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Pete_C

Perfect Steaks

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How often do you cook what should be a perfect steak only to have it either dry and tough or burned on the outside and still a touch to rare inside?

While obviously this is best with a Porterhouse, or even T-Bone or New York Strip; I tried it with a bottom round steak and got excellent results.

The first thing you need is a thick steak; thicker than you would normally choose. Minimum of one inch, but I think 1.5 to 1.75 is optimum.

Letting it warm up to near room temperature makes for a more even cooking so I like to start there. Preheat your oven to 300 , or warm up your grill while waiting.

Then I heat my grill pan to screaming hot, where if I oiled it it would smoke, but charcoal or gas grill when the weather is right is best.

Lightly oil the steak and then put it on the grill pan.

Wait one minute, and then with tongs turn it ninety degrees.

Wait one minute and flip it over.

One more minute and rotate ninety degrees and take it off the flame. Insert a meat heat proof meat thermometer length wise into the core of the steak and place the pan in the oven (or if you are grilling move it to indirect heat only).

Roast it like a roast until the internal temperature is five degrees below the perfect temp for the type of doneness you want (IE if 145 is medium ; cook it to 140 if you want it medium rare when you eat it) . (Actually the larger the steak the sooner you want it out, and longer you will rest it) . Then move it immediately to a plate and let it sit 5 minutes and the temp will continue to rise until it hits perfect.

Do not remove the thermometer until ready to eat or you will loose juices.

These are the "pre rest' temps which are recommended; but I think it best to make note of what tastes best to you. I like to take it out at about 135 for a perfect medium rare. Rare, 120°-125°. Medium Rare, 130°-135°. Medium, 140°-145°. Medium Well, 150°-155°. Well Done, 160°

Of course, when grilling you may find it more convenient to get to the ballpark time and then use one of those digital forks to test the temp.

Make sure to cut against the grain so that it is extra tender, but this dual cooking method will make it extra juicy and tender.

Edited by Pete_C

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Hmm, been watching America's Test Kitchen or reading Cook's Illustrated lately? That's their preferred method. In fact, they sear then bake a lot of things (most meats, pork, roasts, etc., as I recall).

I don't watch any other cooking show but America's Test Kitchen. I like the "scientific" take on the whole process (trying dozens of combinations, non-traditional ingredients, several cooking methods, etc. until they arrive at the best recipe overall, for example), rather than just saying, "Add this, cook it this way, and gee, ain't it wonderful?" Why those ingredients? Why those amounts? Why that cooking method" Why the unusual substitution? With ATL they explain it all, sometimes going so far as having a food scientist explain it, down to the molecular level! My kind of show. (I wanna do that Tim Allen 'arr-arr' thing here.)

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How often do you cook what should be a perfect steak only to have it either dry and tough or burned on the outside and still a touch to rare inside?

While obviously this is best with a Porterhouse, or even T-Bone or New York Strip; I tried it with a bottom round steak and got excellent results.

The first thing you need is a thick steak; thicker than you would normally choose. Minimum of one inch, but I think 1.5 to 1.75 is optimum.

Letting it warm up to near room temperature makes for a more even cooking so I like to start there. Preheat your oven to 300 , or warm up your grill while waiting.

Then I heat my grill pan to screaming hot, where if I oiled it it would smoke, but charcoal or gas grill when the weather is right is best.

Lightly oil the steak and then put it on the grill pan.

Wait one minute, and then with tongs turn it ninety degrees.

Wait one minute and flip it over.

One more minute and rotate ninety degrees and take it off the flame. Insert a meat heat proof meat thermometer length wise into the core of the steak and place the pan in the oven (or if you are grilling move it to indirect heat only).

Roast it like a roast until the internal temperature is five degrees below the perfect temp for the type of doneness you want (IE if 145 is medium ; cook it to 140 if you want it medium rare when you eat it) . (Actually the larger the steak the sooner you want it out, and longer you will rest it) . Then move it immediately to a plate and let it sit 5 minutes and the temp will continue to rise until it hits perfect.

Do not remove the thermometer until ready to eat or you will loose juices.

These are the "pre rest' temps which are recommended; but I think it best to make note of what tastes best to you. I like to take it out at about 135 for a perfect medium rare. Rare, 120°-125°. Medium Rare, 130°-135°. Medium, 140°-145°. Medium Well, 150°-155°. Well Done, 160°

Of course, when grilling you may find it more convenient to get to the ballpark time and then use one of those digital forks to test the temp.

Make sure to cut against the grain so that it is extra tender, but this dual cooking method will make it extra juicy and tender.

Excellent advice Pete.

That's the wat I was taught at culinary school. Don't forget to season it with a little S&P before you grill.

Joe

Edited by irregularjoe

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Well, I prefer to salt just before I eat, using kosher or coarse sea salt so I can taste it with less actual salt in the dish. My OL used to see me shake the big two pounder sea salt container (which has both pour and sprinkle) all over things and say I used way to much salt. So I labled the "mortons" "hers" and the sea salt "Mine" and waited. I still have the same sea salt (only half used) over a year later and she admitted that she really must be going through the salt in cooking . (note I had a separate mortons for pasta water).

I probably did catch this technique on America'a Test Kitchen or FoodTV; I do watch them a lot as background TV when I am otherwise occupied (online, reading paper, doing a project) so I probably picked it up some time back and never got around to really testing it until recently when one local chain had whole bottom rounds (11-20 lbs) on for ninety nine cents ($0.99) per pound so I bought three and cut them up into steaks (nice thick ones ) roasts and stew / stir fry/ chopped or ground beef meat (got a 875 watt stainless steel meat grinder ordered which should get here next week).

Everything is double sealed in plastic, then wrapped in freeze paper, sealed with tape , labeled and dated and in the deep freeze . Then one of their competitors put Porterhouse, T-Bone , and NY Strip steaks on for $2.99 a pound. Battle of the meat departments, definitely good for me.

Pork Loins (boneless half) and Boneless skinless chicken breasts are both going for $1.68 a pound now too.

So, while the price is down, time to stock up.

The first round , I used a couple pounds of the stew meat to make chopped beef in the food processor (cut in cubes , pulse in small batches) to make salisbury steaks. They came out tasty but I prefer the texture of ground so I went and ordered a grinder (Which for some reason takes them three times as long to find in the warehouse and prepare for shipping as it does for delivery; but I think what is happening is they ship it to one of their local stores and then have them ship it ups to me. I guess that saves them since they do have a couple local stores , although the grinder was not in stock in any of them and they did give me the option of pick up at local store - no shipping charge) .

I like to just put a lot of fresh cracked pepper or a little "Steak seasoning blend" which is mustard seed, black peppercorns, thyme, and a couple other whole spices which I grind on and a little peanut oil on my steaks before I grill them.

Bad weather I love my cast iron grill pan; good weather I go for the gas grill most of the time just because it is so fast and easy.

I like to take an aluminum pie pan and put some "moist" mesquite or hickory wood chips in it and tent it with foil (so it does not catch fire) and nestle it in the lava rock so that it smokes while I grill . It really adds the flavor to steaks and grilled vegetables. Sure, I know they make fancy smoker boxes to put in your grill, but they take to long to heat up (you get smoke really fast in a pie pan) and the old pie pans are free leftovers from the holidays.

In the end all I can say is that the dual stage cooking method is so much superior to straight grilling that it is worth a try.

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I eat fish and chicken almost exclusively ... YOU'RE MAKING ME DROOL! :lol:

Regarding salt, I never use it. I don't really cook from scratch so any prepared foods I use already have too much salt in 'em.

I've always felt that salt makes things taste, well, salty. That's what it does, right? At least with ATK they explained, rather than just saying, "add salt," that salt tempers/compliments bitter or other flavors. "It perks up the flavor" or somesuch is all the other cooks usually say, if they say anything at all about adding salt, to which I think, in reply, "No, all it does is make it salty," which is fine if you like things salty. I'm a little more forgiving now, but only if you're cooking something, from scratch, that HAS bitter or other flavors that NEED tempering or complimentary flavoring. Salt a steak? Why does the steak need to taste salty?

On the other, other hand, ATK also explained salt's function in marinades: it penetrates the meat which draws the other flavorings deeper into the meat. Otherwise the flavoring just sits on the outside. OK then. They also "brine" some types of meats and, again, the salt penetrates the meat to draw water inside, making it juicier.

I needed the scientific explanation I guess. But I still don't even HAVE salt in the house. I put cinnamon in the salt shaker to use in coffee. I think there's another salt shaker or two up there, somewhere, in the cabinets.

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I eat fish and chicken almost exclusively ... YOU'RE MAKING ME DROOL! :lol:

Regarding salt, I never use it. I don't really cook from scratch so any prepared foods I use already have too much salt in 'em.

I've always felt that salt makes things taste, well, salty. That's what it does, right? At least with ATK they explained, rather than just saying, "add salt," that salt tempers/compliments bitter or other flavors. "It perks up the flavor" or somesuch is all the other cooks usually say, if they say anything at all about adding salt, to which I think, in reply, "No, all it does is make it salty," which is fine if you like things salty. I'm a little more forgiving now, but only if you're cooking something, from scratch, that HAS bitter or other flavors that NEED tempering or complimentary flavoring. Salt a steak? Why does the steak need to taste salty?

On the other, other hand, ATK also explained salt's function in marinades: it penetrates the meat which draws the other flavorings deeper into the meat. Otherwise the flavoring just sits on the outside. OK then. They also "brine" some types of meats and, again, the salt penetrates the meat to draw water inside, making it juicier.

I needed the scientific explanation I guess. But I still don't even HAVE salt in the house. I put cinnamon in the salt shaker to use in coffee. I think there's another salt shaker or two up there, somewhere, in the cabinets.

Well, if it tastes salty, you have added to much salt.

The idea is that salt seperates into positive and negative ions (sodium and hydrogen chloride) when dissolved in water.

This helps many compounds which are normally not going to dissolve in water and then attach to the taste buds to get the job done.

It also affects the volatility of some compounds thus affecting the olfactory stimulus which is a major component of taste.

With fish I have two favorite methods.

One is poaching; you either have to really know what to expect and keep an eye on it or have an electric skillet.

With an electric skillet, perfection every time and never overdone is all to simple.

The simple method is to set the electric skillet to the final temperature you want the fish cooked to for perfect doneness.

For most fish that is 140 Degrees, but for a couple (tuna for example ) 125 is recommended.

Then you take your poaching liquid and bring it to a boil in a separate pot.

Put the fish in the skillet and pour on the poaching liquid and walk away. It is impossible to overcook it can sit there all day .

The boiling liquid sterilized the outside, and will soon cool down to the proper temp and the skillet will maintain it there.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information...ratureChart.htm

My favorite grilling method is that I have some round slabs cut from Pecan logs about (I would say 12-16 inches diameter and two inches thick)

Just like smoking wood you wet it first by soaking for a half hour or so; and place it on your grill until it starts to smoke. Lower the temp and put the fish on top of the "plank" and let it smoke until done. I like to try to get the grill temp down to 180-200 for this so that the fish gets lots of smoke before it is done and it cooks evenly.

Smoked salmon is delicious, and here in Texas pecan logs are easy to come by most of the time.

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Well, if it tastes salty, you have added to much salt.

The idea is that salt seperates into positive and negative ions (sodium and hydrogen chloride) when dissolved in water.

This helps many compounds which are normally not going to dissolve in water and then attach to the taste buds to get the job done.

It also affects the volatility of some compounds thus affecting the olfactory stimulus which is a major component of taste. ...

OK, ya almost have me convinced salt isn't "just" to make things salty. Almost. If you never use salt at all you can taste the 'saltiness' of even the tiniest amount, so I'm not quite there yet. But it's good to know the scientific facts for other reasons one might use it.

I usually bake fish, but I can't remember having any fish I didn't like (unless you're talkin' unusual or bizarre ingredients). I have yet to find a dish with things like octopus/squid/etc. that I like. Now, if you DEEP FRY something and it STILL tastes yucky, you just have to admit you will NEVER like that food! :lol:

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Squid, cut in rings battered and deep fried is okay; but you have to be really careful . The line between delicious and a weird tasteless rubbery mass is very fine. There used to be a Chinese restaurant (it went out of business due to the economic slump a couple years back) I liked which made a really fine stir fry with baby octopus, squid, mussels , shrimp and crab.

I have a store which gets in Conch (You know the thing in those giant white shells they get in Bermuda) and sells it at 99 Cents a pound.

I use it like clam in New England style Chowder.

I do not like "arrowtooth flounder" I can never get it to cook. No matter what; it seems like a pasty mushy mess; baked, fried .. don't even dream of poaching it.

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Yeah, there are some softer fish that wouldn't be my first choice on the menu.

Just a coincidence, uh-hem, but while grocery shopping yesterday I bought the ingredients for fish & chips. Mmmm.

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Ok, so I'm rightly hungry now...

Hey Pete, did you ever make that stuffed cabbage? Just thinking about that as I made a huge roaster full the other day.

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Ok, so I'm rightly hungry now...

Hey Pete, did you ever make that stuffed cabbage? Just thinking about that as I made a huge roaster full the other day.

Actually, yes; and If I recall you were the one who gave me the recipe.

I wonder how that would turn out smoked on the grill. Hmm. Maybe one to add to the valentines grillfest (Got some friends from out of town passing through on the way to New Orleans from South Dakota and Kansas) , I have a head of napa which needs a good use (Heck, the Chinese grocery sells it for 29 cents a pound so I'll buy more if I need it), and some excellent jasmine (texmati) rice and of course my meat grinder and lots of beef bottom round and pork loin to work with. Might work on a "modified" recipe .

I went into a store today and they were having some sort of celebration ( store opening anniversary or fiftieth store opening or something, didn't pay to much attention to the reason). They had Jalapenos , Roma Tomatoes, and Tomatillos for 39 cents a pound , spring (green white bulb ) onions 39 cents a bunch, Dole Bananas for 19 cents a pound, Texas Farm Raised 31-50 shrimp for $1.99 a pound ; Bollillos (think of em as mini french bread perfect size for huge grinders/ sub sandwiches) ten for a dollar , Haas Avocados 7 for a dollar, eggs a dollar a dozen and other prices I haven't seen in a while.

Needless to say I stocked up.

I chowed down on grinders with fresh jalapeno, tomato, onion , leaf lettuce and roast chicken breast and baked ham slices.

Nothing beats the flavor of good fresh veggies in winter, and they were good ripe fresh veggies.

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