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Aug 3, 2007 05:51 AM

How do I grill a steak?

Want to grill a great steak simply. Do I get a commercial dry rub? A commercial marinade?

And what cut of beef should I buy?

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  1. If you want to grill a great steak and you are using a very good cut of steak then you want to keep it simple and not cover up the flavor with a dry rub or marinade (marinades are great for a cut like flank steak). You want to use either a Boneless Rib Eye, a Strip Sirloin or a Porterhouse (the Strip Sirloin with the Tenderloin attached); bring to room temp before cooking, season with kosher salt and pepper; when you take it off the grill, put a little extra virgin olive oil on top.

    4 Replies
    1. re: paulgardner

      How do I safely bring it to room temperature? Cover in plastic? And how long from fridge temperature does this take?

      Sorry, I'm a steak rookie...

      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

        I am not an expert but in the hot weather you may need to be a little more cautious but I generally leave it on the counter, wrapped in its packaging, for about 1 hour and I have never gotten sick or food poisoning from doing this.

        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

          A little sanity check here.. there is very little danger in leaving steak set out to room temperature for even a fairly long amount of time. I would leave it covered of course.. if there *is* bacteria beginning to grow on the meat it will be growing on the outside, not the inside. Once the steak is seared whatever is nasty will die. You can cook a steak to 140 internal temperature (nice and rare) and still have a very safe meal since the outside of the steak will be way past the temp to kill bugs (165). If it *smells* bad once cooked it's bad. Other than that, worry very little. Now... burgers are different story since bacteria can be inside as well as outside...

          Other steakie thoughts: Grill must be BLAZING hot.. to sear / seal and if cooking fatty steak (ribeye, etc...) do all you can to prevent flareups. After searing well on all sides move it to a cooler part to finish to desired temp. next point: let it rest afterwards (take it off BEFORE it hits desired temp) covered in foil to allow juices to return to structure. If it's special occasion see if you can find a butcher that sells aged beef or prime beef or at least something packaged "Angus" or some other premium label. Good beef is worth the splurge occasionally.

        2. re: paulgardner

          Personally, I'd hit it with a light sprinkle of Montreal steak seasoning--not too much as paulgardner says, since you want to taste the steak. Do it about 1/2 hour before grilling, as any salt left on too long will grey up the meat and draw out moisture. Depending on your preference for doneness, I'd either let it warm up, or keep it cool. If you like rare, keep it cool, so the inside doesn't warm up as quickly on the grill. If you prefer medium or beyond, let it warm a bit, and it will cook a bit more evenly. This is especially true for a thick cut (1.5 inch or so) steak.

          Grill it hot, for a nice char, and move it over to a cooler spot if it seems to be burning. Figure about 8 minutes for rare/MR ona hot grill--remember the nose/lips/chin test for doneness; press the steak with your finger--if it feels like your lips, it's rare. Chin is medium, and the tip of your nose is well done

        3. There are plentry of steaks that are great for the grill, it depends on your particular tastes.

          For the most tender but least flavorful, filet mignon. For the fattiest and most flavor (and great texture) get a ribeye. Slightly firmer texture but also flavorful is a NY strip. There are also hanger steaks, flank steaks, skirt steaks, but I wouldn't recommend those for the first time grilling since they all are slightly tougher to cook to the right temp.

          I think ribeye is the best steak and its also the most forgiving steak to grill. Bone in always has more flavor than boneless. Get one at least one inch thick. That way you can get a nice sear on it without overcooking. Take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. I just plop it on a plate and let it sit on the counter. Heavily salt and pepper it and throw it on the grill over direct heat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Then let rest for 5 minutes before eating.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ESNY

            a word of caution about bringing to room temp: what is room temp, 80 degrees?, as i understand it it is the temp of a room at 4:00 pm. today you can not afford to take a chance with meats beef in this instance because of the way meat is processed, here are some of the reasons: you buy your meat at a market, you spend twenty min in the market, you stop at a another spot to pick up additional ingredients, your trip home takes 30 min. in this weather you are in the temp danger zone. today meat is processed and tenderized and pumped with water and some other things to give it value added. because of health and quality concerns most professional cooks are not holding meat at room temp.
            prepare your grill with two zones one very hot for searing and crust development. you want a good crust development, not a gray outside. turn the meat often for a total of three to four min. transfer you meat to the other side of the grill and continue cooking till done to your choice. it is during this time that i sprinkle salt and pepper on the meat as it will add to the tast because of the heat of the meat and the juice is also warm to help.
            the rib eye is the best cut and choose a steak with lots of fat, you do not have to eat it, but it will certainly add to the taste and cooking process. RIB EYE STAKE SHOULD NEVER BE COOK PAST MED.

            1. re: ijhhot

              What temperature is "before it's done?" (I just got a meat thermometer.)

              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                5-10 degrees before your desired doneness. I'm not sure the exact degrees, but I think rare is about 125 degrees, so you'd want to take you steak off at 115-120. Medium rare is about 135-140, so remove steak when the internal temp hits 130ish.

                I don't use a thermometer and have gotten pretty good with touch. The more cooked a steak gets the firmer the flesh. I used to use the hand method which is press your thumb lightly to your index finger and press the fleshy area under your thumb. It should be soft which is about the feel of a rare steak when you press it lightly. Thumb to middle finger is slightly firmer and around medium rare. Thumb to ring finger is medium and thumb to pinky is firm and medium-well/well done. One way to get good is to use a thermometer and keep touching the steak so you get a sense of how much give the meat gives as it cooks.

              2. re: ijhhot


                UNLESS YOU LIKE IT WELL

            2. jfood to the contrarian side of bring to room temp and salt and pepper.

              1- room temp. since jfood like charred and med-rare (to the rare side, he takes from fridge to grill, no "to room temp" stop. this way the center stays a little cooler and the outside need a little more time to get to the proper char (but not a black & blue steak)
              2 - s&p.. the salt with draw the moisture to the surface so jffod peppers but does not salt prior to the grill. salt goes onto the steak at the table.

              Cuts -
              jfood very much agrees that the skirt/flank/hangar choice should wait a little. these also take marinades very well, so let's focus on the the "higher" ends. Rib-eye, PH, T-bone and filets all come to mind, Fillet is leanest, most tender and has the least amount of flavor. The rib-eye can be very fatty and you should check each piece carefully before buying. The PH is jfoods favorite and also the most difficult to get the desried donenes all the way through becaus of the bone. In choosing a good PH look for a nice balance between the strip side and the filet side. some will have a nice strip side but the filet side wil get extremely overcooked unless it has the heft of the strip side. So jfood agree with others who recommend the rib-eye for your early attempts.

              Most important is do not over cook it. Med (defined as a nice warm pink in the middle) is about as far as jfood can stand to serve to guests, even when the request med-well.


              1 Reply
              1. re: jfood

                Backyardchef agrees with JFood's advice. Putting the meat straight from the chill to the grill allows you to cook at a higher temp to get a nice char/crust without overcooking the steak or having it raw in the middle.

                Resting is important. If you use a thermo, take it off at 120-125 and loosely cover and rest it.

                If you are cooking a really thick steak with a bone or lots of fat on the edges, flip the stick up on the bone and let the bone get some direct heat from the grill, and do the same with the edges of fat.

                3-5 minutes per side. And learn to tell how the meat feels when it is raw and at the various stages of cooking and pretty quickly you'll be able to gauge the doneness of a cut of meat by how much it yields or doesn't to finger pressure.

              2. I dont eat steak, but I usually cook it for others when I have a gathering.

                I use skirt steak, and the thin-to-thick cut helps please those who want a more rare or more well done serving of meat.

                i rub the steak with a little garlic, drizzle a little olive oil on it, and stick a dry rub on it - salt, pepper, smoked paprika. that's it.

                4-5 min on each side.

                1. Native, do you mean outside or inside? I have a great inside recipe if you're interested.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: brendastarlet

                    Thanks, I'll take "inside" too, please. I'm most interested in how to pre-treat the meat. A rub? Oil? Hours of marinating?

                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                      Depends on what you like best. I like a steak with just a simple coarse black pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder rub on it just for the sheer simplicity of the flavors and the way it compliments but doesn't outshine the beef. To add some extra dimension of flavor, you can make a compound herb butter and drop a pat of it on the meat as it comes of the grill.....