23 March 2011

Grilling Steaks: Tips, Cooking Times, Great Sauces

Porterhouse SteakGrilled porterhouse steak Image by Dave Kliman via Flickr 

From Denny:  Want to learn the best tips for grilling that perfect steak? Warm weather - and a hearty  pollen season - have arrived here in south Louisiana and our thoughts are already turning to grilling season. If you want to perfect your technique, learn how to make a perfect French classic sauce in the blender or brush up on your steak cooking knowledge, then read on. Oh, and no drooling allowed. :)



Grilled Steak Menu

■ Filet, Porterhouse or New York strip.

Toppings

■ Béarnaise Sauce.

■ Sautéed Mushrooms.

■ Blue Cheese Butter.



What steaks do most people enjoy?

It's about personal preference and how big a portion you can eat.  Look for good marbling in the meat and are bright red in color.  The less marbling of fat the leaner - and sometimes tougher - will be the meat.  Filet is a far leaner steak and it's advisable to rub it with a bit of olive oil before grilling so it will stay moist during the cooking process.


Most popular steak cuts: 

New York Strip - very meaty flavor with bone in
Porterhouse - very meaty flavor too
Filet - tender, juicy, foolproof to grill in a pan or outside on the grill

Methods of how to cook a steak:

pan searing
oven broiling
outside grill


Tips for before you begin cooking steak:

1 - Always bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.  This helps to ensure the steak will cook evenly and in a timely fashion.  How long will that take?  Pull your steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.

2 - Sear the meat at a high temperature to caramelize the exterior, helping to lock in the juices so the steak will be tender.  Do not salt the steak before cooking as salt draws out the moisture, even causing little beads of moisture to collect on the surface of the steak.  If you make this mistake what happens is that the moisture on the steak will begin to boil off when it hits the high temperature of the grill.  Essentially, the steak ends up steaming instead of searing.

3 - Before placing steak on the grill be sure to pat them dry.  If you are using a wet marinade, then remove the excess so you can get a good sear on the steaks.  Dry marinade is easier - and less messy - to use.

4 - After cooking make sure to allow the steak some time to rest, about 5 to 10 minutes, before cutting into it.  Just cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.  By resting, the steak will actually come up in temperature by about five degrees.  Resting also allows the juices to distribute throughout for that juicy, tender steak experience.

5 - After resting the steak, feel free to salt or add other spices or sauces to taste.


What can you top your steak with for maximum flavor?

Sauteed mushrooms are a classic favorite as is béarnaise sauce, a recipe so simple you can do it in the blender.  Another simple choice is a blue cheese butter.  Many of the classic steak houses of the 1940's would place a pat of butter on the oven hot steak plate, place the steak on the plate and then top the steak with another pat of butter.


How long do you cook steaks?

Here's a chart to help you gauge the time to cook your steak:

Whether in the pan or out on the grill this chart and a good meat thermometer will help you achieve that perfect steak.  This chart contains the best times and best temperatures to cook each cut of steak.  This information is from the Cattleman's Beef Board and  the Kansas City Steak Company.


For a Filet:

1-1/4 inches thick:

4 minutes on first side, 4 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

5 minutes on first side, 4 minutes on second side for medium-rare (130 to 140 degrees).

5 minutes on first side, 5 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



1-1/2 inches thick:

5 minutes on first side, 5 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

6 minutes on first side, 5 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees).

6 minutes on first side, 6 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



1-3/4 inches thick:

6 minutes on first side, 6 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

7 minutes on first side, 6 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees).

7 minutes on first side, 7 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



For a New York Strip, Porterhouse, T-bone or Rib eye:

3/4 inch thick:

6 minutes on first side, 6 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees.)

8 minutes on first side, 6 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees).

8 minutes on first side, 8 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



1 inch thick:

7 minutes on first side, 7 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

9 minutes on first side, 7 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees.)

9 minutes on first side, 9 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



1-1/4 inches thick:

8 minutes on first side, 8 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

10 minutes on first side, 8 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees).

10 minutes on first side, 10 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).



1-1/2 inches thick:

9 minutes on first side, 9 minutes on second side for rare (120 to 130 degrees).

12 minutes on first side, 9 minutes on second side for medium rare (130 to 140 degrees).

12 minutes on first side, 12 minutes on second side for medium (140 to 150 degrees).


Sauces:

Blue Cheese Butter

From:  Tracey Koch, food editor, The Advocate

Kitchen Helpers: "Let your kids cream the butter together with the blue cheese. If your family is not a fan of blue cheese, try infusing the butter with other things like fresh herbs and garlic. This topping is a good way to expose your kids to the taste of blue cheese, though we suggest using a mild cheese if your family is not accustomed to the strong flavor."

Yield: 6 servings.

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened

3 ozs. blue cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and blue cheese until all is incorporated.

2. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a log. Chill the butter until you are ready to use.

4. Serve a pat of butter on top of the steaks.



Sautéed Mushrooms

From:  Tracey Koch, food editor, The Advocate

Kitchen Helpers: "This is a great way to introduce your kids to the wonderful earthy flavor of mushrooms. Let them help out with the prepping and cleaning of the mushrooms. Older children can also sauté them, essentially making this all by themselves."

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 pints button or baby portobella mushrooms

6 tbls. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Using a damp cloth gently rub the mushrooms until clean.

2. Snap the stems off and slice the mushrooms.

3. In a medium skillet melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add in the mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until they are golden and tender.

4. Remove from the heat and season with a little salt and pepper.

5. Serve the mushrooms warm on top of the grilled steaks.



Béarnaise Sauce in the Blender

From:  Tracey Koch, food editor, The Advocate

Kitchen Helpers: "Let your kids practice separating an egg to get the yolks for this sauce. They can also man the blender or food processor while you pour in the butter."

Yield: 1 cup of sauce

Ingredients:

1 tbl. shallots, chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup white wine

2 tsps. dried tarragon leaves

2/3 cup hot melted butter

3 large egg yolks

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a small sauce pot add the shallots, vinegar, wine, and 1 teaspoon of the dried tarragon.

2. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat until it is reduced by half. Allow the mixture to cool.

3. Strain the mixture into the base of a blender or food processor and discard the shallots and tarragon.

4. Place the egg yolks into the blender along with the vinegar solution and cover.

5. Turn the blender on medium-high speed for 30 to 40 seconds.

6. With the blender running, slowly pour in the hot melted butter in a steady stream. The sauce will begin to thicken as the butter is incorporated.

7. Once all of the butter has been added, keep the blender running for another few seconds. This will ensure that everything is fully blended. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

8. Remove the lid and add in the second teaspoon of dried tarragon. Season with a little salt and pepper and cover until you are ready to serve.

Note: This may be made 30 minutes ahead. To keep the béarnaise warm, fill a large bowl half way up with hot water. Pour the sauce in a smaller bowl and set the bowl in the larger bowl of hot water. Loosely cover the sauce until ready to serve.


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