08 April, 2008

First Grilled Steaks of the Season!

It was sunny and mild today - a perfect day to fire up the charcoal grill. I picked up two 18-ounce porterhouse steaks on the way home and we enjoyed perfectly-cooked charbroiled beef for supper.

These are my suggestions for a perfect grilled steak:
  • Start with well-marbled steaks from the loin, short loin, or rib section of the beefer. They should be at least an inch thick, though 1½ to 2 inches is even better - that will be an 18- to 24-ounce steak
  • Use a kettle grill, iron hibachi, or other "deep" grill design that allows a thick bed of very hot embers to quickly sear the meat while the interior temperature of the cut rises. Remember that searing the meat doesn't "seal in the juices" but instead forms a caramelized crust that is loaded with flavor. That's the real reason for searing.
  • Use real hardwood charcoal, not briquettes. It doesn't matter whether the charcoal you are using is old scrapwood (pallets, oak flooring scraps, etc.) or sawn aged wood. What does matter is that briquettes contain a lot of garbage in them, including chemicals to help them burn slowly and evenly. Natural hardwood charcoal burns hotter and cleaner and meats cooked over it taste better.
  • Don't use petroleum lighter fluid! Light your charcoal in a charcoal chimney using paper, fatwood, or a commercial lighter cube which won't impart off odors or flavors to the food.
  • Use a clean grilling surface. Scrub the gridiron to remove old grease and bits of carbonated foods, but don't work too hard to try and get a perfectly chromed surface. A little bit of seasoning to the grill will help keep foods from sticking just like it does in a cast-iron pan.
  • Let the gridiron heat up a few minutes before putting on the steak. Remember that part about "searing!"


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