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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grilled steak! So easy and so good!

There are some amazing things in this world.  There are the Foo Fighters, Jimmy Fallon, Warhead candies, and then there's steak.  In a league of its own.  This is our carnivorous advantage over vegetarians, our ace card.  They say health, we say "Bah!  STEAK!"  They chant for animal rights, we scream "steak!"  What more can you ask for?  Juicy, classy and ease, all in one.  Everybody's got their own techniques (okay, maybe not all of you) but this is mine, and it works.

What's the real magic of steak?  To me, it probably is the fact that with the right steak, all you need is the flavor of the steak.  What I have done here is a ribeye.  Probably my guilty pleasure when it comes to steak. You've got your tenderloin strip above your NY steak.  Best of both worlds.  Why do I consider it my guilty pleasure?  Well, it's probably the fattiest of the main three "steak" cuts I use.  (The three being NY, T-bone and ribeye.)  I usually stick with NY because of the way lower fat content but sometimes your heart just has to take backseat.

Now, how do we cook this steak?  Some people swear by their method.  Some prefer broiling the steak, some prefer using a hot cast iron, others a stainless steel... myself?  You betcha, the Webber.  Lets go over the easy directions.

Get yourself some good cuts of steak.  Look for a nice marbling.  My favorite value wise is US Choice quality.  But you still have to make sure there's good marbling.  Sometimes a US Select is better than a US Choice and sometimes a Choice is better than a prime.  So choose well.

What do you need?  Salt and pepper.  Really.  That's it.  I add a bit more for a couple reasons.  I add a bit of dry rosemary.  I love rosemary and a hint of rosemary really adds a new dimension to the steak.  Of course that's optional.  I also coat the steak with some canola oil.  This is to ensure that the steak does not stick.  It shouldn't without the oil, but better safe than sorry.  I don't want to mess up a beautiful piece of steak because there was some leftover char from the last bbq that someone forgot to wipe down.

So the few instructions that come with this recipe are so simple.

1)  Make sure to take the steaks out of the fridge and try to bring to room temperature.  I would take the steaks 30-40 minutes, depending on the temperature outside.  I can't emphasize how important this is for the steaks to cook evenly and to get the sear you want.  I like to salt and pepper the steaks when I take it out of the fridge.  The salt begins to draw out the salt to help the sear.  This is where it gets tricky.  Some people prefer to salt days ahead and some people don't like to add the pepper because black pepper burns easily.  I never had a problem with it burning when grilling, so I go ahead and salt and pepper it then.  You can add the rosemary at this time as well.

2)  Preheat the grill on high heat.  High means high.  Steaks cook quickly.

3)  After the grill's been preheated, coat the steak with canola oil and throw it on the grill.  When you place the steak on the grill, do not move it right away.  It will initially 'stick' but it will release the meat from the grates when it begins to build that crusty sear that you want.  You want to cook the steaks 4-6 minutes on each side for a medium rare.  This is very dependent on the thickness of your steaks.  My preference is 1.5"-2" steaks.  I actually prefer to eat my steaks rare too so I don't cook it as long (I do about 3.5 minutes per side).  To get that criss cross pattern to impress your buddies, simple turn the steak at a 90 degree angle midway through the cooking for that side.

4)  To tell if your steak's done, there are a few methods.  First, the hand/finger method.  Gently press your thumb on your middle finger.  Press on that fat part of the front of your hand right below your thumb.  The give there should be about the give on the steak for a medium rare.  If you want a more accurate measure, use an instant read thermometer in the middle of the steak.  It should read about 125-130 for a medium rare.

5) Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes, loosely covered with foil.  This is as crucial as any of the other steps.  Not only does this cook the steak another 5 degrees or so, it lets the juices rest.  That way when you slice through or your diners cut through the steaks, it won't release all the yummy juices.

And that's it.  Now all that's left is for you to go out and buy a steak.  Do it.