excess fat.
The Seasoning: You do not want to overwhelm the meat, but even good steak can
use a little enhancement. I like to let the steaks marinate overnight after
giving then a light coating of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a
dusting of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
The Cook: Take the steaks out of the refrigerator at an hour before you start
grilling. Contrary to popular belief, this is not in an effort to bring the
steaks to room temperature. The center of an inch-and-a-half thick steaks will
never get to room temperature in any kind of healthy time frame. Rather, letting
the steaks sit out increases the steak`s temperature gradient - the difference
between the outside temperature and the inside temperature. A steak that has sat
out for an hour and has a 50-60°F external temp and a 37° internal temp will
grill up with a much bigger band of pink and much smaller band of gray than one
right out of the fridge that has a uniform 35°F temp throughout.
Grilling is nothing but inverted broiling, so you want your grill HOT. We`re
talking a minimum of 600°F, but the hotter the better. A loaded kettle grill can
reach 700°. Some of the infrared burners on the gassers go to 1200°. The Big
Green Egg will hit 1500° with all the vents open.
Once it`s hot, get the grate clean. You want nice sear marks, not a lot of
sticking. Do a final prep before putting the steaks on. Dust them again with a
little more kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Shape them with your hand
so that they are as tight, high, and compact as possible. You don`t want any
loose bits to burn off. Put the steaks on the grill using tongs or a spatula (no
forks allowed). Put the steaks over the hottest part of the grill and close the
lid. Give them 60 seconds of undisturbed searing. After a minute, flip them
over. If they won`t come away from the grill easily, give them another 30
seconds. Once flipped, close the lid and give them another 60 seconds of
undisturbed searing. Now open the lid and leave it open for the rest of the
cook. Flip them again - yes this violates most `perfect steak` rules. But
flipping the steaks often minimizes flareup and maximizes the amount of steak
that`s done the way you like it. Keep flipping the steaks once a minute until
they are done.
When is it done? Press on the center of the steak or use an instant-read
thermometer to determine doneness:
Rare is 125°F, warm bright red center, feels soft like a sponge
Medium-rare is 135°F, mostly pink with a hint of red center, yields easily
to a little pressure
Medium is 145°F, has a large pink center, yields only slightly
Medium-well is 155°F, has a hint of pink, and feels firm
Well is anything over 160°F, the meat is solid brown with no give.
Most steaks are at their best at medium-rare, but will be tasty anywhere from
rare to medium. Leaner steaks will start to suffer at medium-well. When in
doubt, err on the side of under-cooked. You can always put a steak back on the
grill if it`s too rare, but you can`t uncook a well-done steak.
When they are done to your liking, put the steaks on a warm plate, cover them
gently with another plate, and let them rest. Meat is muscle and muscles
contract when cooked. If you want tender steaks you need to allow time for the
muscle to relax and the juices to redistribute. Let them sit for about 15
minutes before serving.NotesNumber of Servings: Time to Prepare:
Food & Fire
- The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.