Grilling steak like a pro

I’m a pretty good cook on the outdoor grill, I think, having watched my dad work the barbecue for years. He and I differ on the best fuel source (he will never use anything but charcoal; I think gas is easier and more predictable), but we both turn out a great product. When I grill steak, I usually choose petite sirloin and marinate it with a packet of dry Italian dressing mixed up with equal parts vegetable oil, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Quick, tasty and affordable.

However, always willing to try something new, I decided to learn how to Grill a Steak — Like a Pro. The link will give you all the details, but here’s the gist:

  • Choose a high-quality, well-marbled cut of meat.
  • Allow it to come to room temperature for about 2 hours before cooking.
  • Dry the steak thoroughly on paper towels and season it with melted butter, salt and pepper.
  • Heat your grill as high as it will go or 700 degrees, whichever comes first.
  • Cook the steak for 5 minutes on one side, then for 1-3 minutes on the other side.
  • Float the steak in melted butter and serve immediately.

So off I went to my local Market de Swanque and got a couple of grass-fed, hormone-free New York steaks with decent but not excessive marbling.

I let them come to room temp, dried them and seasoned them as directed. However, the Guys That Know said to coat both sides lightly with butter, and I was much too heavy-handed. Unfortunately, my general philosophy  that “if a little is good, a lot is better” really does not serve me well in the kitchen. I should know this by now.

I fired up my little Aussie grill to a smoking 700 degrees.

I put the steaks on, closed the lid and walked away for 5 precisely timed minutes, although this was very difficult because after about 90 seconds, flames started shooting out of all the grill vents. All that extra butter I so enthusiastically applied made for a conflagration under the hood that had me worried about the safety of my wooden deck for a minute or two. Fortunately, getting those babies to a perfect medium-rare took all of 7 minutes (5 on one side, 2 on the other) so my anxiety was short-lived. I invited my neighbor over to join me and served the steaks with mashed Yukon potatoes and organic orange tomato slices. Delicious!

I can’t say this was THE BEST steak I’ve ever eaten in my entire life — that honor would go to one I had at Ruth’s Chris steak house many years ago — but I do think this method produces an excellent result and I recommend it. Just go easy on the butter prior to cooking (you can be as generous as you dare after cooking). I also think trimming most of the visible fat (which I did not do) couldn’t hurt.

Unfortunately, I was so concerned about the shooting flames and not overcooking the steaks that I didn’t take any photos. Next time!


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