How To: Grill the Ultimate Steak

Grilling skills often elicit unprecedented pride from guys. But earning real grilling accolades requires more than just slapping a few frozen patties on the grill and flipping them around until they’re charred and warmed through.  Master this simple, foolproof grilled steak recipe, and you’ll never disappoint. You’ll also impress everyone, guy or girl, who you cook this for (vegetarians excluded). Just keep these few key points in mind:

1. Buy the best beef you can find: Grass-fed, free-range, organic, raised without hormones and antibiotics, all of these will make your steak taste worlds better than some mangy piece of beef raised in unspeakable conditions.

2. Season amply: Don’t be afraid to lay on the salt and pepper thick. This will create a delicious crust on the edges of the beef, making your steak taste perfectly seasoned and amplifying the natural flavor of the beef.

3. Go for the fat: When selecting your cut of beef, know that fat equals flavor. Pick a cut with good fat marbling throughout, but no connective tissue that won’t melt off with the quick cooking time that grilling entails. Or, if you do spring for an expensive cut like fillet mignon or tenderloin, then keep the grilling time brief so you don’t ruin such a decadent steak.

4.  Crank up the heat: Whether you use a charcoal grill, a gas grill, or a grill pan on your stove top, make sure the surface is as screaming hot as you can get it. This seals in all the juices in the beef, and gives that sought-after contrast between crusty outside and tender inside that is the hallmark of a good steak.

5.  Let it rest: Don’t let all your careful preparations go to waste. Let your steaks rest for a full 5 minutes after you take them off the grill. This allows the juices (and all the flavor) to redistribute and keeps everything juicy and tender.

The Ultimate Steak Dinner for Two

Ingredients:

  • Two aged prime strip steaks
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Two tablespoons melted butter, cooled

Directions:

  • Heat your grill to the highest temperature you can, and let it heat up for 5-10 minutes.
  • Dip your steaks in the melted butter, and allow the excess to drain off.
  • Coat the steaks generously on all sides with salt and pepper, letting a crust form.
  • Lay the steaks on the grill and cook for two minutes, then rotate in a quarter turn to the left, and cook for another 2 minutes. (This turning gives you that sough-after “cross-hatch” look on the steak, called “quadriage” in French cooking.
  • Flip the steaks over, and cook for 2 minutes, then rotate just as you did on the first side. After 2 minutes, remove the steaks to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.. (This is for medium-rare, so cook the steaks a bit longer depending on your preference).
  • Serve your steaks with the accompaniments of your choice- I like an herb compound butter (recipe below) and some killer homemade French fries.

Compound Butter:

  • Soften 1 stick of butter, then add 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon each of minced fresh parsley and thyme, and ½ teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Work the ingredients into the butter until thoroughly combined. Form the butter into a log shape, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge (or freezer) until hard.
  • Slice into thin disks and serve over your hot steaks. (You can make all sorts of compound butters- spicy chili and cumin, lemon zest and fresh basil, or just add your favorite beef rub to the butter).

* The photo above is from probably the best day at the French Culinary Institute- We grilled steaks and made French fries all day! Everyone said it was like Christmas.

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