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Why Olive Oil for steaks?

Olive oil has a very low smoke point and burns easily, but I've seen tons of BBQ gurus advocate seasoning steaks (along with other meats) with olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you're applying crazy high-heat to those steaks, the oil is going to burn.  It won't taste good, and it won't be good for you.  Oils like Avocado or Macadamia Nut have a much higher smoke point and seem like a far better choice, so why do so many people who seem so knowledgeable insist on using olive oil?  Genuinely curious.
Southern California

Comments

  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,691
    edited July 2013
    Good question, I'm curious too.  I don't use it for steak grilling.  I use grape oil for wokking because it has the highest "burn point" I can find (a little over 400 I believe).
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • HibbyHibby Posts: 382
    Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 468° http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point
    Conservative stalwart in Thornville, Ohio
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,015
    i just salt for the sear, i dont like the bitter burnt pepper taste either. salt, sear, take off the grill, add pepper or rub, rest, roast, rest
  • TonyATonyA Posts: 547
    I don't believe there is a cooking oil with a smoke point at or over 500 degrees - which is where  you will be cooking.  Sometimes having oil smoke is not necessarily a bad thing.  Oil on food helps facilitate heat transfer and eliminates water from the surface so you get a better color.  You only want to use a little bit - it's not like your food will be up in smoke.
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,691
    Hibby said:
    Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 468° http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point
    Interesting.  Gonna have to look for the "extra light", I bet it's a lot cheaper than the expensive grape oil I buy!
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    You don't really need oil for steaks. Oil the grate or pan maybe.

    Read this on smoke points. The refining is more important than the type of oil.... look at the olive versus the oils you recommended.


    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point
    ______________________________________________
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    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 449
    Yeah, looking through that list of oils, I guess everything is going to smoke below the temperature of a high-heat sear.  Still, I'm confused by the olive oil thing just because it's relatively low on the list of smoke points.  I may give it a try without any oil at all.  If any oil you put on is just going to burn, I wonder whether it's a better idea to go bare.
    Southern California
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,221
    I've never done it but I hear two reasons, one is to prevent moisture loss and the other is to prevent sticking. Drying and/or salting will draw excess moisture from the steak and IMHO if you do the reverse sear there will be no sticking.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • HotchHotch Posts: 975
    I like clarified butter. It has a high smoke point of 485 °F. Did I mention the taste? Most steak houses give your steak a wash of clarified butter as it comes off the grill.

    image

     "You’re not a real Texan till you’ve been kicked out of every decent state in America." - Joe Bob Briggs

    LBGE, Mini BGE and R&V Fryer

    Prosper TX



  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 449
    Hotch said:
    I like clarified butter. It has a high smoke point of 485 °F. Did I mention the taste? Most steak houses give your steak a wash of clarified butter as it comes off the grill.
    Interesting you bring this up.  I ate at Stripsteak recently in Vegas (Michael Mina's restaurant).  It was one of the best steaks I've had in my life.  Looked into it afterward and apparently the steaks are all brought to target internal temperatures in baths of clarified butter prior to being thrown on the grill for a sear.  Definitely going to start using clarified butter at home.
    Southern California
  • QDudeQDude Posts: 540
    I did my first ribeyes this week with olive oil, salt, and pepper and they were incredible!  The grate temp was around 500 degrees.  I will use olive oil in the future.

    A northern Colorado Egghead since 2012!

    XL and a Small BGE.

  • HotchHotch Posts: 975

    Also look for product called Ghee. Mostly used in South Asia or Indian cooking. The production of ghee includes simmering the butter along with the milk solids so that they caramelize, which makes it nutty tasting and aromatic. (From Wikipedia) I use Ghee mostly.

    As Homer Simpson says: mmm...butter...better!

    image

     "You’re not a real Texan till you’ve been kicked out of every decent state in America." - Joe Bob Briggs

    LBGE, Mini BGE and R&V Fryer

    Prosper TX



  • HotchHotch Posts: 975

    Wow I feel dumb. Never even crossed my feeble brain.

    Next ribs I cook I going to try the Ghee in the foil instead of a bottle of liquid Parkay (Vegi oil)

    We may be doing ribs this weekend.

    image

     "You’re not a real Texan till you’ve been kicked out of every decent state in America." - Joe Bob Briggs

    LBGE, Mini BGE and R&V Fryer

    Prosper TX



  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,292
    bicktrav said:
    Hotch said:
    I like clarified butter. It has a high smoke point of 485 °F. Did I mention the taste? Most steak houses give your steak a wash of clarified butter as it comes off the grill.
    Interesting you bring this up.  I ate at Stripsteak recently in Vegas (Michael Mina's restaurant).  It was one of the best steaks I've had in my life.  Looked into it afterward and apparently the steaks are all brought to target internal temperatures in baths of clarified butter prior to being thrown on the grill for a sear.  Definitely going to start using clarified butter at home.

    Butter and steak - what could be wrong with that. I have been finishing steaks with butter for years. It just seems to go together. To carry the butter one step further ..... On the Pioneer Woman show Ladd cooked beef tenderloin in an aluminum pan filled with butter on the grill. Hmmmm, interesting. ;;)
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • Ghee is the same thing as clarified butter, for what it's worth.

    I don't use any oil on my steaks, generally.  I just keep my CI grid seasoned.

    [Northern] Virginia is for [meat] lovers.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,221
    Ghee is the same thing as clarified butter, for what it's worth.

    I don't use any oil on my steaks, generally.  I just keep my CI grid seasoned.
    Hotch is right about ghee. In clarified butter you simmer off the water from the butter and skim the foam and pour off leaving the milk solids in the pan. With ghee they caramelize the milk solids in the pan and strain them out. Ghee is made from unsalted butter.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • HibbyHibby Posts: 382
    Hibby said:
    Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 468° http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point
    Interesting.  Gonna have to look for the "extra light", I bet it's a lot cheaper than the expensive grape oil I buy!

    Yes. The extra light carries almost ZERO olive oil flavor but in removing the solids, the smoke point goes up. Specialty stores carry it.
    Conservative stalwart in Thornville, Ohio
  • HibbyHibby Posts: 382
    Wow. I can only imagine a steak simmered in clarified butter before a final sear. Heaven!
    Conservative stalwart in Thornville, Ohio
  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 449
    Hibby said:
    Wow. I can only imagine a steak simmered in clarified butter before a final sear. Heaven!
    Yeah, it was absolutely unreal.  Apparently, the bath of clarified butter brings it up to internal temps over a period of around an hour, so it's a very slow rise.  From what I understand, the steak was voted the best in the US by Esquire Magazine.  Not that that publication is the be-all-end-all when it comes to steak, but still.  It was pretty unbelievable.
    Southern California
  • HibbyHibby Posts: 382
    I think I saw that technique on a cooking show (they were interviewing a restauranteur. I wonder if it was the same place? I saw it probably more than a year ago. Anyways, congrats on getting to experience it.
    Conservative stalwart in Thornville, Ohio
  • fljoemonfljoemon Posts: 306
    You can pick up Ghee at any Indian Grocery store.
    Too much of it will clog your arteries!

    image
    LBGE & Mini
    Orlando, FL
  • HotchHotch Posts: 975

    That is it. Warm it up to a liquid, grab a brush and all is well.

    image

     "You’re not a real Texan till you’ve been kicked out of every decent state in America." - Joe Bob Briggs

    LBGE, Mini BGE and R&V Fryer

    Prosper TX



  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 982
    bicktrav said:
    Hotch said:
    I like clarified butter. It has a high smoke point of 485 °F. Did I mention the taste? Most steak houses give your steak a wash of clarified butter as it comes off the grill.
    Interesting you bring this up.  I ate at Stripsteak recently in Vegas (Michael Mina's restaurant).  It was one of the best steaks I've had in my life.  Looked into it afterward and apparently the steaks are all brought to target internal temperatures in baths of clarified butter prior to being thrown on the grill for a sear.  Definitely going to start using clarified butter at home.
    Just to be sure I understand: Do they bring the clarified butter to 134 degrees and let the steak come up to the same temp?  Like a sous vide machine only filled with clarified butter and on vacuum bag?

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • HotchHotch Posts: 975
     I use the Trex method cooking filets. I warm it up in a small bowl and after the shut down flip I brush it on both sides as they come off the grill. So while it is resting under the foil all that goodness is soaking in. I have not tried the submerged method.

    image

     "You’re not a real Texan till you’ve been kicked out of every decent state in America." - Joe Bob Briggs

    LBGE, Mini BGE and R&V Fryer

    Prosper TX



  • AcnAcn Posts: 494
    edited July 2013
    In this month, Cooking Light Adam Perry Lang suggests drizzling olive oil with some chopped herbs on the plate or board you let the meat rest on, so the heat helps transfer some of that flavor while the meat is resting.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,586
    I often drizzle a steak with olive oil, after it's grilled.  I'll have to try the ghee.  
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  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,116
    edited July 2013
    Recently I've been rendering down some bacon and brushing the steaks with it before the sear. I think someone calls it beef love. I've also used duck fat the same way and it is awesome.
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
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