Post #525 “The Grilled Flesh of Some Animal”February 22, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Anyone who who’s read this blog for longer than a week, or has known me in real life for longer than a day, already knows that I’m a grunting caveman when it comes to eating meat. I can go for days without it, but when the urge is there, it’s all I want for several meals in a row until my blood flows rich with iron again. And our favorite way to have this is with a fresh garden salad of some kind.
So we’re always on the lookout for quick and easy ways to cook our animal flesh. We watch a LOT of cooking shows, whether in competition style or straight up teaching style. We watch technique; discuss ease and use; experiment with what we’ve learned. And recently we found and home-tested a new technique for cooking steak.
Our favorite cut of beef is the boneless ribeye. It’s tender; it’s tasty; it’s well marbled; and it’s very forgiving. Alternatively, we like the tenderloin, and the New York strip. In a pinch, we will also have a sirloin, but that has to be done exactly right or we don’t want it. Sirloin has so little fat in it that it tends to be tasteless and can be very tough. For this new technique, you want a thicker cut of meat, one inch at a minimum. And this technique will work for meats like beef, game, or pork, but I sincerely doubt that it would work with any fowls, or very tender meats like lamb or veal.
But, let’s talk about the salad first. For us, grilling means salad. If we’re grilling outside, we sometimes grill the veggies, too. We’ve grilled corn on the cob, asparagus packets, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and more. But mostly, our veggies run to salads. We’re totally into easy so lots of times we get the salad kits. It’s usually just enough for the two of us. But we also get creative. Once I made a salad with just the stuff we had on hand: cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, pistachio nuts (unshelled by hand, thank you very much) and a dressing from olive oil and pear balsamic vinegar. It was delicious. Lately, we’ve been doing wedge salads. You take a whole head of iceberg lettuce and cut it into six wedges. Put the wedges into a shallow bowl, then drizzle it with your favorite dressing. Sprinkle it with nuts, cheese, bacon bits, whatever else you like and have on hand. Then eat it. So good.
So here’s the new technique. We got it from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK), a show on PBS that we like. They’re reliable and make good food. We’ve followed many of their recipes with great success.
First, heat a cast iron skillet or griddle pan in the oven on 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure the skillet is dry; do not put any oil in it at this time. Also, put the skillet in the oven at the start of the heating process so it heats evenly. They suggest turning the oven on and setting the timer for 30 minutes. That will get the skillet plenty hot enough. WARNING: THIS SKILLET WILL BE HOT!!! So be careful with it.
While the oven is heating, prep your steak by sprinkling a 1/2 tsp of kosher salt on each side. This will draw out some moisture while adding some seasoning into the meat. It will help with the searing process.
When the pan is ready, turn the oven off, and put the pan on the stove over medium heat. Put a tablespoon of oil into the pan and move it around. Use a paper towel to pat the meat dry on both sides. DO NOT ADD ANY HERBS OR SPICES AT THIS POINT AS THEY WILL BURN.
Place the meat into the pan and set the timer for two minutes. The meat will sear and your kitchen may get smoky. Use tongs to turn the meat over when the time sounds. Sear for two minutes, then turn over and sear for two minutes. Turn over one last time and sear for two minutes. Use oven gloves to move the skillet into the cooling oven for about 6-7 minutes.
While the steak is in the oven, get the salad ready, or whatever sides you’re having. Remove the steak to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil for about five minutes. When the steak has rested, slice it in quarter inch slices and leave it on the board.
What we do is use dinner plates to pile on salad and place the steak over the salad.
Then we throw out faces into the middle of it and chow down.
I wish I had a picture to share. This method creates the perfect crust on the steak, and the middle is a perfect medium rare. If you prefer a more rare steak, omit the oven time. We’ve done both and it’s yummy. Also, if the cut is thicker than one inch, you will want to adjust the oven time, not the searing time.