So funny story. (And by funny, I mean HAAAAA-larious.) We recently attended a Pot Luck in our town of Hadlyme. Shortly after adding our homemade dish to the spread and getting situated with our cocktails, a few of the attendees approached Scott … with recipes in hand. Apparently word had spread that he owned the Celtic Cavern and our new neighbors were quite eager to share their culinary knowledge and skills with him! They were even more eager for him to sample their creations and provide feedback. Now for the funny part of the story … Scotty is CLUELESS in the kitchen (and we thank God everyday for Chef Bill). However, he played a good sport and listened intently. (He also did a stellar job of taste testing several dishes before anyone else got to try them. [Insert eye roll emoji here.]) Being the person who does all of the cooking in our house, I definitely giggled inside over the fanfare Executive Chef Scott Brown received that evening.
Ok, so Scotty isn’t really a chef. He just plays one on TV. All kidding aside though, he is a fantastic griller. I love the summertime because it’s my reprieve from the kitchen. A juicy grilled rib-eye paired with a Washington State Cab … my oh my, it just doesn’t get any better than that. To celebrate the pending arrival of summertime and our love of grilling and eating outdoors, here are some techniques that Scotty uses to achieve the perfect steak!
I may not really be a chef but I play one on TV.
1. Don’t skimp out on the steak.
You know how choosy moms choose Jiff? Well choosy grillers choose only the best cuts of meat! All beef is inspected by the USDA and given a quality grade based on characteristics like tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. There are three main grades: Prime, Choice, and Select. Schweid and Sons’ blog post on beef grades breaks down the differences:
- U.S. Prime: Highest in quality and intramuscular fat, limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime.
- U.S. Choice: High quality, widely available in foodservice industry and retail markets. Choice carcasses are 53.7% of the fed cattle total. The difference between Choice and Prime is largely due to the fat content in the beef. Prime typically has a higher fat content (more and well distributed intramuscular “marbling”) than Choice.
- U.S. Select: Lowest grade commonly sold at retail, acceptable quality, but is less juicy and tender due to leanness.
If your budget allows, opt for a Prime or Choice grade beef … you will NOT be disappointed (unless you scorch it on the grill).
Selecting a great cut of meat is also a crucial factor in the grilling equation. In the article, “5 Tips For Grilling The Perfect Steak,” Addicted To Grilling shares this awesome advice for picking a piece of meat:
When selecting a steak, look for cuts that:
- Don't have gristle or excessive edge fat
- Have little (if any) silver skin (silvery sinew running with the grain of the meat on the outside of the muscle)
- Are a vibrant, deep red rather than light reddish-pink (less fresh) color and don't have any brown spots (bruising)
- Have good marbling throughout the steak
- Are cut to the right thickness
Let’s talk about steak, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things
and the bad things that may be. (Sorry, but how could I not bust out into my favorite Salt-N-Pepa hit of all time when drafting a post on grilling steak?) And speaking of good and bad things that may be, it’s now time to talk seasoning.
Good thing = simple salt and pepper. Bad thing = drowning an otherwise delicious steak in an overly aggressive marinade.
Keep it simple. Just a little salt and pepper is all you need! Bon Appetit published a great blog post, “Our 10 Best Tips for a Perfectly Grilled Steak,” that details the seasoning process:
- Salt, Salt, and Salt Again A few hours before you grill, lightly sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt; put it on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. The salt helps the cells retain water, guaranteeing juicy meat. Before placing it on the grill, pat dry with paper towels, and generously salt the meat again. (Use kosher salt; the bigger grains make for a superior crust.)
- Crack Your Own Pepper Pepper not only adds an element of spice to steak, it also adds crunch. You want a combination of fine, medium, and big pieces.
3. Use The Sear-and-finish Method
It’s time to put your game face on. Grilling a steak is very serious business. If you’re not paying attention, your entire meal can go down in flames (literally). Here’s how Scotty does it at home:
First, sear the meat over high heat for a minute or two on each side. Then move it to medium heat until it reaches your desired doneness. We love a lot of pink (medium rare) so for a 1” thick steak it takes about five to six minutes per side.
(For more on grill times, check out Addicted To Grilling’s blog post, “How Long Do You Grill Steaks?”)
4. Leave it!
It’s a command we commonly give to our dog Bama and it also applies here. Yes, we know that steak looks incredibly succulent when it hits the plate off the grill. You must fight the urge and wait before digging in! Here’s why. The high heat from the grill will force the juices into the center of the steak. By letting it rest for five minutes, the juices will redistribute to ensure every bite will be as mouthwatering as the next.
Ready to take the title of Grill Master? You’ve totally got this!