Grill, Pop, Grill: Steak
Though I’m given to hyperbole
Believe me: I could eat steak all day
I should also eat some broccoli
Or on the porcelain throne I’ll pay
The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday. Most normal people, like my wife, think of things like taking a walk, playing and enjoying the weather outside, dining al fresco, and dusting off the old flip flops; the only thing on my mind was steak.
For such a vaunted dish, it’s remarkably simple to make. I’ll never pay $20+ for a steak at an Outback or Longhorn…if you’re paying, however, I don’t mind. 🙂 At places like Ray’s the Steaks, where they age the beef on site, I’d pay top dollar. I’m a Ruth’s Chris fan mostly b/c I love butter; not a big Morton’s guy though. But for the price you’d pay for 2 at a fancy steak restaurant, you can have a veritable steak feast – or for you fatties out there, a buffet.
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These were the prices yesterday at Sam’s Club:
So that’s $43.32 for 8 steaks/7.04lbs. Add in some Idahoans or homemade mashed potatoes and some broccoli (usually $0.99/lb @ most Asian marts) and you’ve got what you’d get at a steakhouse for less than $6-$8/person.
But you say you can’t grill a steak like they do at a steakhouse? Relax, young padawan, and I will show you the way…and we shall steer you away from the Dark Side known as Well Done.
So let’s start with the types of steaks sold in most stores – listed in Pop’s order of preference:
- Strip steaks – I used to be a rib eye guy, but arguing rib eyes vs. strips is like arguing Lebron vs. Melo/Wade: in the end, you just agree that they are both awesome in their own right. I like strips b/c A) they’re cheaper (usually $1/lb), B) there’s little to no waste w/ a well-cut strip, whereas most ppl will have a pile of fat left over from a rib eye, C) they’re usually cut smaller than rib eyes, so it’s good for the psuedo-carnivores in your life, and D) for your friends who like to pat the oil off their pizzas, they can also easily trim off the strip of fat on the steak.
- Rib Eyes – FAT = DELICIOUS. These steaks are well-marbled and have large chunks of fat throughout, which makes the steaks incredibly tender and flavorful. For those that don’t enjoy eating large chunks of fat however, eating a rib eye could be a bit of a chore. The price is also typically high and the cuts are generally enormous.
- Porterhouse/T-Bone – these are basically the same thing: I like to think of the T-bone as the coupe (2-door) and the porterhouse as the sedan (4-door). You get the strip + a filet (more on the filet later) but you gotta deal with a massive bone. That’s what she said.
- Sirloin – that’s right. I listed sirloin before the lauded filet. The flavor is much better IMHO.
- Filet – I like my women curvy and my meat fatty. Period. Filet is the Paris Hilton of steaks: really lean, expensive, publicly celebrated for God knows what.
Costco/Sam’s Club are my favorite places to buy steaks due to the lower cost. Rib eyes at Costco are especially economical compared to going to a butcher shop. I once visited a butcher who told me that Costco sells them at the price he buys them for. If you’ve got a great local butcher, they can do things like aging the beef and cutting it the way you’d like. Costco usually sells steaks in packs of 6, so I hope company is coming over b/c 6 Costco rib eyes would be a tasty, tasty death for one man. Yesterday at Sam’s, they only had 1 3-pack of rib eyes. Lame. I was in a rib eye mood too.
So remember how I said a steak is remarkably simple? All you need is salt, pepper, and a grill. No special ingredients. No sauces. God naturally does all the flavoring for you, so you just need a few things to bring it all out. I personally like to use olive oil – try it with and without, and try some different oils too, and see what you prefer. I lubricate because I care.
Oil and black pepper can go on for up to an hour; add kosher salt no more than 30 minutes before throwing them on the grill. I like to keep the steaks sitting on the counter to bring them as close to room temperature as possible.
Sadly, I ran out of daylight so I don’t have pictures of the cooking process, but I’ll describe a few things to help you get by for now.
- Use a grill – pan frying just isn’t the same. I’m a charcoal guy but gas >> stove top. I like to use a chimney starter, throw the flaming coals in the grill and then throw several chunks of wood or pre-soaked wood chips on there for a smoky flavor.
- There are some things you should never do in life: never lick a metal pole when it’s cold outside, never walk away from a urinal without doing an adequate shake, and never cook over flames. The latter will result in a charred outside and an undercooked inside. Wait until the coals and wood have ashed over – it usually takes 20-30 minutes for me.
- Toss the steaks on the grill but leave plenty of room for A) flare ups and B) when you rotate and turn the steaks, you wanna move them to a new part of the grill to get a nice sear. If you turn/flip in place, the spot will be cooler and the grill marks won’t be as prominent.
- I like my steaks rare, so I usually do 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, flip, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, done. This creates a nice color on the outside and if your guests desire a more done steak, toss it in the oven to bring the internal temperature up a bit. The 2 minutes is approximate and after you grill enough steaks, you’ll know when to move on.
- Do not use steak sauce. Just don’t. If your steak is bland, use more salt next time.
- Let the steak sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving, but try not to hold it too much longer than that.
I think that’s enough for now. Until next time, enjoy the only two decent pictures I was able to snap last night.