Tony Subia: November 2013
Make Sure You Choose The Right Steak
Not all steaks are created equal. You want a steak that will be juicy and tender. The best steaks for grilling are those from the short loin, rib section or tenderloin. Ribeye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon, T-Bone or Porterhouse. Yep, those are the most expensive steaks but definitely the best. See “Best Steaks For Grilling“.
There are cheaper cuts, but most will be a bit chewy unless they are marinated which will help tenderize the meat. It is fat marbling combined with tenderness that creates the best taste. A bonus for you ladies that watch the inches, the Filet Mignon is perfect. It is very lean without much fat and is the most tender of steaks.
The ribeye has the most fat and will be the juiciest choice. I call the T-Bone and Porterhouse “bonus steaks” because they are two steaks-in-one. A New York Strip on one side and a Filet on the other side. Most people don’t know this, but a T-Bone and Porterhouse are essentially the same cut of steak. The Porterhouse is just a bigger version of the T-Bone.
Want an even better steak? Buy USDA Prime. It’s the best grade available, but is not often found in supermarkets. Only 2% of beef is rated prime and most is sold to the high-end steakhouses. USDA Choice is the next best followed by USDA Select. Read more about USDA Ratings.
Preparing Steaks For Grilling
If you’re just now shopping, don’t leave steaks in the refrigerator for more than two days. Longer than that, freeze them. If frozen, let them defrost in the refrigerator for a day or two before grilling. Don’t ever set a steak on the counter to defrost. It’s a safety thing to prevent bacteria growth.
Remove thawed steaks from the refrigerator and set on the counter at room temperature about 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Here’s the reason: You will want to quickly sear the steak on both sides at hot temperature. Chilled steaks will cool the grill causing it to take longer to sear. The longer it takes to cook a steak, the less tender it will be. After removing steaks from the refrigerator, it’s a good time to fire-up the grill to get it hot for searing.
A good steak does not need marinating or a special rub. Relish its natural beefy flavor. Just splash it with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Don’t use that powdery stuff. That’s all the seasoning it needs. The coating of salt and pepper will give the steak a nice little crunch on the outside.
Right before grilling, brush a little oil on both sides of the steak. This will help keep steaks from sticking to the grill and provides moisture. Some people like to mix melted butter with the oil to give it added flavor. Too much butter will create a high “smoke point”. The steaks should not be dripping with oil, otherwise it could cause a grease fire.
Grilling The Steaks
Before putting the steaks on the hot grill, make sue you have large tongs and a meat thermometer. You want to turn steaks with tongs, not a fork. Puncturing a steak with a fork will permit natural juices to get out resulting in dryness and toughness. When you think your steak may be done, stick the meat thermometer sideways into the center of the steak without touching bone or gristle.
The searing process. Make sure the grill is very hot which is needed for quick searing. If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are very hot. Once the coals are hot, move them to one side of the grill. That way you have one-side hot direct heat and indirect medium heat on the other side. If you’re using a multiple burner gas grill, set one side hot and the other at medium heat.
Place the steaks on the hot side for quick-searing. Leave them for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice sear before turning the steak to its other side for another 2-3 minutes. Use tongs to flip. Never a fork. Don’t be tempted to press the steaks with a spatula. It will squeeze the juices out.
After searing, move the steaks to the medium heat side of the grill to continue cooking. If your grill on has one burner, turn the heat down to medium. You can turn the steaks as often as you wish, but be careful not to puncture the steak. When you think your steak may be done, stick the thermometer sideways into the center of the steak.
120 Degrees F. Rare. Cool red throughout.
130 Degrees F. Medium Rare. Warm red center.
140 Degrees F. Medium. Pink with a slightly warm center.
150 Degrees F. Medium Well. Slightly Pink.
160 Degrees F. Well Done. No pink at all.
When done, consider placing a patty of butter on the steak. Cover with foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then dig into those tender and juicy morsels of tastiness.