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Tough NY Strip steak

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Red meat is not really my area of expertise and I normally leave it up to my boyfriend. On Saturday, he invited his parents over for dinner at the last minute and we pulled some NY strips out of the freezer. Three packages, from two different farmers.

He grilled them over low heat, I think. Took maybe 20 minutes or so? Mine was still slightly pink in the middle, but I think he cooked everyone else's medium-well.

They were very, very tough. I would guess that theirs were even worse than mine, since they were cooked to death. I was under the impression that strip steaks were relatively tender? Did he ruin them by cooking them slowly?

As I mentioned, they came from two different farmers (and are grass-fed), and they all seemed to turn out that way. His dad said it should have been grinder meat, which annoyed me, so I just wanted to see if it was our fault or what.

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  1. My steak technique is to have the meat at room temperature, oil the meat, sear at a high heat on both sides, season as I flip. For thicker cuts I might finish in a 200c oven for a few minutes, then rest for 5-10. I prefer medium rare (medium at a max), and rump or sirloin are my favoured cuts, but the strip is good too.

    I think you may have been let down by two things - the amount of time you had to defrost the steaks and bring them to room temp, and the low cooking heat.

    Sometimes the meat isn't great to start with, but as you've said that they were from different sources I'd say it was the treatment rather than the product.

    Always disappointing to get criticism though - my Dad can hand it out with the best of them! - so don't take it too much to heart. Cooking without failing is cooking without learning. Good luck with the next one!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ultimatepotato

      Interesting. I actually had no idea that the thawing method/time (other than throwing it in the microwave) would have that much of an impact on the finished product. Good to know! I'll try to supervise a little more next time and see if we can get it right.

    2. A major factor, in the toughness, might have been that they did not have time to thaw properly.

      1. Did you defrost the steaks or did you go straight from freezer to cooking? I couldn't tell from your post. Cooking over low heat? Do you mean that the flame was low and the steaks were then cooked until they were charred on the outside? If so, then yes, steak were cooked too long. I always start a steak at high temperature. 20 minutes would have been a long time to let it cook unless it was really thick.

        In general, it sounds like the steaks were over cooked. Slightly pink in the center is already medium well. If the others were cooked past that stage, that was well done to extremely well done. That would dry out and toughen any steak. If you want a steak to be tender, I don't think you should ever cook it past medium, unless you have filet and even then, well done will result in a dried out piece of meat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bkeats

          They were defrosted. By the time they went on the grill, they weren't icy at all but still pretty cold. He had the flame as low as possible, and there wasn't that much char on the outside. (I'm estimating about the 20 minutes, I'm really not sure. I was laying in bed sick while he was cooking them.)

          Believe me, I agree with you about cooking past medium. If it had only been them complaining about it being tough, that's what I would have assumed the problem was. But since mine was how I normally eat it and much tougher than usual, I figured there was something else going on.

        2. Well, grass fed beef is leaner, and these were ungraded, so the meat could have less forgiving when it came to cooking it than grain-fed high-grade beef.

          1. Yes, cooking them at low heat can be blamed. That and cooking them to a low and slow death.

            Why grill a good steak so low that there's no char?

            1 Reply
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Don't ask me. I think he was too busy enjoying the TV we'd purchased earlier that day to really pay attention to the meat. I'm guessing that's why he decided to cook them so slowly, so if he got wrapped up in the movie he wouldn't hurt them too badly.

              So much for that!