Cooking On A Budget: Grilling Steak - A Lesson In Beef

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grilling Steak - A Lesson In Beef


Our garden is producing a wonderful selection of vegetables which we are harvesting. We have given some to family and friends but there still is a plethora available to cook up for our evening meals. It has been a bountiful season and I thank God for it.
So, without the cost of purchasing any vegetables and not needing too many other items at the store I decided to check out the on sale New York Strip Steaks as advertised in our grocery stores flyer. What I found in the regular meat case made me a happy gal. When what to my wondering eyes did appear but a twin package of thick and wonderful steaks. At a second glance at the label I wondered if I should splurge just a tad since there was "room" in the weekly budget. Could you pass up the opportunity to bring two of these home? Two of these strip steaks came to $20.19. Each steak was big enough to feed 4 adults a good portion of beef especially when served with a baked potato and some fresh vegetables.

As I have said before, the proper size portion of protein is equivalent to a deck of cards. Therefore I could see that a steak this size should easily feed 2 adults and 1 or 2 children depending on their ages. We are talking about $2.52 or $2.02 per person for the main part of dinner. For you if you added in purchasing vegetables you may be looking at a per person cost right around $3.00. That certainly is not that high. Plus, you have one more steak to serve another night.

How do you choose the steak?
Well what I look for is the nice fat cap you see around the edge of the steak and one that is thick versus thin. The thicker the steak, the less of a chance you have for over cooking it. The next thing I look for is the marbling of fat throughout the cut. More marbling = flavor, tenderness and juiciness of the finished grilled steak as represented in the next picture.

Remember meat shrinks as it cooks which is another reason for picking out a steak that is thick. You can see by the final picture of the steak how much shrinkage occurred.

  1. The steak was grilled on an outdoor gas grill. Preheat the grill to 400 - 425 degrees minimum.
  2. The meat was brought to room temperature which is another important factor in grilling or cooking proteins. Take your protein out at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Some say this makes no difference, but I do think it helps.
  3. Once the grill was properly heated on went the steak. Close the cover of the grill. As the fat starts to render the grill temperature will go up. The dripping fat will cause flare up and give the steak that nice searing on the outside. You'll want to keep an eye on it and give it a rotation. DO NOT PRESS THE MEAT! I repeat: DO NOT PRESS THE MEAT and DO NOT try and loosen the meat to flip it until it lifts easily.
  4. Use tongs to turn the meat. Poking the meat with a two pronged meat fork only causes that precious juice to flow out of the meat.
  5. Meat has its' own thermometer - when it is ready to flip, it should lift easily.
  6. This cut of meat needed to grill on one side for about 8-9 minutes and it was ready to flip and continue cooking about 5-6 more minutes on the other side.
  7. If you lightly press the meat with the tongs at the END of the grilling time and the meat still has some give to it, it should be a medium rare. To know what I am talking about, press the area right below your thumb. If there is that much give to the meat than you know you have a rare steak. If the steak is slightly firmer than that it should be medium rare.
  8. Be sure and let your meat rest a good 10 minutes or longer to allow the juices to distribute throughout the meat. If you don't let it rest and cut it right away, all the juices will escape and you end up with a not so tender or not so flavor piece.
  9. Meat or any protein will continue to cook until it cools down for a couple of minutes.
  10. It's better to have to put the meat back on the grill to cook longer if it turns out too rare for you. If you overcook the meat - there isn't anything you can do about it. We ended up with a medium rare steak with a few of the outer pieces being cooked medium.

For those of you who are just starting out cooking or for those who have struggled to get perfectly grilled steak I hope this has helped. Enjoy a summer Sunday dinner splurge and the time spent with your family.

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