Grilling the Perfect Steak – Even if You’re a Caveman
We’ve previously discussed how to make an omelette and how to conquer French Toast. And so far, you’re looking fairly well nourished for the effort. It’s nice to see our Homo-Erectus brethren learning new skills.
This time around, in honor of Steak and BJ Day, we decided to reward you for your dedication and mastering the use of your opposable thumbs by schooling you on the art of the steak. Steak good! Right Oog? That’s right, fire good, steak good!
There’s absolutely an art to creating the perfect steak, and it doesn’t take much effort at all. You simply have to pay attention to the small details and be patient. Don’t, HEY, don’t go shoving raw meat into your gaping maw just yet!
Follow these five tips and you’ll soon be dining like the Homo Sapien you were destined to become.
Choose Your Meat Wisely
Back? Good, behave and pay attention. When you’re selecting your hunk of cattle, there are a few things you want to look for before you make your purchase. For example, there are many cuts of beef to choose from: Tenderloin, Rib-eye, New York Strip, Flank Steak, Porterhouse, T-Bone.
Don’t sweat it though, even if you choose poorly, it will still be the most delicious mistake you’ve made since you mistook that hobo for a McRib.
Rib-eyes are typically the most flavorful but tend to be a bit on the fatty side. Filets, like tenderloin, imply they’re the most tender cut, but often they lack flavor compared to more robust cuts. Either way you go, you’re looking to find a cut of beef with good marbling of fat throughout. If you can swing it, stop by a butcher shop instead of the local grocery store, and choose from their selection. Freshness truly counts.
You’ll also benefit from the expertise of the butchers, rather than the 19-year-old Daft-Punk kid who’s currently stocking frozen succotash.
Season Lightly, If At All
A lot of people have special marinades, rubs and seasoning blends that they slap on their steak like a cheap hooker applying dollar store makeup with a paint roller. This is not only wholly unnecessary, it masks the true beauty of your hooker. Also, it hides the tastes of the meat.
You shouldn’t need much here. Use some salt, black pepper and maybe a dash of garlic powder if you’re feeling dirty. Brush your steak with olive oil, season and back away. Just leave the meat alone. And dammit, keep your hand out of your loin cloth. Go wash!
Get Fired Up
You noticed that the article is entitled “GRILLING the perfect steak”, no? Well that’s because we’re cooking over fire. Oog, you know all about this. For others who may happen along, we want to get the grill as hot as we possibly can.
While most of us don’t have access to commercial burners like the restaurants have, we can still get things heated up just fine. You truly want to push for as close to 500 degrees Fahrenheit as you can. Hotter is even better.
The goal here is to create a quick sear on the outside of the steak, sealing in the juices and creating the “crust” which is where a ton of flavor is developed. When you slap that steak on the scorching hot grill, stay nearby. Otherwise a few seconds of inattention will reduce your $30 dinner to a pile of ashes.
Check the Temperature
You absolutely don’t want to overcook your steak. That ruins it, no matter how sacred the cow is that it came from. And there is no saving an over-done hunk of beef. Though, your dog will love you for it.
So buy a meat thermometer. Yes, there are purists out there who would kill you if they caught you prodding your steak with a sharp instrument while cooking it. They’ll claim that you’re letting all the juices out! You’re not, as long as you don’t repeatedly skewer it.
Some people will tell you that a medium rare steak should feel like some part of your palm when you poke it with your finger. Some people also like circus clowns. Don’t listen to these people.
You’re looking for a medium rare finish here. Somewhere between 130 – 135 degrees Fahrenheit should do it. Some folks prefer it a bit more done, and while your purists will gather an angry mob with pitchforks and A-1 Sauce, it’s YOUR steak and you can cook it however you prefer.
Let It Rest
Seriously, take that medium rare hunk of divine bovine and let it sit for about 5 minutes on a plate. This should allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a tastier end result. Cover the meat loosely with a piece of foil to help keep the heat in.
Steak is one of man’s greatest and most cherished entrée dishes. Many of us have tried in the past to re-create that authentic steak house flavor only to walk away disappointed and broken by the results. It’s really not that difficult to pull off the perfect steak, when you follow a few simple guidelines.
So, now that you have your meat, dig in! And, Oog? Go wash your hands.