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Sep 6, 2008 09:27 AM

IS THERE MANY who think pan rosted thick steak much "superior" than grilled one??

hi i recently searched out the blogs about tom collichio's craftsteak and interviews in some website.
he often say he doesn't like grilled steak because of it being charred and he found charred parts very bitter so he pan-roast steak with peanut oil first and then adding chunks of butter to cover pan's weakned heat unlike high heat generated from red charcoals in bottom.
and he finally finish it in the oven which i guess that costs pricier gas useages.
but i don't know why he said this. there is other soultion such as installing salamander broiler or normal grill without cast iron grate which is the most certin prime suspect for charring.
even if many famous chef such as Thomas keller and Tom collichio say they dont afraid using butter, rather they love it in there dishes, is it really necesary choice?
carefully grilled steak do not usually leaves grill marks especilly when used without cast iron grill grates.
anyone could comment this issues?

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  1. I would pan-roast a steak before grilling it. By pan roasting you affect more surface proteins and achieve better flavor. Grilling, though, requires much less cleanup, and is more of a social activity. When I pan roast I usually add butter about halfway through, and maybe a garlic clove and thyme or rosemary sprig, basting as I go with the pan juices.

    1. To each his own, I guess. I rather like those charred bits, particularly when they're surrounding subrare meat, and only wish that I had a super high-end grill so I could get a real "black and blue" result.

      6 Replies
        1. re: FlyFish

          I do grilling demos for some companies - Viking, Lynx, etc - and have to agree that with the infrared burners, you can achieve a result more like a steakhouse steak (which is done in an infrared broiler) Plus you have an advantage over the steakhouse broiler since you can maintain different temperature zones. You don't have to cook a steak over a 1400 degree flame until it reaches medium rare or medium, if that's how you like it. More and more grills are coming out with these burners now, though, and not just high-end brands.

          1. re: FlyFish

            I was surprised a few years ago when I ordered a steak "black and blue", and they brought me a pan-roasted steak. It was during the craze for "blackened" everything, and I guess that's what they thought I wanted. It had an interesting crust, but not the type of char I expected, and it was rare in the centre.

            But if I had a choice, I'd rather have it done on the grill.

            1. re: FlyFish

              Until that super high-end grill finds its way to your back yard, you can use a $20 smokey joe and a large charcoal chimney starter to get a true black and blue steak. Take the small bottom grate out of the grill and set it aside. Set the chimney up on the top grate, fill it with lump charcoal and get it really cranking, adding more coals as necessary to keep the chimney full nearly to the top.

              Here's the trick: don't dump the charcoal into the grill. Put the small grate on top of the chimney, let it heat up for a couple of seconds, and then cook the steak right on the chimney, which is well over 1000 degrees Farenheit.

              Obviously, given the size of the chimney, this isn't an effective way to cook for a crowd. But for one or two steaks it works pretty well.

              1. I prefer pan roasted to a gas grill but I prefer charcoal grilled to pan roasted. The smoke from a real charcoal grill adds some great flavor in my opinion. If you're not getting the smoke, a cast iron pan will get some great sear on the steak which is also good flavor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ccbweb

                  Good point. I forgot to mention that I always season my steaks with a blend of sweet smoked paprika and sea salt. It kinda makes up for the lack of charcoal.

                  1. re: almansa

                    Hey, great idea. I've got both sweet and hot smoked paprika, that should do very nicely for my next steak. Thanks!

                2. I pan roasted a couple of veal chops in my cast iron pan last night, and I think the results were superior to cooking them on the grill--more control over the degree of rareness, and able to reduce the marinade--red wine, rosemary, etc--into a bit of sauce. We also have a charcoal grill, and it's great when you want that char.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: whs

                    What brand of cast iron pan do u use? Is it enamel coated? I want to get a cast iron pan for steaks, corn bread, home fries, etc. but am unsure of what to buy.

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      enamel coated is way big $$$ go to a camping/outdoor store and make sure that your pan is heavy, cure it up in the oven and you are ready to rock!

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        It's a pan that I found rusted out in the cellar when we moved into our old farmhouse. It's not as heavy as some that are out there, but it has taken on a nice finish after much use. I even use soap to clean it.

                      2. re: whs

                        in my opinion, cast iron pan doesnot particulary create diffrent types of crust when compared with stainless still pan. for that matter i use lodge cast iron pan which is pre-seasoned.
                        i think perhapse people like cast iron pan because they are influenced from some family member's memory and romance. or they like pan roasted food much more than grilled ones because they cannot digest grilled meat very well relatively some how so to them, pan-roasted meat with oily basting is more superior

                        1. re: hae young

                          How hot did you get the cast iron pan? You can get it to near-glowing and truly blacken a piece of meat or fish (as in Cajun style blackened dishes). Try that with Aluminum or Copper, even with cladding, and you'll ruin your pan.

                          I'm not saying that this is always desirable - but it is a feature of cast iron that you shouldn't overlook, if not for your own use, then those that want to cook that way. To each their own.

                          1. re: hae young

                            Cast iron has one thing going for it - thermal mass. It isn't capable of quick temperature changes; rather, it absorbs a lot of heat, and takes quite a while to heat up and cool down.

                            This comes into play when you drop a room-temp steak into a really hot pan. The surface temperature of each the two objects effects the surface temperature of the other. In other words, the steak gets hotter and the pan gets cooler. But the temperature of a pan with greater thermal mass will drop less because it contains a "reservoir" of heat energy that has built up. And a higher pan temperature gives you a better crust.

                            Meanwhile, of course, you're adding heat as fast as you can with a high burner. So if you have enough btus at your disposal, the thermal mass of the pan is irrelevant. You can get a great crust in a stainless pan if you're using a 30k btu burner. But with a typical household burner, it takes the pan a long time to recover the heat it loses when you drop the steak in. In these circumstances, cast iron can definitely help make a better crust.

                        2. I grill all the time, so much so that I often forget other good options, like pan-searing. Both are great. One benefit of searing in a pan is the great sauce you can get afterwards by deglazing! I must remember to mix things up a bit. Thanks for the post!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: scuzzo

                            Ditto. Sounds like me. I love grilling, but sometimes I want a nice pan sauce. A while back I cooked a very thick rib eye as directed by Alan Ducasse. He cooked very low temp in butter with a couple garlic gloves in the butter, basting the steak, then making a pan sauce. It was delish, but most of the time I grill.

                            1. re: rednyellow

                              Could you share the exact Ducasse recipe with us?


                                1. re: Joe Blowe

                                  Thanks very much..funny when I googled it I couldn't find it! so thanks again...

                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                    Thats basically what I did, but didn't bother with the relish. I just made a good pan sauce with some mushrooms, herbs, wine and demi glace. The garlic cloves that had been in the butter for basting the steak came out deeply roasted and delish.