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Jul 9, 2013 05:23 PM


So I have been using different techniques the past three nights on the same exact dinner: A porterhouse steak. Tonight's steak was the absolute best. And I am willing to share my wisdom with you all, as this technique far surpasses straight grilling a steak.

Step 1. Get the steak to room temperature. It needs to sit for a good hour at least. If you just defrost it and start cooking it, it will come out like shit.

Step 2. Fire up your charcoal/gas grill. ( I prefer charcoal for more of a mesquite smoked flavor.) If it is charcoal, it needs to burn until all the coals are red hot and white, a good 45 minutes or so.

Step 3. Get a cast iron skillet and heat for 4 or 5 minutes. Put a generous amount of olive oil in the pan. Once it begins to smoke, its ready to put the steak on.

Step 4. Season with salt and pepper just seconds before you begin to cook. Do not let it sit as it will dry the meat out (remember reverse osmosis from science class?) I don't either, but I think I have it right... (They also make montreal steak seasoning which is good.) Point is, do not season it as it is thawing, and use a generous amount.

Step 5. Sear the prettiest side of the steak first for 3 minutes. Then transfer to charcoal grill for one minute.

Step 6. Repeat for other side of steak.

Step 7. Let sit for a good 5 minutes to let the juices go back into the steak. If you are worried about it getting cold, wrap in tin-foil or cover (but not completely) While you are doing this, you may add thyme and carmelize some onions with a squirt of Worcestershire and/or a touch of butter in the skillet.

Step 8. Use the juices from the skillet to pour onto the plate. And put the onions on the steak.

If you did it right, it should come out a nice, juicy, mouth-watering medium/medium rare. Each minute/minute and a half or so you add in the skillet will raise it to a more well cooked meat, do not exceed 6 minutes on each side or it will taste like leather, unless that's what you like. Ex: if you want medium well, add a minute and a half per side, etc.

*Easy trick* Test the give of the meat to tell if its cooked the way you want it bu using your thumb. Medium rare should feel like where your thumb meets your palm, whereas medium well should feel like the center of your palm, and rare...well I guess your buttcheek ;).

**This method still gives you the flavor of the grill, without sacrificing any juices that may be lost from the grill. Try it out and let me know what you think!


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  1. First, welcome to CH!

    Second, this is going to get moved to the Home Cooking board.

    And, third, you're probably going to get all manner of disagreement as every point you make as been argued against at some point :)

    7 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      OK As long as I get updates on it. Im sure they may have, and I am up for constructive criticism, but so far this is the best way I have been able to cook my steak. I joined this forum in order to help improve my cooking, as well as improve others.

      1. re: nystreetguru

        We have 'firefights' here about things as benign as whether a poblano pepper is ever called a pasilla :) I learn more than I give back.

      2. re: c oliver

        Yea, I agree with c oliver but glad you found a method that works for you.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I read all of your blogs and no one has mentioned the American test Kitchen way of grilling a steak,which is from the frozen state,and I used to do it that way in the old day's but figured everyone is doing the hour room temp deal so I did that,but have since gone back to A.T.K way and really love it,It was recently done that way also on the Chew,guess who the tasters picked? right the frozen way.
          I just season mine stick it in the freezer for an hour pour a little olive oil on it and on the grill it goes.
          It really is worth a try.

          1. re: mutti

            That's pretty interesting. Hadn't heard of it before.

            1. re: mutti

              I've heard of this approach with tuna teaks but never beef steaks. What is your timing on the grill from frozen just to get a quick comparison?

              1. re: mutti

                I have prepared steaks, etc., in the frozen state for many, many years. Always moist and tender. My granddaughter's SO always tells people that I make steaks better than any of the very best steakhouses.

          2. Here's what I've been doing since this was first posted with great success.


            Here's a recent thread that has garnered 120 replies!


            I'd say cooking meat is in the top 10 of the most discussed things here. And we all SWEAR that we're right :) But we also learn which is what it's all about.

            1. First of all, one hour won't get the steak anywhere near room temperature. And that's just first.... P.S. Welcome!

              9 Replies
              1. re: mwhitmore

                I agree, I leave the steak out two hours or more. But you have the warming up idea right!

                BTW a porterhouse and a T bone are two different steaks. They come from the same primal cut, but from the opposite ends. On a T bone, the tenderloin/filet part is smaller, and bigger on the porterhouse. Conversely, the sirloin portion is bigger on the T bone and smaller on the porterhouse. Not a big deal unless you're in the meat business though. Also technically porterhouse should be at least double the thickness of a Tbone. Just some trivial facts to amaze your guests~

                1. re: coll

                  I do too! I always try to take out a thick porterhouse, sirloin, T bone or ribeye at least 2 hours ahead and usually salt then or before as well.

                  You are indeed correct about the Porterhouse vs T-bone. I was shocked that my local Whole Foods were selling T bones as Porterhouse recently. There was literally a single bite of filet on the steak and no where near the size requirements for Porterhouse.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Many meat cutters are clueless about the size requirement of the filet for a porterhouse.

                    1. re: Tom34

                      Yea, they also sell flap meat as skirt steak which was fortunate for me as I discovered flap steak and it's now one of my favorites so I always check closely before buying meat there. The primary butcher is pretty knowledgeable so I should ask him how he would label the steaks as he often points out mistakes in labeling elsewhere so might have labeled them correctly if he were the one to put them out.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Flap meat (185A) is dear to my heart because I grew up on it. Anyone breaking sides of meat will have it but most supermarkets don't.

                  2. re: coll

                    Your right Coll and its also worth pointing out that many regard the 1st & center cuts of a shortloin as having a nicer striploin with the trade off being a smaller fillet. While the end cut of a shortloin has the biggest filet, the striploin side has distinct lines on gristle running threw it. Sharp non serrated steak knives fix that problem very nicely though :-)

                    1. re: Tom34

                      Oh I forgot about the line of gristle too. My meat buyer used to explain to me this way, God played a joke on us when he invented the porterhouse; the porterhouse has the nicer filet but you have to have the gristle too. You can't win! He was a funny guy (as are most in the meat industry I find, guess it goes with the territory) He was also a wonderful mentor.

                      1. re: coll

                        Personally I like the end cut, extreme marbling & extreme flavor. Sharp steak knife makes short work of the gristle. My problem is my wife ends up stealing the filet :-)

                        1. re: Tom34

                          Yeah we share too. I like the filet just because it's smaller, but the strip side does have lots more flavor. The gristle, I just eat around it, doesn't bother me one bit. Such a treat, especially nowadays. As a matter of fact, I think I have a couple in the freezer right now......think I know what I'm having this weekend!

                2. Does sound great. Everybody has a different method and as long as you follow your process it usually comes out good. For example, mine is pretty close to your except for I don't use a pan, I just put it on the grill. I also use gas now because of ease of use although I fire up the charcoal now and then.

                  The interesting debate is over salting. I generally salt just before putting it on the grill, but I've also read that the best way to do it is to salt well in advance, like at least an hour and the salt will draw the moisture up and then combine and draw back into the meat for a better seasoned steak.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: Shann

                    I too use gas most of the time now, the trick is to put the grill on high for close to a half hour to get it as hot as possible. At least with my cheap Weber model. And I do like the steak directly on the grill, I only do about 3 minutes a side so don't lose much juice. I also like to "cross hatch" the steak, if you're looking for "pretty". Can't do that in a pan!

                    I too starting salting hours in advance and prefer the way it comes out now. Salt, cracked pepper and some garlic powder, keep it simple. If I remember, the old steak house trick of brushing on some drawn butter when done adds a bit of panache!

                    1. re: coll

                      I just got a Weber Genesis. Its nice although I don't think it is any better than a much cheaper model. One thing is it will get up to 600 degrees in less than 15 minutes and it also has a "sear" station that is just an extra little burner between two of the big burners. I haven't tried to figure out whether that actually works better or is just "hype" but it does work fine.

                      The only actual problem I've had is that its hard to get the temperature low enough when cooking something for a long time but I haven't played with it enough to get it right.

                      I also like the garlic powder, it really does add to the flavor without hiding it like a heavy sauce.

                      1. re: Shann

                        I've had one the past few years, and it's completely different from cheaper ones. I had to learn to grill and can get the kind of crust on steaks and evenness of cooking on the whole grill I never had with even non cheap but lesser grills.

                        It took me a while to figure out how to get the temps right because of the btus. Searing a thick steak on high direct, then moving it to indirect to finish works. If you want low and slow like for ribs, just one burner, set on low, usually gets the temp.

                        1. re: mcf

                          The best thing I did was exchange the ceramic grates mine came with for stainless steel. I'm sure cast iron would have been totally superior, but since they cost about the price I paid for the grill in the first place, I passed.

                          1. re: coll

                            I got the iron grates, though I considered stainless. Still holding up well three years in.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Mine are only a year or two old, so we'll see.

                              I'm jealous of my sister, she got a mega size grill at the end of the season from a hardware store, it was under $300 AND came with cast iron grates. She deserves it though. And she knew how lucky she was the second she saw it.

                              1. re: coll

                                My last grill was a very highly rated Kenmore with three porcelanized iron grates and three cast iron burners. I can't tell you how many times we had to replace them and the burners, and various parts... it never produced the results of my Genesis, cost less than half and was favorably compared to Ducane, other high end grills.

                                It's all about the BTUs and quality of construction and materials. The only issue I have with the Genesis (and other reviewers mention it, too) is spotting of what looks like rust (but cleans off, so far) on the stainless side table surfaces. Lower quality SS.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Mine is a Spirit I think. I have a major issue with the inside of the cover peeling, and I am sure it is not carbon residue as they'd like you to believe. It is plastic-y shards which do not dissolve in water. Pretty gross, but I'm living with it. Have no idea where to go from here, since I don't want to spend $1000 or more....or should I say, I can't afford to! The one my sister has is sweet, even though it's some cheap brand like Charbroil. I will never buy a grill with enamel paint on it again.

                                  Still have our Weber charcoal from the early 70s though, so if worse comes to worse, we're OK.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    Wow, I have no such prob with my enamel or the interior of the lid, but I did read that materials might be where they cut costs for the Spirit. THe company is supposed to be superb about product issues, though.

                                    I spent $649, I think. I was spending so much on replacement parts for the Kenmore, and I use it for almost every meal for months per year, that's my story and I'm sticking to it as rationale. :-)

                                  2. re: mcf

                                    I have an old 3 burner spirit and the burners still work like new. Hits 600 degrees pretty fast and good even heat across the surface. Friends have replaced their cheap ones several times during the time I had the Weber and the heating performance of the Weber was MUCH better than their cheap grills. I did finally replace the flavor bars over the burners for about $30.00.

                                    It gets light duty use these days as the Big Green Egg does 95% of the outdoor cooking. Nothing to look at by today's standards but I won't be getting rid of it any time soon as it still works perfectly.

                                    1. re: Tom34

                                      That's Weber for you. They last and they stand behind them. They still carry replacement part for just about every grill they ever made.

                                      1. re: mike0989

                                        I am not sure but I think they were ranked extremely high for both performance & durability & maybe a best buy in their price range. The category up from Weber is a pretty significant price increase. I would strongly advise anyone considering buying a "good" gas grill to save up a little extra and buy a Weber. People I know who bought those huge stainless grills at places like Sam's Club for about $300.00 were never happy with the cooking performance and after 5 years they were dragging them to the curb because every internal part, especially the burners were shot. My Weber is at least 25 yrs old with the original burners.

                                        1. re: Tom34

                                          My Weber is about 5 years old and I don't trust it. They don't make 'em like they used to.

                        2. re: coll

                          If you have a local butcher who dry ages, ask him for a little chunk of aged kidney fat. Render a little of that down and add a little butter. You get that musty dry age flavor combined with the sweet butter.

                          1. re: Tom34

                            Well, I do, and I will! Thanks!

                        3. re: Shann

                          The upside of salting well in advance is more that it alters some of the proteins in the meat and doesn't allow as much moisture loss/shrinkage during cooking, resulting in a juicier steak. It pulls a little moisture out of the meat initially (via osmosis), but ultimately prevents more moisture loss than it causes. Doesn't make as much of a difference if you cook the steak very rare, btw.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            Interesting. So it seems that the best way would be salting quite early and the back up is last minute salting while the "worst" way would be to salt for a few minutes before cooking.

                            1. re: Shann

                              Indeed, the worst is to salt and cook it at all within 40 minutes of salting, longer or immediately before is best .Otherwise, you have a liquid mess on top of the steak which results in steaming rather than searing.

                        4. Sounds like a nice method. Just a few notes though:
                          - Refined or 'light' olive oil has a significantly higher smoke point than extra virgin OO, and is better for searing. You didn't specify. There are some other oils that have even higher smoke points that work even better (I'm a fan of refined safflower oil)
                          - See my comments above about salting in advance. This has been discussed often here. Salting just before cooking is fine, but there are some upsides of salting well before cooking.
                          - Different steaks will have different cooking times, so going by feel or thermometer might be a better method than timing the cooking in minutes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I agree, I would not use olive oil especially EVOO for a steak. I prefer either safflower, grapeseed or sunflower. Also, sometimes with a fatty cut like ribeye or Porterhouse I don't even bother with oil and the fat renders beautifully to oil itself or just a coat of oil on both sides with a brush.

                            I also like to salt ahead of time.

                            Triple emphasize the thermometer or feel technique but mostly I still rely on my thermometers as even the most similar of steaks will cook differently.