If you want to cook the perfect steak for dinner, you simply have to fire up your grill and get started the right way. It’s no big secret; with a little attention to detail, and your head firmly on your shoulders, you can conjure up the best steak in town, in your own kitchen. Here are some points to ponder:
Marbling: The thin streaks of fat running through the steak is called marbling, and the more a steak has it, the better, as it adds tonnes of flvour and keeps the meat tender.
Seasoning: The old fashioned kosher salt and pepper is good enough to season a steak to perfection. Don’t be stingy with the salt, though you can hold back the pepper to suit your taste.
Grilling: The grill needs to be very clean and very hot. So scrub it well before use and coat the grill grates well with oil. To get a good sear on your steak, 220-250º C is the right temperature on the hot side of your grill and around 180º C is good for your medium side. Grill the steaks over the hottest part of the grill, covered, until browned on both sides. Turn them halfway through for about 6 minutes total. Then, slide the steaks to the cooler part of the grill and continue to cook for 5-12 minutes until it reaches your desired temperature for doneness.
Using a culinary thermometer is the best way to check the progress of your steak on the grill. When you think your steak might be done, insert the thermometer into the side and see where you’re at. (Don’t poke too many holes, you’ll lose moisture)
Follow these temperatures: Rare – 50° C, Medium-Rare – 55° C, Medium – 60° C, Medium Well – 65° C, Well-Done – 70° C. Remember, these temperatures are what the meat should be at when serving. Since the temperature of the steak will rise as it rests off the grill, you’ll want to pull the steak off the grill 5-10 degrees before.
Rest it: Once you remove your steak from the grill, cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting – this will give it time to let the juices redistribute.
Types of steaks
These very tender steaks are cut from the long, narrow tenderloin muscle. When cut from the smaller end, they’re usually 1 to 2 inches thick and called filet mignon.
This consists of two muscles separated by a T-shaped bone. The larger muscle is the juicy, flavourful top loin and the smaller one is part of the tenderloin.
This steak may be boneless or bone-in and are cut from the small end of the rib, close to the short loin. It has ample marbling and is exceptionally juicy.
The sirloin consists of several muscles and steaks cut from this vary in tenderness and marbling. Top sirloin is the most desirable.
This boneless steak, found under the steer’s back bone, closest to the rib section, is relatively tender, though it may also have a fair amount of fat and gristle.
New York strip
The strip steak is a cut from the short loin. It consists of a muscle that does little work, the longissimus, making the meat particularly tender.
Grilling done right
Create a two-level fire with areas of higher and lower heat. Then you can move the steaks to a cooler spot if they’re cooking too quickly or if there are flare-ups.
To judge the heat of your fire, hold your outstretched hand close to the grate. If you can keep your hand there for about 1 second, you’ve got high heat; about 2 seconds means medium high.
To prevent sticking, clean the grates with a wire grill brush as the grill heats up. Close the lid when you’re done grilling, for easier cleanup; the trapped heat helps burn off food residue.
Keep the lid on. This helps control flare-ups, won’t affect the sear, and helps the steaks cook quickly and evenly.
Flip the steaks just once. The less you move them, the more easily they will develop a nice caramelised crust.
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