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STEAK - Grill or Broil? Broiling Tips?

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Cebca Jan 9, 2009 10:15 AM

Okay, so I am totally exposing myself as a meat novice here. I am a recovering vegetarian. I recently lived in Argentina for a year and loved the steak but haven't eaten much red meat since I got back because I think that I will be disappointed. But now I am craving some steak.

My boyfriend insists that the absolute, hands down best way to cook steak is to grill it, and that anything else is far inferior. Thus, he reasons, since we do not have a grill we cannot cook good steak at home. I have read great things about broiling steak, and think plenty of people broil steaks as their preferred method all the time, and would argue that broiled can be just as good as grilled, but he knows much more about meat than I do so my argument doesn't go very far.

Can I get some CHers to weigh in on the grill vs. broil debate? And also, since we have agreed to at least try to broil a delicious steak at home, I would love some tips on proper techniques/times/temps, etc. I like my steak medium-rare but I think B likes his a bit more done.

Thanks in advance!

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    addicted2cake RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 10:41 AM

    I love grilled steak, but we don't have a grill, unless you count an indoor panini/grill that sits on the countertop as a "real" grill. Thus, I broil our steaks most of the time. Husband likes his more cooked, child likes his medium, I go for medium rare. A little challenging, but doable. I season our steaks according to taste - salt, pepper, garlic (I like slathering on crushed garlic). On a broiler pan resting in a fitted pan to catch the juice, I place steaks about 4 inches from the oven broiler and broil on low (I feel I have more control over the temp. at low than I do at high). If steaks are fresh, about 5 minutes on first side, a few minutes on second side for medium rare. I always check my steaks for doneness, either by eyeballing or cutting into center. I guess you could use an instant read thermometer, but I don't bother. If too pink for the family, theirs go back in for a few minutes longer. My steaks are always very good broiled, as long as I don't overcook them. I've broiled frozen steak as well with good results. Takes a little longer, but still very good. Broiled vs. grilled? You'll get many viewpoints on this one.

    1. b
      bnemes3343 RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 10:46 AM

      Neither (ok, grilling is fine, but it's January). If they are thick steaks (1 1/2" or so), season and put them in a low oven (275) for about 20 - 25 minutes (until internal temp 95 for med-rare. Remove and sear then 2 - 3 minutes per side in a very hot heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron would work). You will need an instant read therm for this.

      1. baldwinwood RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 11:09 AM

        No grill owner- Do you own a cast iron pan or a carbon steel pan? If so you can make a great steak.
        I like my steaks cut 2 inches +.Let your steak come to room temp. If you dont have a good stove fan, open all your windows in the kitchen. Pre-heat your over to 400 than put your pan over a high flame for 10 minutes, until you pan is white hot! Add a touch of fat(oil, clairified butter your choice). Season your steak w/ salt/pepper than sear it for 3-4 minutes(depending on thickness) than flip it and sear for another 2 minutes(1/2 the time of the first side) or so. Than pour all your fat off into a bowl. Place pan with steaks into the over for another 8ish minutes(med-rare) and check for doneness(finger or probe). Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve with the more charred side up.
        This when done correctly this method will produce a great char and a nice red-pinkish center.

        1 Reply
        1. re: baldwinwood
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          Cebca RE: baldwinwood Jan 9, 2009 11:27 AM

          Yes, I do own a cast-iron pan, and a broiling pan, and pretty much anything else you would use to cook a steak minus a grill. Thanks for the great answers so far - keep them coming!

        2. BobB RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 11:25 AM

          Home broilers don't get hot enough to do a good job with steaks. Grill or sear in a REALLY hot pan, as baldwinwood describes above.

          And if your steak is closer to one inch thick than two, you don't even need to put the pan in the oven, just sear three to four minutes per side in the pan, then let rest on a plate for a few minutes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: BobB
            c
            Cebca RE: BobB Jan 9, 2009 12:54 PM

            Ok so . . . is what I'm hearing that I am wrong, grilling is best, but the above are acceptably delicious alternatives?

            1. re: Cebca
              BobB RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 01:19 PM

              Yeah, pretty much. Your boyfriend is right about broiling being inferior, but he's probably not familiar with the hot cast iron pan method. You can also use this hot pan method to do variations like steak au poivre that you can't do on a grill (though you wouldn't heat the pan quite so hot if you're using peppercorns).

              Since every pan and stove is different, it may take a bit of experimentation to discover the right temperature and duration that works for you - you want to be careful that the meat gets a good dark brown crust but doesn't burn black. One other tip: you don't need to use a lot of oil, in fact you don't want to. I wait until the pan has started to heat up, then I pour in a tablespoon or so and immediately use a paper towel to spread it around and wipe up the excess. Grapeseed oil is ideal as it's fairly neutral in flavor and can take the high heat without smoking.

              Trust me, eventually you WILL be able to produce a steak that will make your boyfriend forget that you don't own a grill!

              1. re: Cebca
                ipsedixit RE: Cebca Jan 9, 2009 01:20 PM

                Yes, grilling is best.

                But there are alternatives as others have suggested.

                Two preferred methods:

                1. Sear and then pop in the oven to finish cooking

                OR

                2. Put it in the oven and then sear.

                Both methods will provide a nice piece of cooked meat, just depends on preference.

                Good luck and enjoy.

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