Thursday, December 1, 2016

Good Steaks

Adrienne Flowers, who tries very hard not to sound pretentious
Written Nov 13

It’s been a while, but I’ve worked the grill at a high end
 steakhouse and can replicate it it home. Here’s how:

Start with dry aged prime beef. Generally you want a ribeye
, New York strip, or filet (or t-bone or porterhouse, which
 are NY strip + filet), though other cuts are starting to
 become popular. Keep in mind that the steak you buy at the
 grocery store is not prime aged beef. It’s going to be less
 evenly marbled, and it will have been wet aged (all commercial
 beef is aged at least a little), which tastes entirely different.
 Make sure the meat was never frozen, it changes the texture.

Blot moisture from the surfaces, sprinkle with kosher salt. Bring
 to cool room temp (about 60 degrees). Before cooking, blot again,
 then season. I like kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and
 coriander, but possibilities are nearly endless. Do keep in min
 that the freshness of the spices will affect the finished product.

Place on a searing hot surface This is the one that can be hard
 to do at home, as some stoves and grills just don’t put out 
enough heat. My grill is one of ‘em, so I use a big all-clad 
saute pan, though this is one of those spots where cast iron 
would be better . I hit the pan with butter just before the 
steak goes in. Mmmmm…. butter. Flip it when the bottom looks 
nice and brown, then move it from the intense heat to something 
a more moderate, either a spot on the edge of the grill or in 
the oven at about 400 (yes, 400 is moderate compared to the 
heat you use to sear.) Leave it there until it temps 5 degrees
 cooler than your desired doneness using an instant read probe

Set it out somewhere warmish and leave it alone for a few minutes.
 You don’t want it to get cold, but it needs to rest to finish
 cooking and redistribute juices. Before serving, slap a chunk of
 butter on top.

Voila! Here’s the thing… every bit of this is critical. If we both
 take identical pieces of meat and you follow the instructions and
 I just slap it on the grill straight from the fridge, they’ll
 taste different. If you get prime beef and I get grocery store
 stuff (or a frozen steak) and we follow the same process, they’ll
 taste different. Once you’ve made about 100 steaks like this
 it becomes second nature and you forget there’s any other way.
 A few weeks ago I was visiting my grandmother and she decided
 to make steak for dinner. She pulled a couple of Omaha Steaks
 out of the freezer (Don’t get me wrong, Omaha Steaks are decent
 steaks, and are a better choice than some of what’s in the
 grocery store) and stuck them in the microwave to thaw. Then,
 right out of the package and wet, she slapped them on a cold 
Foreman grill and started to heat it. No seasoning because ‘I 
don’t like salt, you can add it at the end’. She left them in 
until they were 140, then put them on the plate straight from 
the ‘grill’. Gray, dry, mealy, and flavorless. I’d forgotten 
how underwhelming a steak could be.