How Do You Grill The Perfect Steak? Depends On Whom You Ask
I have been researching this topic since before the 4th of July and I have finally resigned myself to the fact that there is no definitive answer. It really does depend on whom you ask! My dad always insisted that no matter what kind of meat you were grilling, you allowed it to come to room temperature before you heaved it on the grill.
Now where he acquired this philosophy is anyone's guess. He was a very well-read, worldly kind of guy, old-world Italian to the bone, extremely intelligent, opinionated, talented and complicated. He was also an incredible cook. Where he learned it, (since he really wasn't the kind of person to hang around a kitchen, I don't think) again, I have no idea.
In an effort to discover the penultimate method to grilling a steak, I did what everyone does; I Googled the subject. Well, that was a huge mistake! Every professional chef, butcher, home cook, meat expert, steak lover, beef connoisseur, and burger flipper, has their own very solidly held, sacred beliefs on this topic! There are just as many opinions and suggestions which are similar, as there are differing ones on the subject.
Therefore, I have decided to present some of my findings and let you meander through the plethora of material.
- About the room temperature thing- - Cooking instructor and author of Planet Barbecue, Steven Raichlen says that no self-respecting steakhouse in the world does this, (uh-oh Daddy!) that steaks should always be ice-cold before you put them on the grill.
- Don't season steaks before you put them on the grill- - Raichlen says cooks around the world agree that generously sprinkling your steaks with salt & pepper right before they go on the grill makes for a delicious crust on your steak. But he doesn't think you should do this way ahead of time because the sale draws moisture out of the meat. (I don't know about this one? I've seasoned ribeyes with rubs & then refrigerated them overnight and they were still juicy, savory and downright finger-lickin' good!!)
- Don't use a barbecue fork to turn steaks- -Correct, almost every chef, cooking instructor & cookbook on the subject will tell you that puncturing your steak is a good way to drain out all of the juice. Use tongs instead.
- Turn steaks only once - - This statement has caused many a heated discussion between a lot of knowledgeable chefs and foodies! So there is no real consensus here. Steven Raichlen says yes, steak masters only turn once because this produces a better crust. Other chefs say that turning your steak multiple times gets your steak to cook up to 30% faster and more evenly. You don't have to do this but you're not killing it if you do.
My head hurts from reading all this stuff, so from here you're on your own. I contend that there is just about no way to ruin a steak, unless it's a bad cut of meat for the grill, tough to start with and you burn it to a crisp! Barring those situations, steak is such a treat in most people's lives that they buy it infrequently and baby it from purchase to grill! Or is that just me?