Sizzling Steak!

16 Jun

Well I did it!  I took expensive steaks and grilled them.  It is always a tiny bit intimidating to take an expensive ingredient or cut of meat,  for me at least,  and have uncertainty with preparation.  But I like to face my fears,  and I was hungry for steak.  So I thought to myself “Go for it!”.  And I did.

First I thought about some of the best steaks that I have eaten in the past.  What made them so good?  I like my steak medium rare, so having a steak hit that temperature mark must have been a factor in enjoying steak in my past.  I am a temperature eater for sure (I am going to be one of those funny little old ladies that will drink my coffee steaming hot when I am out at my “Early Bird” dinner at 4 pm).  Temperature  matters to my enjoyment of food.  So I had to figure out the correct temperature for medium rare.  A little research helped me with this. And I have a great digital food thermometer in my kitchen, ( a good investment of a couple of dollars, by the way) so I knew that I could get the temperature spot on. What else mattered with a good steak?

I thought about the texture.  I enjoy a creamy textured steak as opposed to a grisly or chewy one.  So I had to find steak to cook with little marbling.  I know marbling makes a steak juicy, but I would figure that one out later.  I pulled out granny’s old cookbook to look at a diagram of a cow to figure out what cut of beef to look for.  Granny’s cookbook was the perfect resource to look at cuts of meat because it described cuts and tenderness in an easy format.  Check!  That’s done.  I was armed with enough ammunition to hit the butcher.  I was confident that I could make at least a decent choice for a cut of steak.  So what’s next?

Flavor, of course!!  The flavor of a steak is paramount.  Therein lies the dilemma and the great debate:  Marinate or dry rub?  I am a fan of the dry rub for steak.  There are lots of commercial rubs in the seasoning aisle.  Trial and error is the ticket with these.  Look at the list of seasonings on the bottle to assess whether any of the commercial seasonings are right for you, for your palate.   And a lot of these are packed with flavor.

I like making my own seasoning for any dry rub that I use.  It’s a curse of being a foodie.  Make most everything from scratch and smell everything!  So I continued toward  my goal of making the perfect steak.   I was on a flavor journey.  I opened my spice cabinet and started grabbing.  With wild abandon!  I didn’t have to use everything I pulled out, but I wanted choice!  I wanted my salivary glands to direct me a little bit here.

I started with salt and pepper.  Those are critical basics for any seasoning combination.  For a steak, I leaned toward a bolder taste.  More black pepper was a good start.  Garlic too.  And I used a heavy hand with it!  I used a little paprika, parsley, chopped onions, and some dried red pepper flakes.  You don’t want to use too much on the steak though, you want the steak flavor to shine through.  I toss my seasoning together and keep the unused rub in the spice cabinet for the next time.

When I applied the dry rub, sometimes I started by rubbing the steak with a little olive oil and Worcester sauce for flavor.  I didn’t use too much, just a light sheen.  Then I grabbed a handful of the rub and massaged that steak!  Even though food safety is of utmost importance when preparing anything, I let my steak sit for 20 minutes or so at room temperature with the rub on it.  Then onto the grill it went!  Now my goal was to get those grill marks, smell that amazing aroma wafting from the grill, and let those taste buds twang!   I pulled my steak off, put a few pats of butter on it (make sure it was juicy), and tented it with tin foil for a few minutes.  Meat must rest prior to serving.  This lets the meat “relax” and become more tender.  And you know what?  It turned out pretty good!  When I make something for the first time, I always think a bout how to “tweak” it for the next time.  But for now, I have one delicious steak under my belt, and look forward to the next one.

Little secret:  My secret ingredient for a bold dry rub  is a bit of instant coffee granules.  But don’t tell!

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