How to Grill the Perfect Steak
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Now that the last grilling days of summer are here it’s time to fire up the barbecue and make the most of it!
Are your steaks as tender and juicy as they can be? Or are they looking and tasting more like an old shoe?
Don’t worry. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel – with the help of Patti’s husband Greg Kishel – have done our homework and have the perfect recipe for grilling success.
For starters, don’t just grab the first package of plastic-wrapped meat that you see in the supermarket. Get to know your butcher! Sunny is in charge of getting the meat for our barbecues and always talks to the butcher.
“This way I can find out what’s available and get the best prices, too! Often there are specials that can save you money,” says Sunny. “Plus the butcher can give me suggestions on which cut of meat to get and how to prepare it.”
Check the steak for marbling – the lines of fat running throughout the meat. These add moisture and flavor to the steak.
Whether you opt for a rib eye, Porterhouse, top sirloin, or other steak, just as important as the cut of meat you choose, is how you handle it.
“I’ve eaten steaks in expensive restaurants and steaks grilled on industrial-sized, backyard barbecues,” Greg says. “But, the best steaks of all were the ones my father used to make on a small hibachi on the steps to the basement. Dad had a chair next to the grill and sat there, paying close attention to the coals and the meat, getting it just right.”
A key mistake that grillers often make is taking the steak straight from the fridge to the barbecue. To ensure that the steak cooks evenly the meat should be at room temperature.
Keep it simple. If you’re not careful, fancy marinades and rubs can overwhelm the natural meat flavors. Lightly coating the steak with oil and then seasoning it with salt and pepper should be just the ticket.
Season the meat about the same time you’re getting the coals ready. That way the salt and pepper will have time to be absorbed into the steak, rather than ending up covering the grill.
Then, when you place the steak on the grill, pick a spot that is giving off the desired amount of heat.
Go easy on the flipping, too. Less is more. Leave the flipping theatrics to the chefs at Benihana’s. The more flipping you do, the harder it is to monitor the amount of heat that each side is getting.
Once the steak is done (about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare) and you’ve removed it from the grill, resist the urge to immediately start eating. Here patience is definitely a virtue. If you’ve watched any of the cooking shows on TV, you know that the top chefs always let the meat rest for 5 – 10 minutes. This allows the steak to finish cooking and helps to seal in the flavor.
After that, your steak is ready to serve – with whatever side dishes you like…and maybe a special wine you’ve been saving for the occasion or a chilled beer.
Patti picked out this Villa Mt. Eden 1993 Zinfandel from Napa we had on hand. With its spicy fruit flavors and mellow taste, it turned out to be the perfect pairing to Greg’s perfectly grilled steak.
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