Even the most seasoned grill master could use a refresher course, so whether you’re a Top Chef or just starting out, it’s always good to know the basics.
Not All Grills Are Created Equal:
Sometimes, convenience is king, and when that happens, gas and electric grills work great for cooking. Both grills can yield excellent results, but for superior flavor, beef cooked over coals is unmatched.
Add some mesquite wood chips to your charcoal for that quintessential robust, smoky flavor that makes grilling the art that it is. Play around with different combinations of wood chips and charcoal to find your own aromatic signature over the flame!
Not All Cuts Make the Cut
Just as not all grills are created equal, not all cuts should be cooked on the grill. The ones that perform under fire are the short loin, sirloin and plate. Flavorful, tender, and with exquisite marbling, these cuts are ideal for a quick and intense flame. Bone-in steaks also excel on the grill.
Here’s a quick tip: use charcoal or wood to add even more flavor – its wonderful charring is pure magic.
Lead with Quality
When scouting for quality, remember that certain breeds of cow offer higher quality cuts, as does finer marbling within the muscles. Prime-labeled cuts are the highest in marbling, but there are so many other options available at a great value.
Ask our Friendly Butcher about the best program for your favorite cut!
Just a Little Seasoning
Not sure how much to season? It might depend on the thickness of your cut.
Lean cuts, such as the flank or from the plate, could really use some marinating to help with tenderizing and encouraging the best flavor. Other, thicker cuts are better when rubs are applied early.
But for higher-grade cuts, be careful not to add too much to mask the steak’s natural flavor and juiciness. All it will need is a dash of salt to truly shine.
A tip from our Personal Chef: a great steak is never over-seasoned!
Timing is Everything
With grilling, all good things to those who wait. Meat takes time to cook, so time your prep accordingly. Plan your menu. Steaks at room temperature will cook faster than those straight from the fridge, but it’s more than likely that your side dishes will be ready much more quickly. Timing is everything, so make sure you know when to start your side, because meat waits for no man. Always remember, enjoying a grilled meal requires good timing.
With either a gas or charcoal grill, always remember: safety first! On a charcoal grill, always empty the ashes from the grill’s last use. Then light your source of fire, position the grill grates, and allow the surface to reach a temperature of around 450- 500°F. Use a long-handled grill brush to clean the grates from particles. Using a spray bottle filled with cooking oil, spray the grill to prevent meat from sticking to grates. Your grill is ready to fire!
Let’s Get to Work
Once the grates reach the desired heat of about 450-500°F, place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill. Grilling, due to its high heat capacity, causes what is called the Maillard Effect, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that results in a delicious caramelized surface. That’s how you’ll get that beautiful browning and, in turn, that gorgeous richness that makes a steak a steak.
As the meat sears on the grill, adjust the fire according to your steak’s cut and thickness. Thick steaks require a lower temperature and a longer cooking time. Thin steaks will do best on high temperatures and quick searing on both sides.
Once the meat starts to brown, shift your steaks about a quarter turn on the same side. Half-way through the total cooking time, flip the steaks on the other side. Cross grill marks should appear on top side of steak. Check internal temperature with a thermometer. Once it reaches desired temperature according to the chart below, remove the steaks from the grill and place them on a platter to rest.
Good to know: Meat should rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. The internal temperature of the meat will rise by 5 to 10 degrees, so meat needs to rest not only to reach maximum cooking temperature but also to retain its moisture if you want that juicy, flavorful experience that brought you to the grill in the first place!