One of my favorite things in the world is to have a steak cooked on the barbecue. There’s something almost magical about a thick, juicy steak seared on the outisde, red and juicy on the inside. Give me some golden brown mushrooms, a baked potato with all the fixins and a pint of ale and I’ll be a happy guy. That perfect meal is all for nothing, though, if your steak doesn’t come off the grill just how you like it.
Now, before you put your steak on the grill, you have to know how to pick the perfect steak when you go to the store. After all, a meal is only as good as the ingredients that go into making it. The best steaks come from the rib and long loin and include the tenderloin, sirloin, strip loin, porterhouse, T-bone and rib steaks. These steaks are premium because they can be griled on their own without seasoning and marinades. Done right, they’ll come off the grill tender and juicy without any extra effort on your part.
Try to pick steaks that have been aged 14-21 days and about 1.5 inches thick. At this thickness, there’s less chance of drying them out or overcooking them. On a personal note, I prefer steaks with a bone in them such as a rib steak or T-bone. The bone helps keep the steak from shrinking and somehow adds flavour to the meat. Don’t believe me? Ask your local burger. They’ll back me up.
A final note on picking your steak. First, you want something well marbled with fat. Basically, the fat melts as the steak cooks, lubricating the meat. This helps produce a steak that is tender, juicy and flavorful. Also, you want to take a look at the meat itself. The meat should be firm and a bright cherry red. Meat should not be that dark brown you sometimes see at the grocery store. Also, the fat itself should be white, not off white or yellowish.
At this point I’m going to presume you’ve got a gas grill. When you’re ready to grill your steak, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, for about a half hour. In the meantime, light your grill, set it on high and put the lid down. just before you’re ready to grill, pat the steak dry with paper towel. Removing excess moisture from the surface of your steak allows it to sear more evenly, resulting in better caramelization and grill marks. Once that’s done give your steak some seasoning. A little salt and fresh ground pepper are all a good steak needs.
Adjust the heat on your grill to medium high and add your steaks. Lower the grill and give the steaks 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare. Once youu’ve flipped the steaks over, give them a gentle press with your thumb after five minutes. With practice, this will give you a good idea how rare or well done your steak is. When the steaks have cooked to your liking take them off the grill and let them sit on a warmed platter for five minutes. This will let them finish cooking, allow the protein fibres to rest and will allow the steaks to reabsorb some of their juices.
Serve with your favorite side dishes and maybe some seasoned butter. Remember these are guidelines since everyone’s gas or charcoal grill heats up differently. Just remember practice makes perfect. And I can’t think of a better excuse to have a steak every weekend than the excuse “I need the practice.”