Hello friends! I’ve been getting a lot of requests for me to write a recipe for grilling steaks. That’s a lie. Literally not one single person has asked me to do such a thing. But here it is anyways. I apologize in advance to those barbecue purists that think they make the best of everything and follow bullshit rules that their grandpappy taught them. Listen, our grandparents weren’t good cooks. I mean, sure, it wasn’t terrible, but things have changed. The equipment is better. It’s a different time. We live in a food driven culture. It’s time we destroy the patriarchy!!!
*lifts broadsword and charges forth, leading an army of foodies to the nearest gastropub*
Sorry, I got a little carried away picturing myself in a modern day telling of Braveheart. I digress. What were we talking about? Ahh yes, cow candy.
I don’t think it’s necessary to go through each cut of beef. Y’all are adults, functional or not, you likely know which type you like best. I used to be a huge ribeye fan. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t care for all the extra fat and connective tissue. However, if you’ve paid any attention to my previous ramblings, you’ll know that I love fat, because fat is….???? FLAVOR! Correct! Very good class. A ribeye will give you the most flavor but, much like myself, it’s fattier.
I’ve come to love the New York strip. It has a beautiful fat cap on one side, which will impart tons of flavor, and it’s easier to cut it off when it’s time to eat. Assuming you’re allowed to use sharp utensils. If you want practically zero fat, go with a tenderloin filet. They’re tender and tasty, but I’m poor and they’re expensive. If I cook for you and I tell you we’re having filets, there’s a solid 99% chance I lied to you and you’re eating a sirloin. Deal with it.
Now it’s time to prep. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. You’re gonna want to whip that meat out at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook. Bring that slab of protein to room temperature. If you have the time, lightly salt both sides, place it on a wire rack, and leave it uncovered in your fridge for 24-72 hours. This is called “dry brining”, which is stupid, because brining is done with liquid. Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t come up with the name. The salt will help to break down the fat and make your meat more tender. It will also dry the surface for a better sear. 24 hours should be plenty of time, but if you need to cook these tonight, then wait to salt your steak until right before you’re ready to cook.
Your steaks are done brining and you’re ready to grill. This might get a little NSFW, so you children under 25, skip ahead to the next paragraph. You’ve been warned. I like to lay my meat on the counter and admire it for a few moments before slathering it in extra virgin olive oil. My wife and I then spend a few minutes arguing whether it’s 1 inch thick or 3 inches thick. We get the tape measure out and now she can’t stop laughing and I’m in the corner crying. It was in the cold fridge. It probably just shrunk a little. I digress. Now that it’s oiled, hit it with a ton of fresh cracked pepper. You better not be using that sad powdery stuff that’s in the shaker on the table. Invest in a good pepper grinder, ya heathen. There is no need to add a ton of seasonings to the steak. S&P is enough for me!
Next up, we prepare our cooking station. There are several ways to cook up your beautiful bovine, my personal favorite being a charcoal grill. The experts will tell you that a cast iron pan is the best. Maybe you should go read their condescending blog. I am no expert because I am always open to learning and I don’t get stuck in those patriarchal ruts like I mentioned earlier. Cast iron will give you a great sear, create a nice crust, and fill your entire house with smoke, causing every alarm to go off and scare your anxious little ankle biter under the couch for the rest of the evening.
Charcoal or gas are my go-to ways for cooking. Charcoal takes a bit more time to get set up, although it will provide the best flavor. Gas is great for those weeknight dinners when you need to start cooking now and not wait the 20+ minutes it takes to get your coals ready. Whichever way you choose, you will want your grates to heat up with the hood closed for a minimum of 10 minutes prior to cooking. This isn’t negotiable. You need a screaming hot pan/grate.
Your steak is at room temperature. You’ve oiled and seasoned perfectly. Your grates are piping hot. It’s time. I know where my hot spots are, so that’s where I first want to put my steak. I don’t use tongs for this. I just grab that hunk of beat red flesh with my bare hand and place it on the grate and give it a gentle press, letting the cattle gods know it’s in good hands and did not die in vain. Now, close the lid and let it cook for 2 minutes. I had a talk with your wife and she said you’ve never made it 2 minutes. What I’m saying is, set a timer, big guy. Once your timer dings, you are going to flip your steak to a different hot spot on the grill. Do not turn it over on the same spot. Once you’ve flipped, close that lid and reset your timer. Do not walk away from the grill at any point. This whole process takes very little time.
The timer has gone off for a second time. You’re now going to flip it back to the original spot, with a 90˚ turn to get a more even cook. After 2 minutes, flip and turn again. This is how you get perfect grill marks. However, grill marks are only good for Instagram photos. They look nice, but I would rather the entire surface have that wonderful crust.
This is where the purists will come out of the woodwork to tell me I should only flip the steak one time and that I’ve somehow ruined this meal. Well, I’ve tried many different methods on hundreds of steaks and I’ve yet to find this to be true. If you think about it, the best wait to cook food over a flame is with a rotisserie, constantly turning, thus creating the most perfectly even cook. There will always be haters. Just cook them next.
After cooking for a total of 8 minutes, move your meat to a warm spot on the grill and get out your trusty digital thermometer. Digital will give you the most accurate reading and doesn’t need calibrated or adjusted. Personally, I like my steak cooked to medium rare, which is around 135˚. This all depends on the cut of meat. For a ribeye, I like to go to medium. It renders the fat better and leaves you with a steak that you can cut with a spoon. Basically, start at 125˚ for rare and go up 10 degrees until you reach your desired doneness. If you like your steak well done (165˚), just buy a dehydrator and make yourself some jerky. Also, delete me from your friends list. We clearly have nothing in common. I’m kidding of course. Seriously, don’t contact me for any reason.
If your steak isn’t quite to your preferred temp, then cook for 30 seconds more and flip for another 30 seconds. Keep doing this until your temp has been reached. It’s not a bad idea to pull the steak a few degrees before it reaches temp, because it will continue to cook. It’s much easier to throw the steak back on to cook it a little more than it is to invent a time machine and start over.
Once finished, transfer to a plate and toss a couple pats of butter on top. Cover the whole plate with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. I know you’re tempted to cut into it, but do not do that. Set that timer and get everything else ready for your dinner. If you slice into it now, all the juices and flavor will bleed out on to the plate and ruin everything. I know you’re used to disappointing others, just don’t do it with this.
Now that you have the basics down, you can play around with different recipes, techniques, and cuts of meat. At the end of the day, this is your dinner to eat. Cook it the way you want. If you want to cover it in ketchup, I say go for it. Just maybe don’t invite me over that night. As always, Bone Apple Teeth!
The Depressed Chef
One response to “Everything is at Steak!”
Nice article, except for the seedy part about your meat on the counter. It’s great steak 101. I prefer to rub a little roasted garlic on my sirloin, and rotate each side 90° one time after 4 minutes. 8 minutes a side if your grill is 300° will almost get you to 145 IT. Keep those articles coming.
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