The Better way to great meat grilling!
1. Choose your meat wisely: The meat is absolutely the most important part of the process. And knowing what cut you like will open your eyes to endless possibilities. Most people think the filet or tenderloin is the best cut. It is probably the most tender, but “best” is up for debate. Filets sacrifice flavor for tenderness and usually rely on some outside agent to give them a stronger flavor. Rib eyes have killer flavor but tend to be on the fatty side. The New York Strip falls somewhere in between.
So try different cuts to see what works for your taste. I love Rib eyes, but when I can’t shell out the cash, I’ll get a good chuck steak. It has good marbling (fat content) but has enough meat so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time.
No matter which cut you favor, freshness is the key. If you have a little extra money, buy your meat at a true butcher’s shop. Chain stores like Wal-Mart only carry “case-ready, pre-packaged” meat. This meat, sitting in Styrofoam and covered in cellophane, is far less fresh than meat bought at a shop that actually cuts the meat themselves.
2. Let the flavor of the beef come through: If you are using quality meat then you shouldn’t need anything else as a marinade. Minimalism is the key. Too many flavors and you mask the true beef flavor. This concept applies to BBQ and sauce as well.
Depending on the cut, I use a little olive oil, Kosher Salt, and fresh coarse ground pepper. That’s really all you need.
If you want to kick it up a notch, try a rub or a seasoning mix to give your steak the extra flare that your looking for.
3. Get the fire hot: The more sear you can get on the meat, the more flavor you will lock in. The higher quality the meat, the more time you have before the meat really burns. It should just sizzle and sear, but keep an eye on it so you don’t lose your steak to the flames.
4. Check the temp: There is nothing more destructive to a steak than over cooking it. A good steak should be cooked to medium rare. Anything over medium is pushing it. Cooking it to “well done” is a punishable crime in 39 states and basically ruins the steak. But again that is something that left up to personal taste!
With practice you can tell the “done-ness” of your steak by touch. But most of us aren’t that skilled. Get yourself a good meat thermometer. They are definitely worth the investment if you are doing a lot of cooking. For the regular home chef, you can get a good thermometer for $6-$20 that will do just fine at keeping your meat “in the red.”
Meat Doneness Chart
Rare 120 – 125 degrees
Medium rare 130 – 135 degrees
Medium 140 – 145 degrees
Medium well 150 – 155 degrees
Well done 160 degrees – and above
5. Let the meat rest: During the cooking process, the meat proteins constrict and essentially squeeze out their juices. Letting meat sit and rest after cooking partially reverses this process. If you let your steak rest for 5 minutes on a separate plate, the liquid should redistribute throughout the meat. The meat ends up retaining more flavor and will be juicier. Cover it with some tin foil to keep it warm.