The whole point in me getting started with the grill was to cook meat during the summer with fire. It is summer, and there is meat to cook. With fire.
Step 1: Meet Your Meat. I tend to go for the grass-fed local animals, bought in bulk and tossed in the freezer. While there are published articles recommending particular cuts, I have to say that I’ve had good success with T-Bones for as long as I can remember.
If your meat is frozen, give it plenty of time (48 hours in the fridge) to defrost before grilling. Any still-frozen bits will really mess up your cooking consistency. If you need to defrost it in a hurry, put the meat in a ziplock bag and submerge it in mildly warm water. Do not microwave it; the microwave will merely attempt to cook the steak badly.
If your meat is “cheap,” consider giving it 30-60 minutes of salting ahead of time. This should be totally unnecessary with T-Bones and up, but may improve sirloin and round steaks. If you do this, refrain from salting the steak again later, the steak will still taste plenty salty. The process is simply put a nice coating of coarse salt on the steak and stick it back in the fridge to think about what it’s done. When you’re ready to herb that up, just give the salt a quick rinse off and pat the steaks dry with a paper towel.
Step 2: Spice It Up. For what I call a “European style” steak,
- Give it a dash of: salt, pepper, and smoked paprika
- Give it a layer of: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
- Give it a light splash of dry red wine (merlot, shiraz, tempranillo)
- Give it a bit of one of the following: cut shallot, cut onion, cut garlic, or garlic powder
When you are done with this step, your steaks should look rather like a bleeding vegetable. Put them back in the fridge.
Did You Know: Plants used to mean things?
Variant: For an “Asian style” steak, I would recommend Secret Aardvark’s Drunken Garlic Black Bean Sauce with some ginger, basil, and smoked paprika. Note that Secret Aardvark uses soy sauce and is thus not gluten free.
Step 3: Light It Up. Real charcoal only, please — out of respect for the animal if nothing else.
Step 4: Raze The Steaks. While you could use a meat thermometer to determine done-ness, I’ve found that when the top of the meat is having the brown creep through it, it’s time to turn it over. If you like your meat raw in the middle, put it over the hottest spot in your fire: the outside sears, the inside is untouched. I recommend giving it a more even and complete cooking but, generally speaking, airborne bacteria is going to be on the surface of the steak, not in the middle of it, so don’t be too timid about the option of eating it mostly-raw.
Step 5: Serve It Up. Do not use steak sauce — out of respect for your own food-preparation skills. A very basic mustard is acceptable, especially for lesser cuts of steak (that you may’ve salted); I recommend Beaufort Whole-Grain Mustard, though you might make your own. The red wine that is already open from step 2 should pair nicely with this steak.