Last week, in the spirit of barbecue season, we looked at some of the best tips for grilling the perfect burger. Most likely you’re seeing a lot of burgers this summer and there’s nothing wrong with that. They are an easy, inexpensive and delicious summer meal. However, on occasion it is nice to treat yourself to a little something more – to take a little more effort and spend a little more money to grill yourself a nice summertime steak on the barbecue. Now, a steak is a little different from a burger and demands a little more respect. Some people might not think it’s worth it to put in the extra effort and that’s fine. But if you’re looking to make a steak that will rival any restaurant, here’s how you can.
Go out of your way for the right cut.
You can find any old steak at your local grocery store and it won’t be too pricy either. Of course, it also won’t be all that good. For a steak fit for a king (or queen) you’ll have to go a little out of your way. Find a local butcher shop if you can, and if not the bigger grocery chain usually have such a section. Finding the right cut of meat can be tricky. The cut of you steak depends entirely on your own preferences, but if you’re new to this then a safe bet is to go with the ribeye cut. It offers a juicy flavourful piece of meat without having to tend to it too much.
Thickness is key.
Where steak is concerned, the most important aspect of the cut of meat is the thickness. It is the thickness that will determine how well a steak will grill. To thin of a cut and it will cook too fast with nowhere for the juices to hide. Too thick and you risk not getting an evenly cooked steak. Experts say that sticking to a two-inch thickness will allow for the best chances for a perfectly cooked steak.
Start it at room temperature.
When we spoke of the perfect way to grill a burger, we advised that having the burger cold before throwing it on the grill was a good way to go. However, the same technique does not apply to the steak cooking. We want the entire steak to cook as evenly as possible, so starting the with a cold steak means that each side will be grilled in drastically different temperatures. Leaving the steak at room temperature before you put it on the grill makes for a more even cook.
Keep it simple with the seasoning.
Steaks are very flavourful in their own right so there’s no need to help them out in that department too much. If you were dealing with an inferior cut of steak then you can go to town on marinating or seasoning it as you see fit. But if you’re splurging on a prime cut, the simpler the better. Really just a little drizzling of salt and pepper before grilling is all you need. You don’t want too much distracting from those wonderful natural flavours.
Prepare the grill.
For this step, we follow the same instructions as we did with our burgers. Yes, your grill needs more preparation than just a little heat. Firstly, clean your grill off between each cookout. A dirty grill can cause uneven cooking and you get bits of old, overcooked food in your meat. The temperature of your grill is also essential. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a tough time cooking to perfection. Also, have the grill hot and ready when you are putting the steak on. This ensures there’s no fluctuation with the heat as you cook.
Watch the heat.
It’s recommended that you grill steaks over charcoal, although going out to buy a brand new barbecue just for a steak seems a little much so you can work with whatever grill you have. And whatever grill you have, you need to be weary of the heat. Keep it monitored and under control. In some cases, when juices drip down and cause some flare ups. Some people use a spritzer to calm the flames but that often sends ashes into your meat. Instead adjust the temperature and move the steak temporarily if necessary.
Let it stand.
Patience is a virtue in life and certainly when it comes to enjoying a steak. You might feel tempted to dive right into that delicious smelling meat as soon as it is off the grill, but if you’re willing to wait you’ll be rewarded. Not only will it be too hot to enjoy, allowing it to rest off the heat for a bit lets the juices and flavours build. In 10 minutes time, you’re looking at the perfect steak still on your plate ready to be enjoyed.