Summer is right around the corner and with summer comes barbecue season. A time to invite friends over for a backyard cookout on your porch, complete with a new porch screen to keep the bugs out. You can enjoy good food and good company without getting eaten alive yourself.
Now is the time to experiment with your grilling skills, to get it just right. Get that grill heating up out on the porch and learn how to perfect grilling a steak. Be the person everyone says, “What’s that smell coming from next door? The neighbors are grilling steaks! Their steaks are absolutely perfect!”
So how do you get that perfection? There are different key aspects you need to look at if you want the crown of Master of the Grill: the meat, the grilling, the seasoning, the cooking and, of course, the eating.
First you want to pick good meat. There are so many options out there for steaks: Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Rib-eye, etc. You want to pick meat that has strips of fat (marbled), but not huge chunks of it. While fat may scare people, it’s actually the fat interweaved in the muscle that gives it such a great taste. Thin meat (less than 3 inches thick) tends to taste better than a thicker slice.
The next step to grilling the perfect steak is to heat the grill. The grill needs to be at a high temperature to sear the meat and build a crust around its juiciness. If you’re cooking a thick steak, you want to be careful not to burn it while you finish cooking the meat. To do this, keep one side of the grill cooler than the other.
If you use wood chips, you can soak them in just about anything—hot water, beer, whiskey—to add flavor to your steaks. If you’re using a gas grill, you want a smoking box so ash doesn’t collect in the grill. You can fill the box with wood chips (without stuffing it), or you could just use aluminum foil.
The most important part of seasoning the beef is to make sure you don’t mask the actual beef flavor. Do this by keeping the seasoning simple: coarse sea salt, freshly ground back pepper, garlic, herbs. Coat your steak evenly on both sides with the seasoning and let the steak sit about 20 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.
Place your seasoned steak on the grill at a 45° angle to the bars and let it sear for 1.5 to 2 minutes. Turn the steaks 90°, without flipping them, to get a good crosshatch marking. Once you see juices forming little beads on top of the steak, it’s time to flip the steak. Use a spatula or tongs to flip the steak; stabbing at it will release the flavorful juices.
Make sure you don’t leave your spot at the grill while the steaks are on. It only takes a short time for the steaks to cook and if you leave, you could sacrifice the perfect steak.